Letter Re: Influenza Exercise Shows the Potential for Major Infrastructure

With all due respect (to Chris in Utah and the folks cited by Computerworld), “If a pandemic strikes the U.S., it will kill about 1.7 million people” is a fantasy, because it is based upon the 1918-1919 flu’s death-rate of 2.5%, and also that the United States’ population of the time was around one-third of the present number.

It was said that, in “normal” times, flu killed some 0.25% of those afflicted. In 1918-1919, that figure skyrocketed to 2.5%. Triple the U.S.’s population (in regard to the earlier 20th Century figure), and the post-WW1’s death-rate goes to slightly over 2 million. But, as I indicated earlier, that’s with the 2.5% rate.

In Indonesia and elsewhere, the death rate [for H5N1] is not even close to 2.5%. It is more like 53% to 60%. I made some further calculations (2.5 x 20, for starters, although that is a rather conservative figure), an came up with the following figure[s], that the death rate, in the U.S. alone (675,000 x 3 x 20), will be more along the lines of 40,500,000 (say a round 40 million, just to keep things tidy.)

Anybody who is of the opinion that a mere 1.7 million–approximately 3 times the 1918-19 rate–will be in their shrouds is living in Fantasyland. That-all is based on percentage that catches the flu, not the entirety of the U.S. population. Regards, – Ben