Letter Re: Influenza Exercise Shows the Potential for Major Infrastructure Disruptions

I thought you and your readers might be interested in this flu pandemic exercise recently carried out by financial services firms. An article in Computerworld describes the scenario: “If a pandemic strikes the U.S., it will kill about 1.7 million people, hospitalize 9 million, exhaust antiviral medications and reduce basic food supplies…”, and, “Among the other things that may happen in an actual pandemic are school closings, as well as blackouts or brownouts in major metro areas because of degraded service as a result of absenteeism. Internet service throughput could be reduced by 50% due to congestion, and Web browsing timeouts would become common. Airlines would cut schedules, and garbage would pile up on streets.”

The article’s fairly standard mainstream media flu pandemic coverage, the kind I’m sure we’ve all seen before. What makes this really interesting is that the scenario information used for the exercise has been posted online. It’s somewhat focused on the financial sector, but there’s a lot of good general information about what might happen when a major flu pandemic strikes. – Chris in Utah