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#172963 - 05/08/09 06:18 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: wildman800]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> all levels of govt "over reaction", with the light number of confirmed cases.
> The borders with Mexico stayed wide open for legal & illegal traffic. Air
> traffic with "countries that had confirmed cases" were not curtailed, to &
> from this country.

Well, nothing happened. I realize we could all imagine a worst-case scenario, but in reality, it was a milder than normal flu.

Today the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News have no mention of swine flu on the front pages. The big news is the fire in Santa Barbara, and that was the noon news's lead story for the first ten minutes. Fires are great on TV news - lots of drama, choppers flying, flames raging, smoke, evacuations, destruction. It's great for ratings. Same with swine flu till something else became the latest disaster.

I think in reality, it was an over-reaction. Whether it was by design, I'll leave to the highly paid professional speculators on Fox who condemn PHRASECENSOREDPOSTERSHOULDKNOWBETTER. for his choice of mustard. shrug - I see this as a learning experience for me. It fits into my CERT exercise, it informs my judgment of the next flu panic (I'm not going to worry about that one either), and I have my bug-in supplies all ready for the next big earthquake. If a real flu bug hits, I'm ready with my kit and I'll volunteer if CERT is called out, but I'm betting on a quake before deadly flu.

We all get to make our judgments, and we'll benefit or not as the case may be. :->

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#172976 - 05/08/09 10:17 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: philip]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
First, the swine flu is/was not a drill, it is not, and may never be, "over".

The major media outlets have lightened up on the swine flu reporting. Unfortunately this comes before the facts, most only recently available, have come to light. Before the purveyors of extreme alarmist reporting has been repudiated. Before the extent of what we didn't/ don't/ can't know has been made clear.

The general arc of of this story has been from early reports and then divided into mild alarm to wild claims of death scything its way across the globe. There is the usual subset of conspiracy claims, it is an engineered disease designed to boost sales of antivirals and a practice run for a NWO culling of excess populations.

Now the general view is that the pandemic is over and we can shift attention to other things.

Swine flu hasn't gone away. Any more than bird flue has. It doesn't make the news much lately but bird flu is still out there.

The severity of this strain of swine flu, as of right now, is pretty mild. Not worse than what would be expected of any seasonal flu. Its ability to jump from person to person isn't much different from seasonal variety. But this doesn't necessarily mean there isn't a large down side. Even a mild flu is debilitating and if a quarter of the population are away from work all at once a lot of our normal expectations of modern life are going to be disappointed. Particularly since a large slice of this population is expected to be from the health care sector. This may make serious, but survivable cases, deadlier.

But none of that may be necessarily true in the future. The 1918 flu was mild in the spring but came back much deadlier in the fall. No guarantee that it gets more destructive, or less, over time. It might pull a 'Mr.Rogers', and like itself just the way it is.

The one thing that seems most likely is that we aren't done hearing about it, and there is a good chance it will be with us for years.



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#173061 - 05/10/09 06:25 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: Art_in_FL]
philip Offline
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Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
> Swine flu hasn't gone away. Any more than bird flue has. It doesn't make
> the news much lately but bird flu is still out there.

Let me start by saying I'm not going to argue with you - we're each entitled to our judgments on these matters, and I have no argument with your judgment.

I have a different judgment, however. Let me point out that we don't hear much about bird flu any more for a reason. We don't hear about SARS,either -- remember the SARS panic?

Margaret Chan is the head of WHO; she raised the pandemic threat alert to 5 because of swine flu and said, "All of humanity is under threat." She threatened to raise it to 6. All the all-news channels were carrying morbid, panic-causing stories laden with death and doom.

My take on all this, and it's just my judgment, is that there are thousands of people who make money off dire predictions: news stations get more viewers when they show stories where people say all of humanity is under threat; public officials get more attention and more tax money when they make dire predictions; experts get more air time when they chime in and say we're all going to die, then they get hired for more consultations; all the religions get more attendance and more money when they can assure us that the end is near; environmentalists can get more attention and more money by assuring is this is the result of factory farming and the death of earth; animal rights groups get more attention and money when they blame unethical treatment of the poor pigs by factory farmers. And on and on.

As a result, I tune it all out. I tuned out SARS, I tuned out bird flu, I tuned out swine flu. And as the optimist who fell off the Empire State Building said on his way down - Well, I'm alright so far.

