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DoD Declassifies Flu Pandemic Plan Containing Sobering Assumptions

samzenpus posted 1 year,7 days | from the what's-the-plan dept.

Biotech 337

An anonymous reader writes "The Department of Defense has just declassified a copy of its 2009 Concept of Operations Plan for an Influenza Pandemic. Among the Plan's scary yet reasonable assumptions are that in the United States, such a pandemic will kill 2 percent of the infected population, or about 2 million people. The plan also assumes that a vaccine won't be available for at least 4 to 6 months after confirmation of sustained human transmission, and that the weekly vaccine manufacturing capability will only produce 1 percent of the total US vaccine required. State and local governments will be overwhelmed, and civilian mortuary operations will require military augmentation. Measures such as limiting public gatherings, closing schools, social distancing, protective sequestration and masking will be required to limit transmission and reduce illness and death. International and interstate transportation will be restricted to contain the spread of the virus. If a pandemic starts outside the US, it will enter the country at multiple locations and spread quickly to other parts of the country. A related document, CONPLAN 3591-09, was released by DoD in 2010."

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Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863057)

I guess all the Preppers will have the last laugh as they eat their freeze dried food in their bunkers, with gun in lap, waiting for vaccine to become available.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (4, Insightful)

ruckc (111190) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863125)

Plan for the worst, Hope for the best.

Sadly, the plan would be the same for a zombie apocalypse.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863347)

More sadly is that you are comparing a flu pandemic to a fictional zombie problem which hasn't and most likely never will.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863405)

a fictional zombie problem

Hush, don't say this to all the man-children praying for a zombie outbreak so they don't have to finally get a job.

Think again. . . ."zombies" aren't what you think (3, Insightful)

Salgak1 (20136) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863543)

You mean, fictional, SO FAR.

Consider the progress of biotech. Then give it another 5-10 years, and imagine the biotech equivalent of a script kiddie. Playing with, for example, rabies. Then imagine some angry bio-scriptkiddie releasing an airborne, virulent rabies variant with a very short incubation period.

No, it's not the hordes of the Living Dead, feasting on human flesh. But the effects might well be similar. . .

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863613)

It's a fun worse case to deal with.

They should do the same with the unexplained apocalypse in "The Road".

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (5, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863741)

Trying to get people to consider preparation for a never to happen zombie apocalypse is effective in getting some people to incidentally prepare for a pandemic outbreak. If it works, then let it go; more people prepared for the inevitable emergency, the better -- it doesn't matter whether it's zombies, flu, or hurricanes.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863765)

More sadly is that you are comparing a flu pandemic to a fictional zombie problem which hasn't and most likely never will.

Why is that sad? While a zombie apocalypse will likely never happen, it's still a useful model for studying how diseases spread. Whether it's spread by bite or by some other method, the net effect is still the same. Besides, some diseases are spread by bite.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863397)

Unlike many of the Doomsday Preppers, who seem to be worried about global economic collapse, nibiru, and the NWO a Pandemic is a likely occurrence over a long enough time period. Every hundred years or so [wikipedia.org] one occurs that is deadly enough to kill millions.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (3, Informative)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863465)

I guess all the Preppers will have the last laugh as they eat their freeze dried food in their bunkers, with gun in lap, waiting for vaccine to become available.

I believe Mr. Poe already addressed that issue: The Masque of the Red Death [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (1)

chill (34294) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863491)

A good chunk of the Preppers don't believe in vaccines to begin with.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863499)

So they are Republicans?

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863655)

Vaccine fear started creeping up in my more extreme Democrat friends far before it started creeping into my more extreme Republican friends.

Re:Sounds like an episode of Doomsday Preppers (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863691)

Do you really think those twinks are a substantial percentage even of the prepper population? Realize that from a certain standpoint, Mormons are preppers, and they use vaccines [lds.org] . I don't think that the anti-vaxxer religious prepper types are really that big a blip. If you're sure god will take you, you don't need supplies for the rapture.

On the contrary, many if not most prepper sites include notes on which animal antibiotics you can safely use — you can get them over the counter.

noko (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863071)

The Best Military plans are the ones you never have to use.

