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It's becoming increasingly obvious that there are two very distinct camps here at CE. There are many similarities between the two, but one HUGE divide as well.

Group 1 has prepared and plans on riding it out with as much limited exposure as possible. Private transportation, social distancing etc. Proper hygiene. Group 1 believes that after 3 months or so, (see poll) life will pretty much return to normal. "Wow, that pandemic was bad! Nasty stuff that flu! Almost lost an uncle. Who do you think will win the world series?"

Group 2 is prepared and has also put into place measures for telecommuting. Group 2 will not under any circumstances, or very limited ones, risk exposure to the populace. Group 2 understands that this may well lead to a significant breakdown of services and even the collapse of society. Group 1 snickers like children in church when these assertions are made. Group 2 has prepared as best as one can for total chaos, if preparing for such is truly possible.

Both camps have their spokespeople. Group 1 posts threads like "Vaccine 100% effective!" "Tamiflu appears to work against...." "Bird flu fears overblown!"

Group 2 posts Osterholm and others but silently bookmarks sites such as:

"This is a nation-busting event!" warned Tara O'Toole, CEO of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Biosecurity. Speculating that 40 million Americans could die -- that's about one in eight -- she warned: "We must act now."

"We and the entire world remain unprepared for what could arguably be the most horrific disaster in modern history," inveighed Gregory A. Poland of the Mayo Clinic and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Somebody in the audience sneezed, and Poland added: "The clock is ticking. We've been warned."



Bird flu 'could be 21st-century Black Death'

· Economists predict rioting and flight from cities
· Markets not prepared for risks occurring together

The assessment, undertaken by risk experts at the insurance companies Swiss Re and Marsh and McLennan (MMC), and Merrill Lynch and given at last weeks World Economic Forum in Davos:

"These impacts might include the disruption of supply chains and trade flows; an exacerbation of financial imbalances and the transformation of intellectual property regimes for pharmaceutical products; rioting to gain access to scarce supplies of antivirals and vaccines; a collapse of public order; partial de-urbanisation as people flee population centres; the extinction of trust in governments; decimation of specific human skill sets; and forced, large-scale migration, associated with the further collapse of already weak states."

It added: "In such a scenario, the impact on society might be as profound as that which followed the Black Death in Europe in 1348. That plague caused a fundamental transformation of socio-economic relations in Europe."



Russian Expert Says Flu Epidemic May Kill Over One Billion This Year

The world is on the brink of a major flu epidemic — one that could claim more than a billion lives, the head of the Russian Virology Institute, Academician Dmitry Lvov said at a press conference organized by the RIA-Novosti news agency on Thursday.

"Up to one billion people could die around the whole world in six months," Lvov said. The expert did not give a timeframe for the epidemic, but said that it is highly probable that it will start this year. "We are half a step away from a worldwide pandemic catastrophe," the academic said.

The Russian expert said that U.S. researchers possessed data suggesting that if a pandemic hits, up to 700,000 people will fall ill in the United States. He said that the population of the United States can be roughly compared to that of Russia and thus the number of cases will be approximately the same.



David Nabarro, the U.N.'s top influenza coordinator at last week's world economic forum:

One of the most important conclusions (from a pandemic simulation) was that maintaining infrastructure -- water, power and the provision of food -- could take a higher priority than providing care to the sick, Nabarro told Reuters.

"It is maybe even more important to concentrate on the essentials of life for those who are living than it is to focus on the treatment of those who are sick," he said.

"Governments are starting to realize that they are nowhere near prepared for the damage that it could cause," he said at a panel discussion.

I guess you can tell which camp I'm in.

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