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Running the Numbers on a US Pandemic

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the plz-stay-theoretical-k-thnx dept.

Businesses 257

Lucas123 writes "A U.S. pandemic would exhaust antiviral medications, reduce basic food supplies, put ATMs out of service, shut down call centers, increase gas prices and up health insurance claims by 20%, according a test project developed by financial service firms. The pandemic paper planning scenario is used by 3,000 banks, insurance companies and security firms in preparing for disasters. The financial services groups are now sharing the pandemic flu exercise information, and all the scenarios are available for download."

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What are you going to do??? (5, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118277)

Expect this to be shut down fairly quickly as it is a private directory and marked as "Not for public release"

That said, essentially, what we have is an issue of upkeep. This world does not run itself and requires input to prevent things from running down, so it been said before, but amateurs discuss things such as strategy, but the experts discuss logistics. And it is logistics that need to be organized in times of planning and scenarios run to discover where the logistical chain breaks down. These weak links in the chain are those areas that need attention and typically those are the links that rely upon people to maintain the flow of information/goods/support.

The interesting thing to me is that they appear to have modeled this pandemic spread as originating in Lagos, Nigeria which would be a relatively slow introduction or pathogenic spread into the rest of the world until it hits an area like Beijing, Calcutta or any other rapidly growing supermetropolis where you have hordes of people living in less than ideal conditions right next to others who travel extensively throughout the developed world. Their exercise appears to miss China and Indonesia entirely which could if modeled in lead to much more rapid spread, involving potentially many more people or even invoke or enhance infective "ringing" where waves of infection or reinfection propegate through various large populations.

P.S. exercises like this are important to release to the public as most folks simply do not have any guidance or have given any thought to preparing for such a possibility. What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door? :-)

Re:What are you going to do??? (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118309)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door? :-)
Fast zombies or slow zombies?

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118343)

Whichever kind of zombie comes after you, don't try to make them fall through a portal.

The cake is a lie.

(none of the monsters fall through, it was a travesty that I got a portal gun into a hl map but couldn't use it as god intended)

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

cthulu_mt (1124113) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119225)

Mind sharing how you did that? Love you lnog time...

Re:What are you going to do??? (3, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118521)

Fast zombies or slow zombies?

Bullets work on both kinds, right?

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

no_pets (881013) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118617)

Yeah, but the fast zombies are harder to hit.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118789)

Yeah, but the fast zombies are harder to hit.

Solution: Better training and more bullets. :-)

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119025)

Aren't you going to be crapping your pants by the time they've clambered up the railings, anyway?

Remember, kids, always have Alyx on speed dial. Or declaw your headcrabs.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21119239)

Haven't you played Quake? You obviously need a rocket launcher to turn them into pieces quickly. Otherwise they'll just keep throwing flesh at you.

Re:What are you going to do??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118767)

no, the question should be male or female?

Re:What are you going to do??? (5, Insightful)

cleatsupkeep (1132585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118825)

You don't have to be faster than the zombie - you just have to be faster than your companions.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

ABoerma (941672) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119605)

That's until your companions have all been turned into zombies and you've now got quite a large mob of them after you. What will you do then? =P

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119113)

Doesn't matter.... All I have to do is be able to outrun *you*.

Re:What are you going to do??? (5, Funny)

Pearlswine (1121125) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119441)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door? :-)
Fast zombies or slow zombies?
First one, then the other

Re:What are you going to do??? (4, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118371)

The interesting thing to me is that they appear to have modeled this pandemic spread as originating in Lagos, Nigeria which would be a relatively slow introduction or pathogenic spread into the rest of the world until it hits an area like Beijing, Calcutta or any other rapidly growing supermetropolis where you have hordes of people living in less than ideal conditions right next to others who travel extensively throughout the developed world.

Lagos is a growing supermetropolis. At current rates, it is expected to be the largest city in the world by mid-century.

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door?

Try to outwit them as the last sane man in a world gone mad. After all, haven't you read I Am Legend [amazon.com] ?

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118927)

Lagos is a growing supermetropolis. At current rates, it is expected to be the largest city in the world by mid-century.

My cousin recently spent some time there and while I knew it is rapidly growing, it does not quite qualify as a supermetropolis with a population of just over 200,000 per a 2006 census. Beijing in contrast is looking at something close to 15 Million people, a true supermetropolis by any stretch.

