There are possibilities that the A(H1N1) flu could engulf a large part of the U.S. ending up in hospitalising two million people this winter and killing as much as 90,000 in the country, a White House report said today.

“By the end of 2009, 60 to 120 million Americans would have experienced symptomatic infection with 2009—H1N1; nearly one to two million would have been hospitalised, with about 150,000—300,000 cared for in intensive care units (ICUs); and somewhere between 30,000 and 90,000 people would have died, the majority of them under 50 years of age,” said the report ‘On US Preparations for 2009-H1N1 Influenza’

Overall, 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the population could develop symptoms of the strain commonly known as swine flu. During a normal flu season, the virus kills about 35,000 Americans.

However, the authors of the report released by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology said this was one of the possibilities and not a prediction.

“We emphasise that this is a plausible scenario, not a prediction. By way of comparison, it is less severe by a factor of three (in terms of expected deaths per capita) than the ‘reasonable worst case’ planning assumptions, publicised by the UK government, for the H1N1 resurgence in that country,” the report said.