Letter Re: BBC/Discovery Channel Documentary on Asian Avian Flu

Hi Jim,
Last night I watched a superb two hour documentary on one of the science [cable television] channels about the coming avian flu pandemic. It was a co-production of the Discovery Channel and the BBC, so I’m sure everyone with cable television will have a chance to see it.

The documentary weaved between the predictions and projections of top epidemiologists, and a fictionalized account of the breakout in Cambodia, and its spread worldwide. The 1918 Spanish Flue pandemic was also used as a major point of comparison. All of the experts on the show said it is not a question of if, but when the bird flu pandemic explodes. They expect a 10% mortality rate minimum among the infected, with our health system totally overwhelmed. The antiviral medicine Tamiflu won’t prevent but will only slightly delay the pandemic, because it has no carry over effect. That is, as soon as Tamiflu stocks run out, the pandemic carries on at full speed. They expect the pandemic to launch worldwide within a month of the H5N[“X”] virus making one or two minor mutations to allow rapid human to human transmission. The new pandemic will spread much more rapidly than the 1918 [influenza] virus, because of the speed of jet travel. From the first bird flu first case in the USA to every city and town in pandemic crisis will take 90 days, according to their projections. In sum, it may take only four months from virus mutation to completely blanketing every town in the USA. Schools will be shut down, and at least 40% of workers will be off of the job, causing severe economic fallout.

They even showed and interviewed a suburban couple who are concerned enough to lay in “preps” for four months at home, including a generator, fuel, a water well etc. For once, they were not portrayed as “survivalist kooks” but more in the light of, “everyone should be making a plan like this.” A main point of the show is that ordinary people just cannot grasp the speed with which this pandemic is expected to breakout and travel worldwide, or the fact that there is no medical solution to the problem. It will have to burn itself out, with many tens of millions dying. The purpose of the documentary was given as causing people to ponder and discuss the issue and begin to make their own preparations. Once the mutation and breakout happens, events will proceed much too rapidly to make decent preparations at the national, local or even family level.

I would highly recommend that all SurvivalBlog readers keep and eye out for this documentary and watch it very carefully. – Matt Bracken