1. Even now no one knows how bad it could get. Or even (given that we don't know the real denominator of all cases) whether it's worse than regular old seasonal flu at all.
2. The limits of genetics: you can download sequences of many varieties of influenza A H1N1, but that tells you nothing about transmission and an unknown amount about virulence.
3. A prime example here of how people think of risks: the flu crisis is immediate and scary and thus available to them in a way that less immediate risks are not (car accidents, malaria).