Re:What are you going to do??? (2, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119249)

The Lagos metropolitan area has 7 million people, and that's not counting the millions of immigrants who squat in shantytowns and tend not to be counted in censuses.

I don't worry about zombies (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118401)

After all, all they want to do is eat your brains. They're not unreasonable. I mean, no one's going to eat your eyes!

Re:I don't worry about zombies (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118829)

It might not be bigger picture type thinking, but I'm going to spend my time in a mall.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

yassax (416227) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118433)

Pick up my cricket bat and whack them over the head. What else?

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118937)

You got that the wrong way round; it's give them the cricket bat, and send them out against Australia in the first test of the next ashes series...

Help please - best masks (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118453)

Well, one thing that I'm going to do is to get some decent masks. They showed a couple on a news report last night, related to the San Diego fires. Apparently the worst soot particles as the smallest, as these are so small that they not only go through most masks, but they also travel the farthest.

So, does anyone know what are the best masks to use during an actual Pandemic? And will these indeed be effective?

Re:Help please - best masks (2, Funny)

edraven (45764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118839)

Go with 0.0.0.0 . Thank you, I'll be here all week. Tip your waitresses.

Re:What are you going to do??? (4, Interesting)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118473)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door?

Indeed. When was the last time we had a pandemic of any kind? IINM, it was some time before the Great Depression. My 76 year old father wasn't even born. And there were no antivirals back then, and few antibiotics. Medicine was downright primitive. Hell, it was primitive when I broke my arms when I was seven in 1959; they used automotive starting fluid [wikipedia.org] as an anesthetic! When I had my eye operated on in 2006, the operating room was so science fictiony that Dr. "He's Dead Jim" McCoy would have been jealous.

We might as well be worried about asteroids* or terrorists. What? You ARE worried about asteroids and terrorists?

-mcgrew

*I had my assteroids [wikipedia.org] removed in 2002

Re:What are you going to do??? (3, Interesting)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118611)

That said, essentially, what we have is an issue of upkeep. This world does not run itself and requires input to prevent things from running down, so it been said before, but amateurs discuss things such as strategy, but the experts discuss logistics. And it is logistics that need to be organized in times of planning and scenarios run to discover where the logistical chain breaks down. These weak links in the chain are those areas that need attention and typically those are the links that rely upon people to maintain the flow of information/goods/support.
Maybe this is a little OT, but there is an extensively researched book I'm currently reading that deals with things sort of like this:

http://www.worldwithoutus.com/index2.html [worldwithoutus.com]

It goes without saying, but so many things we take for granted would collapse, without the humans to run them. Manhattan, for example, would flood in a short 4 days, if not for people to run the drainage pumps. The book is awesome, I just have to plug it.

Re:What are you going to do??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118747)

oh god, you mean if we are all dead, our infrastructure will collapse!?!? How horrible for us!! Oh god, what will we do?!?! Oh wait...

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118749)

Isn't Manhattan, being an island, above sea level? Remember the hysteria that broke when some would be (incompetent) terrorists were caught plotting to blow up the Lincoln Tunnel in order to flood Manhattan? After about 2 days of panic some one finally got on the news and told everyone it couldn't possibly happen, as water tends to not run uphill.

Re:What are you going to do??? (2, Funny)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118681)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door?
I have a zombie proof bunker stock piled with canned food, can opener, guns and ammo, and enough porn and video games to last me half a lifetime. Naturally i didn't tell my family or GF because the #1 cause of death in a zombie infestation is other people.

Re:What are you going to do??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118959)

Just be certain that your eyeglasses have plastic lenses.

Re:What are you going to do??? (2, Funny)

sharkey (16670) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118693)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door? :-)

I can think of only one thing. [penny-arcade.com]

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118697)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door?

SKS assault rifle with bayonet, Check.
1000 rounds of ammo, check.
M44 Rifle with bayonet, check.
1000 rounds of ammo, check.
8mm Mouser sniper rifle, check.
1000 rounds of ammo, check.
M1911A1 45cal pistol, check.
5000 rounds of ammo, check.
Shotguns with cases of ammo, check.
Reloading equipment, check.
Lead, Check.
5 10lb kegs of powder, check.
Swords, check.

