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View Diary: Pandemic Flu Preparation and the Role of Internet Communities (91 comments)

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  •  I'm I the only one who is not the least bit (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christopher Liberal, DavidW

    worried about bird flu?

    It's my understanding that the Chinese stopped SARS using a natural remedy--the pigment from red apples, which prevents the virus from attaching to cell membranes.

    I confess, I'm not afraid of h5n1, terrorists, Saddam Hussein's mustard gas, or any of the other crap that could kill me any day now.  I wish all of you the best in your preparations.

    I say this with all sincerity: Bird Flu will be as bad as SARS and Y2K combined.

    •  perhaps you misunderestimate (3+ / 0-)
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      Paine, Pandora, splashy

      some things are not disaster precisely because thousands of man-hours go into making it so (think Y2K).  ;-)

      Most people just don't like to think about bad things happening. You're not alone. See Why Don't People Prep? New Survey

      44% ... do not believe in worrying about things that may or may not happen in the future.

      SARS is well covered here and here. People are gathering info on natural remedies here (I neither endorse nor disdain).

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 08:32:44 AM PDT

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    •  I'm another one who thinks this is a bunch.... (0+ / 0-)

      of hogwash that gives policy wonks a job with a BIG salary and another intrusion of fear for the sheeple.

      •  well, lots of folks like me donate their time (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pandora, splashy, tzt

        and efforts and aren't making a buck on it. Whatever. But do note the main topic here is ordinary people (on-line community) who volunteer their time.

        There are some people who are so cynical they think  all natural disasters are "hogwash that gives policy wonks a job with a BIG salary and another intrusion of fear for the sheeple." That's to be expected when the national response framework is too geared to bioterror and not geared enough to natural disasters. I'd rather see dollars spent on vaccine research than other things, because it will help us not run into shortages of childhood and seasonal flu vaccines each year, just as one example.

        But however you feel, there is enough money being spent on this so that oversight is sensible, rational and good. That means at a minimum educating yourself on the issues, hence why I post the diaries.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 08:40:02 AM PDT

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        •  Count me in as one of the volunteers (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DemFromCT, splashy, sillia

          I'm putting in about 12 hours a week working on a pandemic plan for my local law enforcement. This includes a 20 minutes power point presentation about H5N1, pandemics, and ideas on preparation and possible prevention.

          Thanks for keeping this front and center. While I am afraid that at some point this will happen, we can certainly use the information and knowledge we gain to apply to other disasters and diseases.

          "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left." ~ Bertrand Russell

          by Pandora on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 09:02:19 AM PDT

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        •  If you want to volunteer to develop a plan.... (0+ / 0-)

          that's fine with me, but you should realize that any effort on your part will depend on what the 'government' plan is, if there is one.

          If THEY were serious about anything, except driving Americans to take the flu shot or instilling more fear in the sheep, we would all know what their PLAN would be in the case of a pandemic virus.

          What about air travel and quarantine? Have you read of any plan by the federal govt to arrest contagion?

          •  well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            splashy

            the federal plans, such as they are, are outlined here.

            The main plan is to close schools for up to 12 weeksin a severe pandemic (less long for mild ones) to check the spread of infection in a community. To prepare for that, parents and employers need to make alternative child care arrangements that don't simply reproduce herding kids in large numbers.

            The reason that air travel and quarantine is problematic (I wriote about air travel a bit last week as well, using the recent TB case as an example) is the speed at which thigs get to everywhere through major portals. Also, since so much of our drug manufacture comes from overseas, sealing the borders would kill as many people as it saves. it is still a hot topic being debated at CDC and elsewhere.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 10:26:45 AM PDT

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            •  in the meantime (0+ / 0-)

              billions of dollars of R&D are being invested in flu vaccine. So, if ut holds off, we'll vaccinate the world.

              And that, in a nutshell is the plan. If there's no vaccine, social distancing, community mitigation including school closure,  and everything learned from 1918 is the plan.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 10:35:00 AM PDT

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            •  But shouldn't there be restriciton on people.... (0+ / 0-)

              travel? Why isn't there any being discussed?

              Why did the TB case not get arrested and quarantined?

              Was the CDC afraid of a lawsuit for the wedding costs?

              •  because by the time restrictions take place (0+ / 0-)

                the disease has already spread. And you can't really secure the border. if you could, we'd have no smuggling and no illegals.

                As far as the TB guy goes, all quarantine plans a re voluntary. Mandatory quarantine is very rarely used, and in a pandemic with 25% of the police sick, you can't enforce it anyway.

                See, these are all important questions, which is why it's important to talk about it beforehand so you have some idea of what to do when the time comes.

                morehere.

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 11:49:50 AM PDT

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        •  I'm a volunteer, too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DemFromCT

          I've taken and completed the local CERT course, and have just started a Live Journal community (still really small) about CERT and disaster preparedness. It's cert_info on Live Journal if anyone is interested.

          I'm a big believer in collecting and sharing preparation information, and might make my next Toastmasters project a series of talks about disaster preparedness.

          Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done. --R. A. Heinlein

          by Sunfell on Mon Oct 15, 2007 at 09:47:50 AM PDT

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      •  Where I work, in a agency for the disabled (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        splashy

        there is a lot of anxiety and uncertainty
        We certainly dont think of this as hog wash, or fear mongering-- and we dont make big salaries.
        Were a pandemic to hit, even a mild one, we could see up to a 30-50% mortality in our agency's clientele, and this says nothing of the economic and social disruption
        When SARS hit Toronto-- we were on needles and pins for weeks-- hoping that no one would introduce it into our community, since we had no way of knowing how bad we wouldbe  hit.