Pigs Vs Birds (2)

cgfsd (1238866) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863075)

I prefer the swine flu over the bird flu. Bacon tastes so much better coming back up.

angry birds? (1)

Thud457 (234763) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863721)

But I can do without eggs and fried chicken.
A world without bacon would be unbearable. As Homer aptly put it "A wonderful, magical animal." I believe that was in the Odyssey.

Assumptions Seem Dubious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863099)

The last great US flu epidemic only killed so many because of the crude state of medicine at the time and uneven sanitation in large U.S. cities. Even a virulent flu would be unlikely to rack up such a death toll in a first world nation.

Re:Assumptions Seem Dubious (5, Informative)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863185)

The last great US flu epidemic only killed so many because of the crude state of medicine at the time and uneven sanitation in large U.S. cities. Even a virulent flu would be unlikely to rack up such a death toll in a first world nation.

That's correct. Instead of a 3-5% mortality rate [wikipedia.org] they're expecting a 2% (TFA) rate.

Progress as promised!

Re:Assumptions Seem Dubious (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863297)

I think the real difference would be the spread of the disease. The assumption is that 200 million people in the US contract the disease. Such a rate would almost imply that everybody is TRYING to get sick.

Re:Assumptions Seem Dubious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863489)

I think the real difference would be the spread of the disease. The assumption is that 200 million people in the US contract the disease. Such a rate would almost imply that everybody is TRYING to get sick.

With the modern world's interconnectedness and much higher mobility, I'd be surprised if only 200 million in the US were exposed to a new airborne, contagious virus that left ~98% of it's victims alive to carry it.

Re: Assumptions Seem Dubious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863549)

Plus a lot of people will get ill simultaneously, so with hospitals etc overwhelmed all those medical advancements won't be as accessible.

Re:Assumptions Seem Dubious (5, Informative)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863351)

World Population > The Infected Population.

The article is calling out a 2% mortality rate for the infected population, not the population of the world.

This is far less than the 3-5 percent mortality of the world population seen during the 1918 pandemic.

--
BMO

Re:Assumptions Seem Dubious (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863523)

To further support your statement:

The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died.[29] Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million people in its first 25 weeks. Older estimates say it killed 40–50 million people,[4] while current estimates say 50–100 million people worldwide were killed.[30]

Re:Assumptions Seem Dubious (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863317)

The last great US flu epidemic only killed so many because of the crude state of medicine at the time and uneven sanitation in large U.S. cities. Even a virulent flu would be unlikely to rack up such a death toll in a first world nation.

ORLY?

What country has medical facilities to handle 70-80% of its population contracting a virulent disease all at once?

So i guess all of those... (1)

MetaPhyzx (212830) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863107)

...films depicting chaos and societal breakdown aren't that far off, aye?

Re:So i guess all of those... (2)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863725)

...films depicting chaos and societal breakdown aren't that far off, aye?

Yes they are. Look at what happened in the US during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. It wasn't all pretty, but it certainly wasn't Zombie Apocalypse 17-1/2.

really scary (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863111)

It's really scary because I work for an Internet startup. Without any technology to let us communicate and collaborate without being in the same room, we are forced to come into our open plan office every day and be exposed to contagious disease.

Re:really scary (0)

OakDragon (885217) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863599)

It's really scary because I work for an Internet startup. Without any technology to let us communicate and collaborate without being in the same room, we are forced to come into our open plan office every day and be exposed to contagious disease.

VPN, IM, Hangouts, electronic whiteboards, etc. You should have these anyway, so you can coerce your employees/coworkers to work from home! ;)

Re:really scary (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863657)

I believe GP's remark was humour.

Sounds way to optimistic... (-1)

PortHaven (242123) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863115)

I'd say 18-24 months for a vaccine, and 12%-14% population loss due to a real influenza pandemic.

Re:Sounds way to optimistic... (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863225)

In the case of a real pandemic on such a scale, I think you'd see labs working around the clock for a cure, and many of them. Not only would governments be putting a lot of pressure, the people working there would very likely feel the pain themselves (relatives, friends, etc.). Plus, for all the money grubbers, making a vaccine that needs to be used on millions of people is a surefire way of getting rich.