I am ready! Bring'em on GTA is boring and I am ready for a challenge. :P

Re:What are you going to do??? (3, Insightful)

Seismologist (617169) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118803)

What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door?
You need to either chop off their heads or destroy the brain.

- Shaun of the Dead

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

Adambomb (118938) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118841)

I'd be more worried about the robots. You know they eat old peoples medicine for fuel. Which would definitely increase claims on Robot Attack Insurance.

ahh the bygone snls.

What is interesting (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119059)

is that in past epidemics, living in cities was the LAST place to be. They always had the highest death rates due to the intermingling of ppl.

Now, the places to be will be the cities with high connectivity. It will be possible to minimize our interactions with others. Netgrocers would take off during these times. Likewise, this report says that call center would fail. Yet, I think that the call centers that are using voip and have the ability to allow their employees to work from home will do great. In addition, any work that can be done with little to no interactions with others will continue to thrive. Where the problems will come from are those jobs that require you to interact large number of ppl. What I think will be the big issues will be our schools.

I find it funny that they believe that an epidemic will originate in Africa. I would expect most to come from extremely populated areas.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

sgholt (973993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119097)

Aim for the head....that always seems to work.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

opieum (979858) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119127)

To be honest, the cloud is falling routine is getting old. I am pretty much content with knowing that someone somewhere with a sick mind will actually unleash a pandemic, and it will cause people to be quarantined and all that. At this point I have given up caring because it will come one way or another manmade or naturally. Don't rely on technology so much if this scares you. If so put yourself in a position to live without tech should you be in that situation. It will either be a plot to thin humanity down to a more mangeable size (Ras Al Ghul plot for Batman comics and cartoon) or just a freak occurance that results in the same thing anyway. However you slice it dont make yourself dependent on the tech and have a backup plan. See more below for zombie attacks. As to the question of zombies a baseball bat should be sufficient for slow zombies. With larger numbers be ready with a car. If Gas is an issue then it might just be easier to setup a barrier. A really big an powerful barrier that is well supplied with food for you and your brain. Zombies will make it in. IF they get you the least you can do is give them a good meal by eating brain foods Just watch shaun of the dead for a good howto on the subject of zombie fighting. Fast Zombies will require some ingenuity. Dress up cauliflower with some goo and ketchup as brains or make yourself look like zombie as well and groan BRAAIIINS. Kind of makes you blend in. I figure they are dead so they cant exactly smell you or sense you are alive. If they can tell you are alive well....BRAAIINS are whats for dinner.

Re:What are you going to do??? (1)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119349)

P.S. exercises like this are important to release to the public as most folks simply do not have any guidance or have given any thought to preparing for such a possibility. What are you going to do when the zombies show up at your door? :-)

http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=1054 [megatokyo.com]

Answer, turn them away at the door for smelling really bad.

This report is open sores (4, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118281)

The report is available in paper format.

Just make sure you print your own copy out, the last guy who wanted to give it you didn't wash his hands.

Can you crunch some numbers? (1)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118717)

I get 32.33 (repeating of course).

Well... (4, Funny)

kevmatic (1133523) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118283)

That would suck.

Now what?

Re:Well... (1)

pravuil (975319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118743)

wait for the sequel

Zombies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118317)

But, do the scenarios cover dealing with the virus infected zombies roaming the earth looking to feast on the brains of the pandemic survivors?

Run The Numbers On This (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118335)


War Profiteer [whitehouse.org] .

I rest my case.

PatRIOTically,
K. Trout

Are we that unhealthy already? (3, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118357)

A U.S. pandemic would ... up health insurance claims by 20%

I would expect that a pandemic would place a larger burden on the system than that. Or do they expect that so many of us will just simply die that it will average out to only a 20% increase in claims?

Of course the hyper-cynical side of me wants to point out that claims for dead people are seldom paid out, so I could see that as an explanation for the increase being at only 20%.

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (1)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118533)

I don't know but in times of a pandemic I sure as hell wouldn't go to the doctor/hospital except as an absolute last resort.

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118615)

Good, you shouldn't. Now, get your influenza shot and washing your hand with soap and water after going to the bathroom, every time, is what you should do.

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118765)

Washing hands, good. Flu shot.... eh, too much anecdotal evidence of people getting the flu shortly after going for a flu shot.

