Friday, April 24, 2009

Is It Time to be Scared Yet?

The deadly Mexico flu outbreak, which has no doubt been caused by inequities in the American medical system, happens to be part of one of the 7 deadly scenarios in 7 DEADLY SCENARIOS: A MILITARY FUTURIST EXPLORES WAR IN THE 21ST CENTURY by Andrew Krepinevich. I thought that would cheer you up! Here's the details of the Mexican outbreak: 
Because there is clearly human-to-human spread of the new virus, raising fears of a major outbreak, Mexico's government canceled classes for millions of children in its sprawling capital city and surrounding areas.

"Our concern has grown as of yesterday," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing.

It first looked mostly like a swine virus but closer analysis showed it is a never-before-seen mixture of swine, human and avian viruses, according to the CDC.

"We do not have enough information to fully assess the health threat posed by this new swine flu virus," Besser said.
In 7 Deadly Scenarios, a world-wide avian flu pandemic pushed the American health care system the brink, but the major danger came when Mexico's teetering government collapses and a human wave of sick desperate humanity surges toward the U.S. border. This from the U.S. News & World Report interview with Krepinevich: 
Is there a scenario that particularly surprised you as you looked into it?

The pandemic scenario. You read what people in the medical community are saying, and their point is that a pandemic influenza is not an if event; it's a when event. Nearly a century ago, we had the famed Spanish influenza that killed more people than all the people killed in World War I. It was almost a "bring out your dead in the morning," overwhelming the ability of the healthcare infrastructure to handle the problem. And so the situation is that you have an avian influenza virus that makes this last leap to where it can be easily transmitted between humans. It takes time to isolate the strains and produce a vaccine. So you've got a period of six to nine months where you need to accumulate large stores of the vaccine. In the meantime, you have to rely on antiviral drugs, and you don't have enough of those. You see breakdowns in areas where U.S. forces are located; they're besieged. You get massive numbers of people moving towards the U.S. border, and the government realizes that we cannot accommodate them because we're hanging on by a thread. The armed forces is given the challenge: How do you stop these people in a humanitarian way? Again, you sit down and you start to think about what does the Pentagon have to worry about. The circumstance is a huge humanitarian catastrophe, one that is quite plausible and that would require the military to be very inventive.
Sleep well tonight...dream of nanomasks and Tamiflu.


nj_larry said...

All it takes is a couple of hundred Active Denial Systems positioned along the border. No one in there right minds is going to stay in the beam. Probably the whole thing would cost less than a billion bucks...they are already used in the sandbox.

vmijpp said...

actually, what they say is, "it's not an event, it's an *environment*". and it would be a catastrophe.

True_Texan said...

What freaks me out the most about this right now is, there have been 2 reported cases in my tiny Texas town. The only 2 in the country so far.(From what I've read online to this point.) On the bright side of things, the 2 high school students that had it, got over it without any major difficulties. No death, no major affects. Hopefully it is just Mexico's crappy health care and sanitation standards that are causing the deaths from this unknown strain.

Anonymous said...

I find this sceanario remote. In an worst case the U.S. health care system would be overwhelmed as well so there would be no incentive for a mass migration north for medical care.

Pyshcological factors would come into play too. Some people (a majority?) would not want to abandon sick friends and relatives.

Anonymous said...

I live about twenty miles north of the Mexican border. Work about 10 miles north. Thousands of Mexican workers cross every day to work in the US. They work in the food industry, hotels, restaurants, medical offices, etc. Lots of tourists in this area. Many people go to Mex to get dental work done. I’m sure there is no chance of the virus crossing the border and spreading

Anonymous said...

If it kills off 12 million or so I know where they can get replacements...they're even Mexican citizens!

Anonymous said...

cNumerous virologists have stated that this H1N1 version of “swine flu” virus is NOT naturally occuring. The chance that a combination of human, swine and bird flu viruses combining naturally is infinitesimally minute - more than likely, if they even did combine into a new strain, it would mutate itself into a form that is harmless. These virologists have also stated that if people die in the US from this flu strain, then we will know for a fact that it was intentionally staged.