Flu kills about 500,000 people annually, many of whom are elderly, but some of whom are children or adults who have other illnesses. With an average remaining life expectancy of, say, 20 years, that's about 10 million life-years per year. If we arbitrarily consider one decade, that's 100 million life-years.
Human News aims to devote 1 character to each 40,000 life-years, or 1000 average lives. Thus, this story can have about (100 million) / 40,000 = 2500 characters. Since the article actually has about 3400 characters, the extra 900 will be considered an introduction to the next issue's article on flu.