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118879)

washing your hand with soap and water after going to the bathroom, every time
I hardly ever shit on my hands, two, three times a week, tops. But that's how you catch a bacterial disease. If you want to avoid influenza, a viral infection, avoid bathroom faucets, shaking hands, doorknobs, hand railings, elevator buttons, keyboards, mice, etc. Do not touch your eyes or nose except with clean hands. Wear big safety glasses, disposable cotton gloves and a surgical mask.

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (3, Insightful)

YouTookMyStapler (1057796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118701)

Personally, I think all this hype over a massive flu pandemic is nothing more than fear mongering and massive stupidity. Having drills for a flu outbreak? WTF? They hae been touting this crap for the last 2 years... and nothing.

If the U.S. really wanted to cut back the possibility of the spread of flu, the thing that needs to change is the corporate mentality of this country. That and some basic hygiene [wash your hands people and use a damn tissue].

Presenteeism is a major problem in the US. People come to work when they are sick and at worst, contagious, instead of staying home because they don't have any sick days or they cannot afford to miss a day of work, or worse yet, get fired if they don't come in.

If people could be more focused on getting better to be more productive, instead of worry about their job security if they call in sick, "that report just has to get done" or "the office can't function without me" attitude and coming into the workplace coughing and hacking on everyone and everything and making everyone else sick. Stay home, especially if you have a job dealing with the public [cashier, food handling, etc].

[rant]Also, if you are too sick to go to work, stay the fuck home and do not try to catch up on your errands... arrrrgghhh!!![/rant]

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (1)

Nos. (179609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118779)

The next pandemic their expecting is a form of influenza, aka the flu. Given the mass public service announcements that would happen if/when such a pandemic occurs, most people should realize that their doctor can do very little to comfort them. As with any flu, stay home, rest, drink fluids. Generally only those with compromised immune systems, the very young, and the very old will have serious issues with influenza.

Re:Are we that unhealthy already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21119221)

Unless of course, this flu is like the Spanish Flu which had the unusual property of killing the strong and healthy. It was an overreaction by the immune system which caused death.

Fearsome. (1, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118379)

A U.S. pandemic would exhaust antiviral medications, reduce basic food supplies, put ATMs out of service, shut down call centers, increase gas prices and up health insurance claims by 20%
They forgot the bit where it pees in your pool, kicks your dog, and ties your shoelaces together.

Re:Fearsome. (1)

Trent Hawkins (1093109) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118815)

They forgot the bit where it pees in your pool, kicks your dog, and ties your shoelaces together.
On the plus side PS3 sales will go up a 100%

What of real ones? (2, Funny)

moogied (1175879) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118383)

What of real pandemics? A shortage of grits?!

BS (-1, Redundant)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118387)

I call BS. Pandemic is already based in the US, and we don't see any of this happening.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandemic_Studios [wikipedia.org]

Their games are pretty good too.

Would we hear... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118403)

Would we hear the same thing as all other supposedly-to-be-pandemics-in-other-continents that never came to be?

Re:Would we hear... (4, Insightful)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118545)

I bet you don't have health insurance either, I mean, you aren't sick right now so why bother?

You know, sometimes when people warn you about potential dangers, they aren't just trying to alarm you, scam you or hijack the world back into some kind of pre-industrial state. Sometimes they are trying to do you a damn favor, idiot.

This would allow GW Bush to declare marshall law (1, Troll)

Thrustworthy (1177055) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118411)

...thus canceling the upcoming election and keep himself in office indefinitely.

Marshall Law? Impossible. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118547)

Waaah! Teh shrub = teh hitler!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118651)

By upcoming you mean over 12 months away, right? God you're such a moron. Hey, why haven't the Democrats ended the Iraq war like they promised to?

Re:This would allow GW Bush to declare marshall la (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118735)

Not if you keep that tin foil hat on fellow.
Not even WWII stopped presidential elections in the US. Just not going to happen and no evidence that it could.

Marshall Law (0, Offtopic)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118801)

Are you talking about Thomas Riley Marshall (VP of US nearly a hundred years ago) or John Marshall (chief justice of SCOTUS about two hundred years ago)? They're both dead; I don't see how the current president could use either one for legal advice. Ah... Is this some kind of seance thing? (I heard Reagan was into that stuff. But why not just channel Reagan? Having died more recently, he would be closer to the mortal realms, anyway.)