Re:Sounds way to optimistic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863283)

And your assumption is based on what?

Re:Sounds way to optimistic... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863387)

I'd say 18-24 months for a vaccine, and 12%-14% population loss due to a real influenza pandemic.

And your credentials, sir? Internet pundit. Okay, how about a citation? Don't have one of those either. Okay. Well thanks, but I think I'll go with the formerly classified document released by actual experts over your knee-jerk "I think it's optimistic, and here's some numbers I think are more realistic!" post.

Purely for shits and giggles, I went and looked up what unclassified documents [globalsecurity.org] had to say about the likely timeline. Those numbers look similar to what's been revealed in this document. They, uhh, don't look like your numbers. According to WHO, it would take 5-6 months to produce a vaccine. Not nearly two years. If you were right, we would never have a flu vaccine available, yet every year like clockwork they show up at hospitals and clinics with those reminders to get vaccinated before the season starts. So I'm going to go with the DoD, CDC, and WHO's assessment on that timeframe, thanks.

However, it's just re-arranging deck chairs on the titanic either way. Our vaccine production, whether optimistic, or pessimistic, won't matter; From start to finish, the entire pandemic would last from 6-8 to perhaps 12 weeks. That's about as long as it takes the vaccine to take effect. In other words, even if we developed a vaccine the same day as patient zero showed up, and completely eliminated the production side of the equation and assumed limitless vaccines available to everyone, and that somehow, by magical fairy dust, everyone got the vaccine that same day... over a third of the population would still get infected and still suffer whatever the casualty rate is. Knock that timetable out by a month and it's everyone. Vaccine is useless.

In other words, the strategy outlined by the DoD -- containment and isolation, remains the only effective strategy. A vaccine being put in development would be there to prevent secondary infection and to have confidence that it is safe to end quarantine procedure. That's all a vaccine buys you; Some after-action security. Vaccination is not a priority. Even under super-optimal conditions, it's of limited value to us. We could throw billions at the problem trying to create a rapid response infrastructure and it would amount to exactly dick at a huge cost.

Now as far as your population loss numbers... There's just no way to predict that with confidence. The numbers they quoted are based on a historical evaluation of data over the last 50 years... which seems reasonable from a statistical standpoint... but the Pandemic of 1918 killed over 90% of the population. It was on par with the Black Death. That's pretty much the worst-case scenario -- the average case is much, much more mild. But we do know it can happen... and it's just a gamble as to when.

So I'm with the CDC and DoD on this; Containment. Isolation. Quarantine. That's our strategy, and given our current level of technology... it's the only viable one.

Re:Sounds way to optimistic... (4, Informative)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863483)

but the Pandemic of 1918 killed over 90% of the population

Umm, no.

The 1918 pandemic killed 10-20% of the people infected.

Note that that particular flu infected ~25% of the world's population.

Re:Sounds way to optimistic... (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863627)

Of course, a much lower percentage of the population would have been infected back then - people were much less mobile in 1918. I don't think twice about driving 100 miles a day.

Re:Sounds way to optimistic... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863715)

Knock that timetable out by a month and it's everyone.

Is your assumption that nobody has more than a month's worth of supplies? You should try visiting middle America sometime. Heck, especially Utah.

There are millions of people who will stay home for six months; some you'll see two years later.

Wasted time (1)

mwn3d (2750695) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863127)

They could've just played Pandemic 2 and learned about all of that. Maybe we should all just move to Madagascar.

Re:Wasted time (5, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863371)

Actually, the 2011 Steven Soderbergh movie Contagion [imdb.com] is a fairly realistic depiction of a pandemic and the reaction in the US and around the world. Well-researched, keeps the fearmongering to a minimum while still depicting a scary scenario. Takes into account the role of fringe media in spreading panic/pseudoscientific "cures," among other clever touches. A public health organization arranged for a free screening in my area, with a Q&A period afterward, if that gives you any indication of its accuracy.