I'm still willing to bet I'll be in an earthquake before I'm in some plague pandemic. And I'm willing to bet my shelter in place gear for the quake will suffice for a pandemic if I'm proven wrong.

My judgment -- and I emphasize it's just my judgment -- is that it's all fear-mongering by people who profit from mongering fear. Remember the end of the world with Y2K? People bought all sorts of stuff to survive the end of the world as we know it. Think of all those people now buying guns and ammo because PHRASECENSOREDPOSTERSHOULDKNOWBETTER.'s going to outlaw guns. Personally, I'm not buying any of it (and I have to say that saved me some money).

I don't argue with those who disagree, because it's a judgment call. As I said, I'm in a group that did a drill for distribution of Cipro in response to a possible anthrax attack. I'm willing to consider worst case scenarios, but in the end I dismiss swine flu as coming back and killing us all - I've heard too much hype to take all the panic-inducing rhetoric seriously. All we have to fear is fear itself, as I heard somewhere.

The odds are I won't get flu this year. If I do get the flu, the odds are I'll be sick for a week and wish I was dead, but then I'll feel all better again just like always. I'm with Damon Runyon: "It may be that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong - but that's the way to bet."


Edited by philip (05/10/09 06:26 PM)

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#173264 - 05/13/09 08:29 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: philip]
Meadowlark Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 154
Loc: Northern Colorado
I learned:


*That a modern pandemic was indeed possible, and that despite updated medical knowledge and improved hygiene, it could deteriorate into a bad situation very quickly.


*While well-prepared for most other emergencies, I lacked or had misplaced a few things needed during a pandemic or other health-related emergency, like extra oral rehydration salts.


*There was a surprising amount of initial confusion and delay amongst international/national authorities when it came to getting out reliable, up-to-date information; and that even the CDC was several days behind breaking news posted by local authorities via Twitter and other news feeds.


*Hospitals can become quickly overwhelmed, even during a mild pandemic.


*Drug stores run out of N91 masks and hand sanitizer more quickly than hardware stores. Extra food and water are more of an afterthought.


*That said, the majority of the public will still not prepare for a health-related emergency. "If I get sick, I get sick". seems to be the most common response.








Edited by Meadowlark (05/13/09 08:33 PM)
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#173444 - 05/18/09 11:29 AM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: philip]
Brangdon Offline
Veteran

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1201
Loc: Nottingham, UK
Originally Posted By: philip
I'm still willing to bet I'll be in an earthquake before I'm in some plague pandemic.
Where I live, serious earthquakes are virtually unheard of, but an pandemic can reach everywhere. That makes it interesting to a forum like this: everyone can join in.

Quote:
Remember the end of the world with Y2K?
I think that's a good analogy, but for the opposite reason. The pre-Y2K hype was a good thing because it worked. A lot of people worked really hard and averted the disaster. Without the media hype, that might not have happened, because people might not have appreciated how serious the danger was and been willing to pay for the work needed to avert it.

Similarly the swine fever hype, although not directly relevant to most people, was/is relevant to folk in the health and research industries. The current strain is mild, but there seems to be a real chance it will come back again stronger next winter. It's happened before. We have a few months grace to develop vaccines and other treatments, and it's important that we do that. Not we you-and-I, but we as a community. Ordinary doctors at least need to know what the symptoms are so they can react appropriately when patients present. And so on.

Historically there have been major flu epidemics within the last 100 or so years. We have better science and technology now so maybe such will never happen again. If that's the case, it'll be because we used it; because of hard work of many individuals.


Edited by Brangdon (05/18/09 11:31 AM)
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#173447 - 05/18/09 12:47 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: Brangdon]
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
My daughter's school is one of those closed due to "H1N1 type symptoms" in NYC
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#173453 - 05/18/09 02:28 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: philip]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
Philip, I won't argue your point so much, but your rationale for it - that there's money to be made through declaring a pandemic - is kind of skewed. The CDC and WHO responded according to their pre-established protocol - so many cases and deaths reported, so many countries impacted: that's what triggers the level of alert. Lethality isn't the issue with this strain at the moment, its the ability for H1N1 to pass from person to person with relative ease. Its a relatively new strain, not brand new obviously but new enough that the majority of the population appears not to have any significant immunities through prior exposure. As others have pointed out, these are a combination of factors that cause the medical community to take extra precautions - not because swine flu will kill thousands right away, but because the virus may mutate over time and may eventually come to a strain that does begin to kill as easily as it transmits. Mutation is about as inevitable as the weather, and about as well understood. There's plenty of cause for concern with H1N1, just not the kind of immediate concern that seems to float your boat.