US pandemic (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118427)

U.S. pandemic. Which idiot came up with that phrase ?

There is no such thing as a US pandemic, there is only a pandemic.

Re:US pandemic (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118571)

I don't know. Stephen King, in his extremely realistic novel The Stand only showed the United States collapsing. One can assume that everywhere else will continue just rosy.

That's not true (2, Informative)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118679)

Webster's defines a pandemic as something "occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population" So defining an area for a pandemic isn't by definition wrong.

Re:That's not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118965)

The use of "US pandemic" is some scaremonger trying to whip up more funding. If it's a pandemic in the US, it will most definitely spread to other countries or vice versa.

Re:US pandemic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118709)

Only people with the USA1 gene are affected, apparently.

Re:US pandemic (1)

Lucas123 (935744) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118809)

So if you were trying to define an area affected by a flu pandemic in order to address corporate disaster recovery, how would you do it genius?

Inevitable (4, Insightful)

MeditationSensation (1121241) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118443)

Seems like this is inevitable. Already there are med-resistant staph infections in the news which are killing more people than AIDS does. Forget terrorism; the next big die off will be from a microscopic threat.

Re:Inevitable (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118727)

Foux News sez [foxnews.com] (and note they are perhaps the most sensational "news" outlet there is) 17,011 deaths from the superbug. Wrong diagnosis dot com [wrongdiagnosis.com] says 15,245 Americans died of AIDS in 2000.

Meanwhile, in 1997, 41,967 people died on the American highways [publicpurpose.com] . So you SHOULD fear the terrorists; the blonde ones in their SUVs.

Note that I'm tired of googling so find your own link, half a million die from cancer and another half million die from heart disease. The two biggest terrorists aren't germs, Muslims or SUVs, but R. J. Reynolds and Ronald McDonald.

-mcgrew

What are you talking about? You got it wrong (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118941)

That most certainly is not what Fox news says.

"If these deaths all were related to staph infections, the total would exceed other better-known causes of death including AIDS -- which killed an estimated 17,011 Americans in 2005 -- said Dr. Elizabeth Bancroft of the Los Angeles County Health Department, the editorial author."

The 17,011 is for AIDS deaths in 2005, not superbug deaths.

Regarding their number for the superbug, which is an extrapolation, they say this.

"There were 988 reported deaths among infected people in the study, for a rate of 6.3 per 100,000. That would translate to 18,650 deaths annually, although the researchers don't know if MRSA was the cause in all cases."

Re:Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21118777)

Already there are med-resistant staph infections in the news which are killing more people than AIDS does.

I don't think you have that quite right. Staph kills orders of magnitudes fewer people than AIDS does, and the stuff you saw on CNN kills fewer people than bats do.

H5N1 has been a blessing... (2, Insightful)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118511)

Really, the fact that it kind of scared the crap out of people has been a good thing. It made everyone realize that we weren't even remotely prepared. The U.S. and other countries are starting to stockpile influenza antivirals like Tamiflu and Relenza. This was something we've been needing to do for a while and the H5N1 scare has really kicked everyone into action.

Sadly, influenza epidemics are a given. It's not a matter of "if", but "when". There were 3 in the last century and they all happened before good antiviral drugs were available. Stockpiling these drugs could very well save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives. The short-term economic cost of a pandemic would be huge, but it would seem trivial compared to the long-term cost of the loss of 5-10%, or more, of the population.

It's good we're testing these kinds of scenarios, but my biggest concern was the stockpiling and availability of antivirals which, fortunately, seems to be getting much better...

Re:H5N1 has been a blessing... (4, Insightful)

joshv (13017) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118669)

"Sadly, influenza epidemics are a given. It's not a matter of "if", but "when". There were 3 in the last century and they all happened before good antiviral drugs were available. Stockpiling these drugs could very well save hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives. The short-term economic cost of a pandemic would be huge, but it would seem trivial compared to the long-term cost of the loss of 5-10%, or more, of the population."

Care to point me to any scientific evidence that Tamiflu, Relenza, or any other such drug in the pipeline will save a single person from a pandemic type flu virus?

No such evidence exists.