Definition of 'scary' (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863129)

I don't find this scary at all. It's the reality of the world we live in. What would be scary is if the people in charge of managing such a crisis didn't have a plan, and instead choose to stick their fingers in their ears and sing "glory glory halleluja" while the country died. Literally. Why do people always seem to think things like this are "scary"? That kind of attitude is what creates truly scary situations: The kind nobody was prepared for and is now ravaging the population unchecked. That is scary. A plan... that's reassuring.

Or maybe I'm just from some bizarro alternate universe where being prepared is frightening and living in ignorance is bliss.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863213)

What I find scary is the TFA:

"The first priority of DOD support in the event of a PI is [REDACTED]".

OK guys, just what exactly are you up to?

Re:Definition of 'scary' (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863257)

Ack! My head asplode. I tried to read more of the TFA --

[REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [REDACTED]

(I'd go further except I think I'm going to hit the lameness filter soon.)

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863263)

"Defense"
Glad I could help.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863579)

More likely "saving the lives of The President, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Legislators." Or what the GP is worried about, "culling the infected." Why would they bother redacting "Defense"?

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863333)

My guess is the possibility that another country would see the confusion and panic as an opportunity to launch an attack. It is the DoD so their first thought is going to be the threat of military action and how to defend against it.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (4, Insightful)

Nidi62 (1525137) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863349)

What I find scary is the TFA:

"The first priority of DOD support in the event of a PI is [REDACTED]".

OK guys, just what exactly are you up to?

The first priority of the DOD is probably the defense of the nation, ie the preservation of the government and therefore civil order. There are 2 ways to survive a pandemic: a coordinated, controlled response, and fragmentation. The first one requires the government to stay intact, to direct the medical and relief responses. They have to ensure that basic services stay intact, that people still have access to food and clean water, and are protected. The bigger cities probably look like Boston did after the bombing. Society stays intact, and the pandemic is defeated by a coordinated response including medical treatment as well as isolation and quarantine of infected populations. In the second response, everyone goes into survival mode: people hole up and refuse human contact, there will probably be looting as well as some killing. Society erodes, and the pandemic peters out through a lack of transmission: carriers die without passing on the virus to others. I think the first option is by far the better of the 2.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863435)

Please stop making sense. It's disturbing to the rest of us.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (5, Informative)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863463)

"The first priority of DOD support in the event of a PI is [REDACTED]".

They're the military. It's redacted because it's not politically fashionable to say what they'd have to do, but put yourself in their shoes and it's obvious: Protect key government officials by evacuating them in secret while reassuring the public everything is fine and they haven't been disappeared and are now in a secret bunker somewhere.

Military thinking on this is obvious to the point of being painful: You have to coordinate your response to the crisis, and that means first securing your chain of command, then securing communications, then securing your chain of supplies, and then finally deploying resources into the field to secure key assets.

That's the response plan because that's what the situation dictates. You don't need a security clearance to figure this out... but confirming that's what they would do could complicate those efforts by a panic'd populace. And that's why it's classified. It's not because they're "up to something", it's because sometimes a little knowledge is a bad thing.

It's like the Joker said; "You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan.' Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all 'part of the plan'. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"

Chew on that awhile when you're wondering next time why the government classifies so many things; It's not because they're up to no good... it's because people are fucking stupid, and they panic at nothing. The whole point of the government during a crisis is to keep people separated and not in large groups where panic and hysteria can take over. Any crisis. It just so happens, it's a particularly good idea during a pandemic.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (4, Informative)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863769)

Yeah, I'll bet it's "Put dissidents in FEMA internment camps." Just like in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

More seriously. While you're probably correct, classifying things for political reasons is almost always a bad thing. This kind of mindset, that normal people can't handle the truth, is what leads to an unaccountable government. Government accountability can only happen with transparency.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863593)

What I find scary is the TFA:

"The first priority of DOD support in the event of a PI is [REDACTED]".

OK guys, just what exactly are you up to?

Most of the document is redacted. The people that process documents before declassification are more than a little conservative about what they redact. That's always been a bone of contention between the public that wants to know everything, and the military that operates on a need to know basis.