As for your earthquake preps, you're probably right, but make sure to review CDC and local public health sites for recommended preparations to treat family and friends who are down with serious flu in a time a pandemic - little or no medical assistance available. I found that I have lots of bandages etc, but not enough ibuprofen or liquids for rehydration. A letter to your county council people advocating for additional funding for hospital respirators and training for people to operate them wouldn't be a bad idea either.

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#173489 - 05/18/09 10:21 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: KG2V]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
Yeah, we had a bunch of schools closed here, too. Principals complained about it to higher authorities, and closings stopped. They just asked people with symptoms to stay home. No change in numbers for reported cases when schools started up again.

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#173492 - 05/18/09 10:55 PM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: Lono]
philip Offline
Addict

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 639
Loc: San Francisco Bay Area
My complaint isn't about raising the threat level, it's about Margaret Chan, the head of WHO, saying, "All of humanity is under threat." There _is_ money made, not through declaring a pandemic, but from treating this mild H1N1 virus as the end of the world as we know it, all of humanity at risk, when nothing supports that. It's not the statistical reporting of cases and deaths (what, six in the US so far?). Look at the fear-mongering here in today's WebMD:
http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20090518/swine-flu-japan-outbreak-may-trigger-pandemic
The report starts saying new cases in Japan are "pushing the world to the brink of an official flu pandemic." The number of cases "spiked" today. "Community-level sustained transmission." "Emotional shock." But then way down on the page, we find that there's no indication of a change in the virulency of the virus. It's still mild. It's just that cases are continuing to be reported.

This kind of sensationalistic crap sells papers, gets people to watch TV, gets experts hired to opine, etc. It's not "declaring a pandemic" that makes money, it's the sensationalizing of it: "All of humanity is under threat." More eyeballs means more revenue, and sensational stories pull in the readers and viewers.

http://www.gmanews.tv/story/161501/What-next-if-WHO-declares-flu-pandemic
says there's greater danger from mass panic than from the flu. It says that "WHO's pandemic phases only judge how fast a virus spreads," as you point out, but that nobody knows that: "All of humanity is under threat" is not a plain statement that a mild flu is spreading rapidly and that increases in alert level mean increased morbidity not increased mortality.

> There's plenty of cause for concern with H1N1 ... .

There's cause for concern with every strain. I expect doctors and such to monitor this strain, just like they do all the others. There's no evidence to expect this strain to cause any more mortality than normal. (About half a million people die annually from flu.) There's no evidence that this strain will be any more lethal than any other, based on reports so far, and no evidence that its mutant progeny will be any more deadly than existing strains of flu.

Sensational _reporting_, regardless of the topic, generates revenue for the reporting companies, and the experts they hire. Panic gives bureaucrats leverage for increased funding and staffing. There's money to be made and empires to be built. And after Katrina, our government is loath to appear to be doing nothing.

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#173508 - 05/19/09 03:11 AM Re: So - how did you do with your Flu Drill? [Re: philip]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
You're right, it is sensationalized. They make the word "pandemic" sound ominous. "EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE!" HIV is one of the deadliest viruses we've ever encountered. It is classified as a pandemic. But, some of that information is pertinent, and should be listened to. If this does become a pandemic, the time is now to make preparations and mitigate the effect it will have on your life.

As for the fear-mongering, there is a fine line between fear-mongering and providing information to help people plan. We don't know what is going to happen, but in the past, the last 3 pandemics have started with a very mild spring outbreak in the northern hemisphere. Yes, it's sensationalism, but this is just like the reporting before hurricanes in Florida. It's not meant for the people that are prepared, it is meant for those that don't have a clue. Unfortunately, they still don't listen to the media. In the NYC area (Queens specifically) the number of possible cases has increased, as well as confirmed. The local news was good enough to point out "these numbers represent under-reporting because most people stay home and treat it as the normal flu". Staying home and not going to the hospital make sense. They cannot stop it, and they'd like you to not spread it in the hospital.

One thing most places are not mentioning is having ready-to-eat food for a couple of weeks to a month. This isn't just good for the flu, it's good for long term power outages and other unforseen events (i.e. unemployment! ).

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