        Necessity is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.-- Wm.Pitt the Younger

        by JeffSCinNY on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 09:11:47 AM PDT

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      •  I have prepared myself (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT, sillia, 1864 House

        Just in case. There are lots of things besides pandemic that would lead to needing a few month's supply, so why not have that available if you can?

        You can be cynical, but prepare anyway for yourself and your family. It doesn't hurt anything, and if you only stock up on what you usually use, and rotate things through so nothing gets to be too old, there is no skin off your nose. Then if some kind of disaster like a tornado, pandemic, loss of job, or whatever, happens, you will have a bit of a cushion of supplies to fall back on.

        Seems like basic common sense to me. I know since we have done that we are very happy about not having to go to town to get things every time we turn around. We talk about it every time we go to our "store" to get something out.

        If nothing else, we are saving our time and gas having supplies stocked up. It costs less to be stocked up!

        "A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." Douglas Adams

        by splashy on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 11:45:53 AM PDT

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    •  I'm too not concerned (0+ / 0-)

      Certainly there's a possibility that this could become a pandemic, just like there's a possibility the super volcanoe under Yellowstone, which is overdue, could expload and effectively whipe out a huge chunk of the United states. I definetly believe there are forces at work that have made bird flu a bigger story than it should be, just like SARS was so rediculously overblown.

      We need better distaster preparation in general, and the internet community can be part of that. At the same time I don't believe in the fear mongering that has been going on with things like Bird Flu, which more that likely will turn out to be not much in the end.

      •  hope so (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        splashy

        I would be delighted to settle for better disaster preparation and rational discussion. I can't be responsible for how Fox and CNN handle the issue.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 09:37:24 AM PDT

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      •  flu more like global warming (0+ / 0-)

        In my opinion, the possibility of pandemic flu is very much related to human activity (or lack thereof), similar to global warming.

        A super volcano or a meteor hit or the sun blowing up or whatever will either happen or it won't, you're right. But the causes and variables involved in the flu relate to how we do things (such as animal confinement operations), and how well we watch and respond.

        SARS may have seemed overblown by the media but it was handled with extraordinary care and seriousness, thus no disaster. Right now agencies and govt's in Asia are going to extraordinary lengths to keep a close watch on avian flu, conducting massive cullings when something's detected and this is not easy for them--what they are doing is heroic and may even save us. I think it would be great if, 20 years from now you can say, "See, I was right--no pandemic!" in fact I hope and pray this is the case. But if this is prevented in the future it won't be just happenstance.

        "It is time, brothers and sisters, for America to be patriotic about something other than war." John Edwards, 1/14/07.

        by sillia on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 11:52:03 AM PDT

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      •  Tough to Compare Super Volcano With Flu Pandemic (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DemFromCT, ferriswheel

        When comparing the likelihood of a Flu Pandemic with events such as a super volcano eruption in Yellowstone, it helps to look at their relative frequency.  

        Last time Yellowstone erupted:  640,000 years ago.
        Last time any super volcano erupted:  74,000 years ago.

        Last Significant Influenza Pandemic: 40 years ago (1968) Mild
        Last Severe Influenza Pandemic: 90 years ago. (1918) Killed well over 50 Million worldwide.

        Lots of people choose not to prepare for events that happen much more frequently than either of these, but that's not really the issue.  

        Endless debate can be had over the likilihood of a severe pandemic occuring in the next few years.  

        But I am guessing that most informed writers would place that % at 100% long before 74,000 years pass.

        The other major difference is that if Yellowstone is going to blow, there is really not much anyone can do.  

        On the other hand, community mitigation efforts (not relying on any drugs) could reduce mortality from an influenza pandemic by up to 50 to 70%.  That's something that quite a few of us can work on.    

        Think of the constitution as a levy. Think of our democracy as New Orleans.

        by Into The Woods on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 12:22:47 PM PDT

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        •  In the meantime US has killed hundreds of... (0+ / 0-)

          thousands of Iraqis and Americans suck their thumbs over what to do.

          Many Americans have a sick attraction to the what-ifs to comfort their guilt in the what-is happening in their name.

          •  Americans can multitask (0+ / 0-)

            I cover SCHIP and health care and polls and politics as well as pandemic preparedness. It's not hard. Every parent multitasks every day.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Sun Oct 07, 2007 at 02:06:22 PM PDT

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          •  Lots of us work on more than one issue (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DemFromCT

            I wonder if you ever see a comment in one of the discussions of Iraq, or Global Warming, or Aids, or any of the other host of issues that are rightfully discussed here and acted on by many of us in the meat world like this:

            "In the meantime, the US population remains unaware of and unprepared for its role in the event of pandemic - a status that could lead to the unnecessary increase of pandemic mortality of over 50% (which could be millions in the US alone)."

            While some may have an unhealthy obsession with 'what-ifs',  many more of our population are in serious denial and avoidance of any concerns that they fear could bring that level of  devastation to their well-ordered lives.

            Unfortunately, a pandemic is not a "what-if" it is a "when" and "how bad".

            Activism does not need to be an either-or proposition - and in fact activism on any issue can lead to greater engagement as a citizen across the board.

            I neither discourage attention to other issues nor demand sole focus on pandemic awareness and preparedness.  But I do suggest it is best if it is not ignored.  

            Think of the constitution as a levy. Think of our democracy as New Orleans.

            by Into The Woods on Mon Oct 08, 2007 at 11:48:23 AM PDT

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