Even for non-pandemic strains, the evidence that vaccines and antivirals have had any impact of flu death rates is extremely thin.

Re:H5N1 has been a blessing... (1)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119251)

Right there is the reason why there is a serious supply issue when it comes to a flu pandemic. What is already available, will likely not be effective against a pandemic because the reason the flu is pandemic, is because it is able to bypass all available methods of treatment/prevention. In order to combat a pandemic, a formula must be developed to specifically address this particular instance. Currently, the pharma industry does not have the manufacturing capacity to rapidly produce and distribute a viable vaccine/treatment before it's already too late. Stockpiling will have no effect and expanding production capacities enough is not only extremely costly, but you would have all of this non-utilized manufacturing capacity sitting around waiting for the pandemic.

Re:H5N1 has been a blessing... (3, Informative)

Pedrito (94783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119411)

Care to point me to any scientific evidence that Tamiflu, Relenza, or any other such drug in the pipeline will save a single person from a pandemic type flu virus?

Sure, because I have nothing better to do with my time than do the research you clearly haven't done yourself.

First of all, Tamiflu has been shown to not only reduce the duration and severity of flu symptoms, but used as a prophylactic, reduces the chances of catching the flu by 74%. Here are some facts to back that up: Go here [nih.gov] and enter these PMIDs: 17535069, 17253479, 17115954.

There's tons more out there and anyone willing to get off their butt and do the research can find it. Now granted, there haven't been any large scale trials with H5N1 in people because not that many people have had H5N1. That said, combination therapies in mice with H5N1 have proven quite effective. There's no guarantee it will work in people, but all the evidence suggests that H5N1 is susceptible to neuraminidase inhibitors like Tamiflu will be effective against H5N1. It won't be 100%, but based on the existing data, I suspect it will have a pretty significant impact.

Now, I've done some of your legwork for you. How about you back up this statement: "Even for non-pandemic strains, the evidence that vaccines and antivirals have had any impact of flu death rates is extremely thin." with some evidence of your own.

But what about WoW (2, Insightful)

jconley (28741) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118527)

The whole study comes into question for not using World of Warcraft as a modeling tool for pandemic.

Bah.

What a bunch of BS (4, Informative)

SiliconEntity (448450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118575)

The last flu pandemic was the Hong Kong flu 1969. It didn't exactly bring the end of the world. There were no effects like what are described here.

Everyone hears "flu pandemic" and they think 1918, which was the worst in history. But there have been pandemics since then and they haven't been that bad. Just cause it's a pandemic doesn't mean it's the worst pandemic in history. That's like thinking that every recession is going to be the Great Depression.

Re:What a bunch of BS (1)

WetCat (558132) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118923)

Moreover, the 1918 pandemic was immediately after I world war, and thus
exactly this may be the reason why it was so painful - people were exhausted and hungry.

Re:What a bunch of BS (2, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118947)

Everyone hears "flu pandemic" and they think 1918, which was the worst in history


Well only if you don't count the black death, which killed 30-60% of the population of Europe, or the Small Pox pandemic which possibly killed upwards of 70% of Native Americans and advanced faster and was more ruthless than the conquering European armies.

Re:What a bunch of BS (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119141)

I didn't realize that the Black Death was a flu pandemic.

Re:What a bunch of BS (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119271)

You are right. Nobody should spend any time at all considering the consequences and possible responses to anything more serious than the last pandemic.

Re:What a bunch of BS (2, Informative)

FrenchSilk (847696) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119633)

That is because the 1969 flu (the Hong Kong flu [wikipedia.org] ) was not very lethal at all. In the US, 50 million were infected, with an estimated 33,000 deaths, which is a mortality rate of 0.06%. By comparison, H5N1 (the current bird flu) has a mortality rate of about 60%, more than 1000 times as lethal as the Hong Kong flu. It may become less lethal as it becomes more transmissible, but it has a very long ways to go before it becomes as harmless as the Hong Kong flu.

HH was right! (1)

ritalinvillain (780156) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118577)

You could always go the extra step and avoid all contact with anything just like Howard Hughes. If you really want to do that, you might as well add in the addiction to codeine and valium, build a plane out of wood, and wear tissue boxes as shoes. What it takes to be a billionaire...

Re:HH was right! (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118807)

build a plane out of wood

The plane was started during the Second World War. That's what they had to work with.