Much of the redacted content is likely of little significance, but there's certainly plenty that should be redacted as well. For example, specific locations and methods, and references to other plans/programs might help inform the public, but could be an intelligence boon to people without the best of intentions.

In a few decades we can all read the report free of redactions, at least those of us who survive the pandemic.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863603)

We're talking about the Pentagon, not HHS. Worrying about redactable stuff is their job.

My assumption is that their priority would be maintaining the health and status of nuclear weapons crews.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863617)

"The first priority of DOD support in the event of a PI is [REDACTED]".

An overwhelming, retaliatory strike against Nature herself.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863241)

The plan isn't scary. The 2 million deaths from a rapidly spreading flu is scary. Seriously dude, do you have to be so pedantic?

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863339)

What is scary about that? What's REALLY scary is if people STOP dying. That Justin Timberlake movie was one of the most terrifying things I've seen.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863713)

What is scary about that? What's REALLY scary is if people STOP dying. That Justin Timberlake movie was one of the most terrifying things I've seen.

Which one?

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863393)

I thought that number was actually pretty optimistic when some illnesses have much higher mortality rates.
10 or 20 million would seem like a reasonable worst case estimate for me.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (3, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863249)

I don't find this scary at all. It's the reality of the world we live in. What would be scary is if the people in charge of managing such a crisis didn't have a plan, and instead choose to stick their fingers in their ears and sing "glory glory halleluja" while the country died. Literally. Why do people always seem to think things like this are "scary"? That kind of attitude is what creates truly scary situations: The kind nobody was prepared for and is now ravaging the population unchecked. That is scary. A plan... that's reassuring.

Or maybe I'm just from some bizarro alternate universe where being prepared is frightening and living in ignorance is bliss.

Luckily there is a large number of people that do work on and plan for such situations. The CDC, National Guard, FEMA, and even state and local emergency management departments. The good thing is that the same basic response is needed for most types of disasters; only a few details differ (containment of pathogen, isolation of infected people, etc). They still have to manage crowd control, logistics and evacuations, etc. The biggest problem isn't the government freaking out and not doing anything. The bigger danger is the general population freaking out and killing other people over things like food or gasoline, even if the pandemic is relatively short-lived. People scare easily, and when people can't go outside or interact with others in person they will flock to the internet, where fear and misinformation would spread faster than the actual virus would. THe government's response doesn't scare me; they train and plan for this all the time. Everyone else's reaction is what scares me.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863345)

The DoD plan isn't what's scary from a logistical point of view. It's the fact our own government might be forced to shoot people as they flee in panic. Nobody wants to be boxed in against their will. Unfortunately, that's what it might take to contain a nasty pandemic. For example: you live in an apartment complex where 50% of the residence are known to be infected. That means you must quarantine the remaining 50% of the healthy and hope they too won't get infected??? Civil unrest is not something that will bode well for our nation. Respect for law cannot be maintain once trust has been shattered.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863529)

ou live in an apartment complex where 50% of the residence are known to be infected. That means you must quarantine the remaining 50% of the healthy and hope they too won't get infected???

No, it means you shoot anyone who comes out just long enough to evacuate the surrounding areas... and if it's highly virulent, you drop napalm and call it a day. Something like Ebola would dictate this response.

On the other hand, if it's not as contagious... maybe a 1 in 8 chance of death... then you have two options: On-site treatment, or you secure the area, and evacuate the person one by one to a treatment facility if they show symptoms. If they don't show symptoms, isolate them from everyone else and wait out the incubation period.

Either way, isolation is the answer. And as far as shooting someone... that wouldn't happen in a worst-case scenario. The moment containment was broken, everyone would be incinerated. He wouldn't die by bullet... that would be too kind. He will die painfully -- burned alive. Unless a sniper happened to take pity on him before fleeing the soon to be rather large blast radius.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (2)

durrr (1316311) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863681)

Don't be ridiculous. Assuming a biological attack on said complex you'd seal off the area and then evacuate with normal health hazard protocols(hazmat suits, isolate, remove and discard clothes, belongings, wash people, keep under observation.) And for normal airborn contagion(as in no biological attack, just normal spread pattern) you'd likely not do decontamination and isolation protocols for everyone in the area, you'd track down friends family and coworkers, put them on sickleave and observation and that's it.

