U.S. Worst Case Scenario Pandemic Plan

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


What happens if the swine flu outbreak becomes the dreaded worst case scenario?

According to planning reports reviewed by the Associated Press and interviews with planners, government leaders and major employers have spent four years planning for one in series of exercises if the worst happens:

A full-scale pandemic could claim the lives of about 2 percent of those infected, or about 2 million Americans.

• 90 million Americans sickened or about 30 percent of the population
• 1.5 million would need intensive care
• 750,000 would need the help of mechanical ventilators to breath
• Hospitals overwhelmed
• People would be isolated and their relatives could be quarantined
• Schools closed
• An economic recovery snuffed out
• Food and water shortages
• Hotels, restaurants and airline business grinds to a halt
• Empty seats at baseball stadiums and houses of worship

The Trust for America’s Health, an independent public health group, estimated in 2007 that a severe pandemic would shrink U.S. economic output by 5.5 percent.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Monday that the U.S. is preparing as if the swine flu outbreak were a full pandemic. It is not at that stage and may never reach it. Even if the new swine flu from Mexico turns out to be especially aggressive, the worst consequences could be averted.

Disease detectives are following a series of outbreaks, of varying severity, all of which appear to be related to Mexico. A pandemic would spread throughout the world with explosive speed.

The government got serious about worst case planning during the 2005 bird flu scare.

SOURCE: PandemicFlu.gov

This entry was posted in Epidemics, Healthcare, International News, News, Swine Flu, U.S. Economy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to U.S. Worst Case Scenario Pandemic Plan

  1. Walk on Socks says:

    I heard on the local news that there is now a suspected cluster of swine flu in an elementary school in the San Diego suburb called Mira Vista.

    Have you heard anything about this?

  2. Walk on Socks,

    I haven’t heard about a new cluster in San Diego.

    What I am hearing about is another school in Queens, NY with at least 10 suspected cases.

    Not good.

  3. bradfrmphnx says:

    So far we’ve been lucky in Arizona. But we all know its a matter of time. The terrible economy here, and the lack of construction work for illegals has made a lot of them leave AZ. Which doesn’t break my heart any. I support legal immigrants with open arms. But not illegal ones. Still, they cross our border everyday. They are bound to carry it across at some point.

  4. Rachel says:

    My sis lives in North Carolina and she called today to tell me they’re implementing a quarantine due to an outbreak of swine flu in a public school. I asked her, “So what if the people refuse to stay home?” She said the news report said if the people who are quarantined refuse to cooperate, they will be arrested.

  5. DMason says:

    The San Francisco Bay Area’s first confirmed cases of swine flu have been identified in two Marin County women. An unidentified 60 year old woman, and her 20-month-old granddaughter tested positive for swine flu after a recent trip to Mexico.

  6. Genelle says:

    In 1918:

    In large U.S cities, more than 10,000 deaths per week were attributed to the virus. It is estimated that as many as 50% of the population was infected, and ~1% died. To compare, in “normal” (interpandemic) years, it is estimated that between 10-20% of the population is infected, with a .008% mortality.

    The fact the current ‘swine flu’ has shown to be contagious is alarming. So far the virus has shown to have a 6% to 6.3% mortality rate. It may not seem like much, but please consider the following: The deadly influenza panic in 1918 had a mortality rate of under 1%.

    This virus went on to kill tens of thousands of healthy people a day in large cities and up to 100 million people world wide.

    Viruses, like this strain of swine flu, kill their host by over-stimulating active immune systems that are robust and healthy. That is why the victims in Mexico were between the ages of 20 and 45.

    Some have said that no one in the United States have died from the virus, so we need not worry. Experts say it is only a matter of time. The virus is not prevalent enough to reach statistical significance in the United States, with only a handful of confirmed cases. 93.7% of all Mexicans with the virus recovered.

    More cause for worry: The 1918 virus started off ‘mild’ before it mutated into a raging storm. It also does not mean we will see millions of deaths. It is too early to draw sweeping conclusions. Nevertheless, there is potential for a disastrous pandemic. If 50% of Americans catch this flu in the next two years, and the mortality rate stays at 6.3%, we would witness 20+ million deaths.

    This strain of virus is more potent and more deadly than the virus that hammered the world in 1918 and 1919. Viruses come in waves. There are striking similarities to this virus and the virus that killed up to 100 million people in 1918. The first wave is historically more mild than the later waves.

    In addition to this virus becoming more severe, it is mutating faster than previous virus that we have seen. In addition, this virus is nothing like we have ever seen before because it combines features from viruses natural in different parts of the globe. We are in uncharted territory.

    If it follows the same path as the 1918 flu, we will see very damaging results. However, we must remember we are a global society now and the virus can spread quicker than we have ever witnessed in history. This is very concerning especially since the drugs we have now seem resistant.

    While there have been no deaths in America, it is shadowed by the fact the common variable among the deaths seem to be age. While most American cases have involved the very young and very old (under 10 and over 50) the Mexican cases that ended fatally involved the robust and healthy (over 20 and under 45).

    This virus kills the host by over-stimulating the immune system. The term that is used when the immune system over reacts is called a Cytokine Storm. It is usually fatal. During this “Storm” over 150 inflammatory mediators are released. This would account for the high mortality rate in 1918-19.


  7. Prairiedog says:

    I sure hope the Feds get this under control because based on everything I’m hearing and reading, this swine flu virus has the potential to kill millions of people before it’s all over.

  8. Randy Arroyo says:

    This Doomsday scenario stuff is like a nightmare. I am glad the government is thinking about these issues so I don’t have to. Thanks for keeping your readers informed, Christopher and not blogging about dogs, and kitties, and orchids and baking.

  9. Pingback: Wednesday WTF! #27 « My 2 Cents

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