Just ONE MORE thing to get oneself (0, Offtopic)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118629)

on the ever-swelling Terr'ist Watch List...

You download THAT, you just GOTS TA BE be a wee bit interested in causing or learning how to cause mayhem....

OTOH...

The Banking System Would be in Trouble? Oh Noes! (1, Troll)

popo (107611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118645)

We have to protect our banking system! We should definitely start some kind of a group that would be willing to donate food, medicines, educational supplies or potable water to the banking system. We can't let anything bad happen to them.

Re:The Banking System Would be in Trouble? Oh Noes (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119247)

We have to protect our banking system! We should definitely start some kind of a group that would be willing to donate food, medicines, educational supplies or potable water to the banking system. We can't let anything bad happen to them.

You know, sarcasm can be a really elegant tool, when it isn't used in the service of ignorance.

You think the economy would suck if a whole lot of people couldn't physically go to work or handle food? How much MORE do you think it would suck if everyone who was still participating in a wounded economy had to also drive around wheelbarrows of barter goods in order to get anything done? A well-oiled electronic banking system could well be one of the most important assets in preventing social collapse in the event of a particularly ugly pandemic. So, what will YOU be bartering? Copies of Ubuntu on cool purple DVDs? Your three extra pairs of clean socks? Your ability to dig out latrines? Hmmm. Many a modern economy is more convenient than a medieval one, and worth protecting. No banking system, no modern economy.

Report did not get classified? (1)

smurfsurf (892933) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118691)

Now that is a surprise to me. My guess would have been that the U.S. government had classified the report. Embolding the terrorists or such some.

yikes (1)

hoto0301 (811128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118695)

If members of Generation Y are still too lazy [slashdot.org] to pursue a career in a field that demands tech-savvy individuals (entomology, epidemiology, statistics, mathematics to name a few), America has its thumbs up its collective ass if such a pandemic were to arise. Thank you, internet for the retardation of our youths.

Update 1, Page 15 - Massive Geographic Implication (1)

hwyengr (839340) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118889)

The pandemic is so bad, the City of Chicago has been moved to Cleveland.

I attended a brief pandemic flu training (1)

Facetious (710885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21118957)

It was a most bizarre hour. The lady doing the presentation was funny and cheerful, which starkly contrasted with the subject matter. It was almost surreal to hear her talk pleasantly about the inevitability of a pandemic, the mortality rate of those infected, and the projected death toll in the local communities.

I walked away from the training with the belief that a pandemic would bring our economy to a screeching halt, though the presenter never said so. I also left thinking, "If this thing hits, I'm going to live in the woods for three to six months, starting with news of the first human-to-human infection in the US." Then again, I'm prone to overreaction. I think it stems from watching Red Dawn so many times as a teenager.

On the upside... (5, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119157)

A massive reduction of human population would reduce the stress on:
- fresh water reserves
- dwindling oil supplies
- food crops already threatened by global warming
- natural resources such as forests

so it's not all bad.

Re:On the upside... (1)

stoneymonster (668767) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119245)

Are you volunteering?

Re:On the upside... (1)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119427)

Not yet, enjoying the party too much for now. Will stick to childfree and sympathetic-euthanasia advocacy for now.

It's cool, I just stocked up. (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119211)

I just spent $450 on ammo this past weekend:
150 .308
550 .22
2000 9mm

Plus my current stock:
~600 .22
~250 .223

Damn war is making ammo expensive :(

The upshot is that the prices on the ammo I use should drop dramatically, since they're all military calibers.

I want a bunch of .22 when the zombies come, just takes one headshot and I can probably carry 20x the ammo.

Re:It's cool, I just stocked up. (1)

TimSSG (1068536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119405)

Sorry, it is not going to be zombies; vampires are new bad guys. So, I suggest laying in a supply of wooden stakes. Note, you might try wooden bullets, but the rumors says they only work if they lodge in the heart. Tim S

yfluk (2, Funny)

CompMD (522020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119335)

It took me about 9 seconds to get the "yfluk" tag, but when I did, I almost fell out of my chair.

Scary stuff. (1)

Shinmizu (725298) | more than 6 years ago | (#21119499)

Man, I sure hope we don't have Y2K and a pandemic hit at the same time.
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