You've watched too many zombie movies. You don't just napalm sick people. End of story.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863409)

The scary part is watching loved ones suffer and die while there's nothing you can do, and waiting for your turn. I agree with you though - the plan itself is not scary.

Re:Definition of 'scary' (0)

Kohath (38547) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863433)

This argument assumes the people "protecting" us are less dangerous than the flu.

Lobbying for new tech? (2)

khb (266593) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863167)

While such plans do have potential practical value, isn't the usual thrust "what new pet program do our sponsors want funded?"

The way we create vaccines is overly calendar time long (but sidesteps questions about safety of new techniques).Also our general anti-viral stocks are low.

Sponsors from either (or both) camps may be influencing both the generation and now the distribution of the report.

Scary? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863201)

A fatality rate of only 1~2% sounds extremely good for an epidemic. At 10% it becomes scary, at 25% the shit's going to hit the fans and 50% of above it's going to be hard to recover.

Re:Scary? (1)

confused one (671304) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863403)

They're assuming only 30% of the population gets the flu; and, only 2% of those succumb.

from-the-no-shit-department (1)

Icepick_ (25751) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863215)

When it happens, It's going to be really bad.

After the Pandemic plan (2)

Danathar (267989) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863233)

This is all fine and good but what happens AFTER the Pandemic could be just as important.

After millions of people dying the social upheaval politically would be insane. The current order of things would be put on it's head, and what it settled out to be could be anybody's guess.

For example, assuming that most infections happened in cities that could dramatically change voting patterns.

Re:After the Pandemic plan (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863311)

Look how the Black Plague ravaged Europe, and a similar plague killed about 90% of native Americans.

Had it not been for the nobles not having enough backs to flay to keep their way of life, the West would have not seen anything like the Renaissance or any technological advancement other than better swords.

That's actually *better* than the Spanish Flu (2)

T.E.D. (34228) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863245)

For reference, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 is estimated to have killed anywhere from 3 to 6 percent [wikipedia.org] of world population. It presumably would have been worse in more densly populated areas.

You'd like to to think we've gotten a bit better at treating the flu in the last century or so. However, I don't think you could seriously argue that 2% is too high for a worst-case scenario. It might be too low.

Re:That's actually *better* than the Spanish Flu (1)

confused one (671304) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863431)

The 2% number assumes only 30% of the population gets the flu. With the Spanish Flu pandemic, it appears to have ended only once the flu had passed around the world and everyone who could get the illness did so. So, it did not end until every man woman and child had had been infected by the flu, in one form or another.

Re:That's actually *better* than the Spanish Flu (5, Insightful)

kamapuaa (555446) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863487)

Another factor is that WWI and medical practices at the time are blamed for making that flu much more deadly. Quoting wikipedia: "In civilian life, natural selection favours a mild strain. Those who get very ill stay home, and those mildly ill continue with their lives, preferentially spreading the mild strain. In the trenches, natural selection was reversed. Soldiers with a mild strain stayed where they were, while the severely ill were sent on crowded trains to crowded field hospitals, spreading the deadlier virus"

Re:That's actually *better* than the Spanish Flu (1)

Kohath (38547) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863511)

For reference, the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 happened 95 years ago. We probably won't be seeing another WWI-style transition where previously relatively isolated populations are suddenly exposed to a whole new world of infectious diseases.

Re:That's actually *better* than the Spanish Flu (1)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863589)

More densely populated and much, much more mobile. Those guys who flew halfway across the country for a conference? Wonderful, you now have hundreds of distribution vectors spread across the country. Shutting down airports helps a bit but people drive far and once you start trying to quarantine that you're fighting a mass panic and people looking to get the hell out every which back road they can. We suck at fighting viruses, we've been fighting HIV for 30 years now and we're still just slowing them down, a new strain of an unknown virus that we don't have any auto-immune response to? Maybe we can scramble the development of a vaccine, but against a rapidly spreading epidemic it'd be way too slow.

