Skip to comments.Report details bird flu effects
Posted on 03/23/2007 9:08:03 PM PDT by blam
Posted on Fri, Mar. 23,
Report details bird flu effects
A study by the Trust for America's Health says a pandemic would have serious economic, as well as health, consequences.
BY DAVID GOLDSTEIN
Eagle Washington bureau
WASHINGTON -A major pandemic flu outbreak could kill more than 2 million Americans, leaving 90 million others ill and causing a serious economic recession, a new study says.
The Kansas economy is projected to take a $6 billion hit; Missouri's twice that much.
"Everywhere will be ground zero," said Merideth Parrish, a public health outreach coordinator for the Kansas City (Mo.) Health Department, which is trying to get local businesses to look ahead.
"Everybody will be experiencing shortages, absenteeism, supply and demand disruptions universally at one time," she said. "The effects will trickle down. I don't think business had a big enough grasp of the severity of the impact."
The Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit health advocacy group, said in its report Thursday that the nation could suffer a nearly $700 billion blow to the economy triggered by employee deaths and sickness.
Many businesses could close or be forced to operate with minimal staff, the report said. Demand for goods and services could drop, as could available supplies, and industries could be disrupted.
The study said the gross domestic product -- the total value of all the goods and services that the U.S. produces -- could drop by between 4 and 6 percent. The GDP was valued at $12.4 trillion in 2005.
"A pandemic poses a serious threat to our global economy," said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health. "Businesses, governments, schools and other sectors could all face serious disruptions."
Avian flu has already resulted in 169 deaths in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Scientists have not found evidence that the virus has mutated to allow human-to-human transmission.
Levi said public health scientists generally believe that a pandemic is likely. No vaccine is widely available yet to fully protect humans from avian flu.
The study was based on several public and private analyses of a pandemic's economic impact. It used as a model the 1918 influenza outbreak, which caused 50 million deaths worldwide and 675,000 in this country. The federal government also uses 1918 for its modeling.
The economic impact would result from absenteeism by workers who die, become ill, stay home to treat family members or just stay home out of fear of contracting the flu.
The study said the pandemic could extend over 18 months, with several waves lasting from six to eight weeks.
The federal government and states provide information and advice to industry about preparing for a pandemic. But local business communities are responsible for their own plans.
Richard Morrissey, deputy director of the Division of Health for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said large national corporations, like Sprint and Raytheon, are further along in their planning. Both participated in a symposium on business preparations the state held last spring in Wichita.
"The real difficult impact is on the smallest businesses where you've got a few employees," Morrissey said. "When you have a couple out, how do you continue to operate? We don't have a good answer for those kinds of problems."
The economic fallout would affect most phases of the economy, the study said. It ranked the economic loss to 20 top industries. The hotel and food industries would suffer the biggest hit -- $68 million -- followed by transportation and warehousing, which would lose $61 million.
The outlook could be grim for the entertainment and tourism industries because they involve crowds, the study said. The Congressional Budget Office said in its own analysis that those industries could see business plummet by 80 percent over three months during a pandemic.
The Trust's report said that states where those industries are critical, such asCalifornia, Hawaii, Florida, Vermont, Mississippi and Nevada, could be in for a rough ride.
The report is available at http://healthyamericans.org/reports/flurecession.
Reach David Goldstein at 202-383-6105 or email@example.com
NEWS FLASH: No one gets outa here alive!
Yup. They still seem to be proceeding full speed ahead but without the original hysteria. Most people have lost interest...it seems.
Some interesting discussion on fluwiki about lack of interest; maybe it's a lack of reporting?
Ping.. (Thanks, blam!)
However, the planning, etc., going on is a dual use thing which may work in the event of biological attack.
I did note the reference to 'our' global economy, meaning the US in particular, but not taking into account that similar or even worse disruptions would occur in other countries as well.
I may be reading too much into that turn of phrase, but the exclusion seems to indicate an anticipation of a contagious and commonly fatal disease which affects the US more so than elsewhere, as if in anticipation of biological attack.
One of the areas which has been woefully ignored for years in the field of Emergency Management is planning and training. Thankfully that seems to be changing since most of the Fed and State funding is being tied to measurable training goals.
Don't be surprised to see lots of this going on in your area in the upcoming 18 months or so.
Something tells they're hoping for some disaster to thin the population out.
The only ones wishing that way are the environmentalists. Their vehicle is the much more telegenic morality play of gorebal warming, not some nasty and painful means - like pandemic disease - where you end your miserable days dying isolated, suffocating in your own blood.
According to the 'experts' in a number of fields, we're due or overdue for some catastrophist event: pandemic, supervolcano, major earthquake, asteroid impact and now we have human provoked catastrophic possibilities. So...
The recent earthquake/tsunami in Indonesia and the effects of Katrina have reminded TPTB that unexpected 'sh.. happens.'
Global warming crises are the scourge of the mongers in winter; now flu crises are going to fill the lazy, hazy days of summer?
Do these Pandoric Pimps ever sleep?
The enemy is going to launch a battalion of Bird Flu Bonnies?
If you own a vacant house, keep the lights on and a No Trespassing sign in the yard.
Quarrantine, restricted travel, high mortality, insufficient medical care/infrastructure/supplies, and the complications of as few as just one out of 10 people dropping dead are tough to plan for, but the same plans generally would work for a natural pandemic (even though the weaponized strains would likely be far more deadly).
The birds seem to be as annoying as ever for this time of year. I haven't heard if the University is interviewing more birds this year. They came up zero for 20,000 last year.
I'm not sure why you gave me this advice, but it is sound. So if I ever find myself owning a vacant house I shall indeed adhere to it.
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