“Autumn is the hush before winter.”
In case you weren’t aware, autumn began today, September 22, at 4:44 ET. Fall is my favorite season of the year, when I try to get outdoors as much as I can. The next month or so will also be a time when I’ll be working hard getting prepared for my first winter in the new house- including stocking up on items to fend off/address a cold or the flu.
Speaking of influenza, the LiveScience website ran a piece this last week which served as a reminder of what could be in store for us one of these winters- a time when people are indoors and in closer proximity to each other, making catching the flu a whole lot easier. Tia Ghose wrote on Tuesday:
A recently declassified U.S. government plan for how to react in the face of a pandemic flu has some scary, but realistic predictions.
According to a 2009 Department of Defense plan, if a flu pandemic strikes, about 30 percent of the U.S. population could fall ill, with 3 million hospitalizations and 2 million deaths. Basic services, such as medical care or essential supply deliveries, will probably be disrupted.
In the plan, the government also says it assumes that a vaccine against a completely new flu strain wouldn’t become available for several months. Even after that, production will ramp up slowly.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
According to Ghose, a flu expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital out in Memphis, Tennessee, backed-up those DOD projections.
Back in March 2007, the non-profit, non-partisan Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) released a well-known report on the matter entitled Pandemic Flu and Potential for U.S. Economic Recession in which they said:
According to analyses by 3 major financial and economic research institutions, during a severe pandemic flu outbreak, the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could drop between 4.25 and 6 percent. A “severe” outbreak is based on the 1918 pandemic, when 30 percent of the population became ill and 2.5 percent of those who became ill died. In modern times, this would translate into approximately 90 million Americans becoming ill and roughly 2.25 million deaths. An outbreak of this severity would almost certainly lead to a major economic recession.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
The Washington, D.C.-based organization added:
The CBO, the ANU/Lowy Institute, and BMO Nesbitt Burns developed national assumptions about what would constitute a “severe” or “ultra” pandemic outbreak, using estimates of a 30 percent attack rate and 2.5 percent case-fatality rate under “severe” and “ultra” scenarios. In 2005, the national population was nearly 300 million people. With these estimates, approximately 90 million people would get ill, and of those 90 million, roughly 2.25 million would die.
As I type this, the U.S. Census “Population Clock” says the national population is 316,736,690 persons. Updating the above model using the more recent 2010 Census data would show around 95 million Americans possibly falling ill from pandemic flu, with 2.4 million of those stricken potentially dying.
You can read that 2009 Department of Defense plan, “USNORTHCOM CONPLAN 3551-09, Concept Plan to Synchronize DOD Pandemic Influenza Planning, 13 Aug 2009,” via the LiveScience website here (.pdf format).
In addition, you can read the March 2007 TFAH report on their website here (.pdf format).
By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)
Ghose, Tia. “Pandemic Flu Plan Predicts 30% of US Could Fall Ill.” LiveScience. 17 Sep. 2013. (http://www.livescience.com/39704-overnment-flu-pandemic-plan-revealed.html). 22 Sep. 2013.
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