Crisis budgeting (1)

Kohath (38547) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863253)

It has to be an emergency or they might not get their funding.

Re:Crisis budgeting (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863357)

"Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. There is a very great distinction because when you are planning for an emergency you must start with this one thing: the very definition of "emergency" is that it is unexpected, therefore it is not going to happen the way you are planning." - Dwight Eisenhower.

afterwards (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863269)

we will be able to find good parking spaces
so at least something good will become of this

this research makes some untenable assumptions (1, Troll)

nimbius (983462) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863295)

such a pandemic will kill 2 percent of the infected population, or about 2 million people.

thats a pretty generous statement considering 34 million americans go without health insurance. even if they dont seek medical attention, which isnt likely considering the media hype surrounding the condition, we're assuming a nation 36% obese and 74% overweight is nutritionally capable of weathering this. workplace policies that forbid or restrict sick days will also amplify transmisison vectors.

sequestering people into their homes for a protracted amount of time isnt going to work as we've intended. whereas 50 years ago the average american kitchen would be prepared to spend two weeks without leaving the house, the average american today is barely capable of anything more than zapping a burrito once weekly in lieu of going to a restaraunt. based on consumer spending data, during an emergency most americans simply stock up on poptarts and beer. http://www.hurricaneville.com/pop_tarts.html [hurricaneville.com]

Re:this research makes some untenable assumptions (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863455)

MREs (very high calories and tastes good) and bottled water. That's all you need to maintain sustenance during a natural disaster. Anything else food-wise is just creature comforts.

Re:this research makes some untenable assumptions (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863537)

The obese and overweight will be at an advantage, they can go a long time without eating. I on the other hand would be in trouble in short order as I lack those kind of energy reserves.

Beer provides clean water and many nutrients as well as valuable calories. Its dehydrating properties are far exaggerated. Poptarts are shelf stable, consumable without cooking, highly portable and as a survival food not too terrible at all. The combination seems fine for someone who merely needs to exist for a couple weeks at maximum while waiting for assistance.

Why is this from DoD, not CDC? (1)

Scowler (667000) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863303)

Centers for Disease and Control would still be running this show, if it were to happen, right? With the military's assistance if needed?

Re:Why is this from DoD, not CDC? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863413)

God I hope not, they are bigger scare mongers than the DoD.

Re:Why is this from DoD, not CDC? (1)

confused one (671304) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863461)

DoD always does their own projections. They have to plan for a disaster's affect on their strength and resources. They also have to consider what might happen if another country tries to attack a weakened U.S. -- perhaps because they themselves are desperate for resources. It's a thought experiment they run periodically internally.

Re:Why is this from DoD, not CDC? (1)

necro81 (917438) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863479)

It would ultimately be run from the Executive branch (i.e., the President), who has purview over both DoD and CDC, as well as FEMA, the NIH, the Public Health Corps, etc. The President also has broad powers to respond to domestic emergencies: nationalizing pharma companies to produce vaccines, enforcing quarantines, broadcasting emergency messages, etc.

One would hope that FEMA and the CDC would be providing a lot of the direction, since pandemics, public health, disasters, and emergency relief are their areas of expertise. However, those efforts will need enormous and well-coordinated resources - manpower and equipment - to carry out the response, which only the military can supply. People within the DoD, and elsewhere, need to have a sense of what they may be asked to do. So it makes a lot of sense for the DoD to have plans for how to respond, to anticipate the need.

Then, too, it provides an opportunity to have another set of thinkers - military planners - work through the scenario, then see how their plans and strategies stack up against those of, say, the CDC. For something so serious and multifaceted, I hope that everyone down to the United Association of Janitors has come up with a plan.

Finally, the DoD is responsible for the lives, well-being, and livelihoods of a few million Americans (not just soldiers, but families and civilian workers, too). What happens to America, to some extent, happens to them, too. The brass needs to work through the scenario to understand what they'll need to do in order to continue to operate in such dire circumstances. If the military collapses because of the pandemic, they can't do much to help anyone else, can they?

Re:Why is this from DoD, not CDC? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863761)

The military (and just about every other essential agency) have to do their own planning. Only they know their needs and capabilities.

Redactions (5, Insightful)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863309)

I find it disturbing how many redacted gray boxes are found on something clearly marked "unclassified".

Re:Redactions (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#44863525)

I prefer known unknowns to unknown unknowns.

That Duh Factor Strikes Again (0)

b4upoo (166390) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863391)

Is it just me or does this confirm that we need to restrict international travel rather strictly. Perhaps all international travelers should be required to use the same point of entry. Perhaps international air traffic should be banned and cruise ships only used for such travel. That way if illness breaks out on a ship we can isolate the ship until the danger passes.
                    Do we really need international travel so badly that we are willing to suffer more losses than we have had in any war from an epidemic? Although businesses may profit from such travel why should the general public allow it as the risk is to the public and the public is not paid to accept the burden of such risks?

Re:That Duh Factor Strikes Again (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863637)

Is it just me or does this confirm that we need to restrict international travel rather strictly.

It's just you. Nothing short of a 72-hour quarantine with invasive medical for every traveler would do what you want to do. What you want to do would also shut down international commerce, which would lead to international war.

OMG WORLD ENDING!@$!@% (1)

BitZtream (692029) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863485)

I'm so sick of this crap.

Every freaking year, the bird/swine/carbonfiber/alien flu is going to kill us all ... and yet ... nothing happens different than the year before.

I remember a couple years back, the CDC was putting people on television talking about how its the worst epidemic they've ever seen, pandemic, catastrophe, this is the worst we've ever seen!!! (Yes, I said it twice in the same sentence ... just like they did.

But you go to their website ... and the year was actually statistically below the previous several years, and lower than the rolling average of the last 20 or so years.

My sister-in-law came home from the doctor and said OMFG I HAVE H1N1!!?!!

Guess what, SO DOES EVERYONE ELSE, thats the standard fucking strain of flu that floats around 98% of the fucking time. And saying 'H1N1' doesn't mean shit, thats a CLASS of virus, not a specific strain. H1N1 is not special, its more or less the definition of opposite of special.

The CDC has turned into a fear mongering agency just trying to get themselves more money and the hypochondriacs of the world eat it up and wear their shitty little $0.99 face masks that have absolutely no effect what so ever on virus transmission as they aren't that type of filter, nor do they fit the face well enough to actually filter the majority of your breathing air, which comes in around the side. They are extremely useful to prevent a doctor from breathing directly into an open wound/surgical incision, thats it.

2% of US Population? (0)

dcw3 (649211) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863557)

will kill 2 percent of the infected population, or about 2 million people

Current US population is well over 300million, so that's 6 million+, not 2 million.

Re:2% of US Population? (1)

dcw3 (649211) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863679)

Okay, back to the reading comprehension class. Yes, I missed the fact that they're assuming a much smaller "infected population".

Re:2% of US Population? (2)

wcrowe (94389) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863683)

They said infected population, not total population. They are assuming that about one third of the population could get infected.

Re:2% of US Population? (1)

Kufat (563166) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863703)

I understand not reading the article, but you didn't even read the line you quoted. Congratulations!

2 percent of the infected population

What is so scary? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863633)

Well, yes, huge pandemics are "scary". Stephen King's "The Stand" is based on the premise. But they are also historical realities -- it is possible that there will be a flu pandemic at some point. The fact that the DoD has done some planning for such a scenario is not scary. What would be scary is if they did NOT do any planning.

So are Preppers still crazy? (3, Insightful)

suprcvic (684521) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863671)

Shutting down interstate travel, social distancing, sequestration. Seems like I may need to start stockpiling that water, food and ammo.

Long walk (1)

photosonic (830763) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863677)

So in other words, the rich and powerful live and the rest can take a long walk on a short pier.

I have a plan. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,7 days | (#44863705)

President "Hello, Blizzard? We've got a pandemic coming up, so need to keep people from personal contact for a while. Would you mind putting some limited-time-only lucrative dungeons up in World of Warcraft?"

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