Swine Flu – We’re all (NOT) Gonna Die Man!

STOP IT! Just STOP IT damnit. No, we are all NOT going to die from Swine Flu. Sheesh.

“The biggest question is this — how severe will the pandemic be, especially now at the start,” Chan said. “It really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.”

True, the definition of pandemic is:

pandemic: an epidemic that is geographically widespread; occurring throughout a region or even throughout the world

Yet that could describe the popularity of Heidi Montag as well as the spread of Swine Flu (hat tip to the Jewish & Muslim Political correctness police). Even the Governor is fundraising excited.

protect-yourself-firestorm-flu-webinarSo what are the facts about Swine Flu? I attended an informative webinar about swine flu from Firestorm today. Some highlights are:

Dr. Stephen Cunnion explains Swine Flu:

  1. The swine flu is not transmitted by eating pork. People catch the flu from other people passing the germs.
  2. The first reported case was on March 22nd. The gestation of the influenza virus can be up to a week long so we still don’t have exact facts and figures.
  3. The flu virus is the number one cause for lack of productivity for companies any given year.
  4. The BEST WAY to avoid contracting the Flu is the use of Hand Sanitizers and the avoidance of super crowded places.

How is the Flu transmitted?

  1. Directly via human to human contact, droplet or airborne contact
  2. Indirectly via objects handled by someone who has contracted the flu

So how is this swine flu thing going to play out. A few predictions about the Swine Flu / H1N1 flu in the US. I shouldn’t call these a prediction, this is more of how I see things possibly playing out in a “best and worst case” scenario.

End game: It is a new virus. It is here permanently. People get used to it and live with it. We just have to make it to September when a new vaccine is produced. In the meantime the virus responds to treatment and regular flu prevention tactics.

Short Term Media Panic:

  1. Media hysteria leads to –
    1. shut all schools in the USA and we all stay home.
    2. NBA, MLB, NFL all play to empty stadiums
    3. NYC subways shut down, the American (wasteful/isolated) car rules
  2. Many small businesses shut down because nobody is working. Worsening the depression recession. (when can we call it a depression?)
  3. Businesses can’t pay people because, well, they don’t have any money at this point.
  4. Employees call the office and say “um…. can we get some cash?”
    1. Management calls the White House for a bail out.
    2. White house says “no, we gave it all to the bankers and a pittance to the car guys who can’t negotiate a contract and we’re broke. Ooops.”
  5. Everyone realizes that they need to go back to work. But there are no customers.
  6. Employees, white collar included, come back with partial telecommute schedules.
    1. Most work hourly because there isn’t enough work for salary.
    2. Hourly wage works against self-containment of infected workers as there is no “sick time” so they have a monetary incentive to come to work even if sick. Irony.
  7. You can’t buy a surgical or painters mask anywhere
    1. Western Stores sell out of handkerchiefs
  8. Bleach gets very popular (a dangerous chemical, some will injure themselves with it)
  9. Pig farmers go out of business and religious nuts gets all old-testament righteous about it.
  10. Purell, the maker of sanitizers gets very popular / stock goes up
  11. Density of housing goes up with families moving in together to cut costs even though this spreads disease faster.
  12. Community unlicensed child care facilities form on an ad-hoc basis. Mary covers Tues, Thur. Bob covers the kids Mon, Wed, Fri. etc…
    1. Neighbors helping neighbors.
    2. Untrained unlicensed facilities means accidents will happen that are not related to the flu.
  13. Home schooling goes up.
  14. Abandonment of marginal properties by upside-down home owners skyrockets, particularly in dense North Eastern cities
    1. Or alternatively this may not happen as banks may not bother to kick out foreclosures or tenants because there is no market for upside down houses.
  15. Victory gardens in the backyard are very popular. Seeds sell out, but few know how to garden anymore.
    1. Community gardens
    2. Web tutorials on gardening become popular.
    3. Theft of community vegetables as is typical of the tragedy of the commons.
  16. UPS, FedEX and the USPS all see a surge in business. Drivers paid a premium.
  17. Amazon.com has huge success selling books, videos, anything that fills time for a family trapped at home!
  18. Wall mounted hand sanitizers sell out, only to find you can’t buy refills for them.
  19. The Internet slows to a crawl with the increase in throughput from telecommuters
  20. Local Internet Service Providers force through variable pricing on bandwidth with public consent because everyone wants the network to run faster.
  21. Gun stores have an increase in sales, with all customers entering and exiting the store wearing masks. Really.
  22. Hard alcohol and beer sales up, wine sales drop based on discretionary spending priority. More bang for the shot with the hard stuff.
  23. Gas prices drop – with no place to go demand side of equation drops, at least until the fall of 2009 when oil and natural gas go up with more people staying home.
  24. Home safe sales increase. Gun safes as well.
  25. Debit card use increases so people can avoid touching cash and physical artifacts of money.
  26. The virus reveals itself to have genetic targeting factors meaning different races have different fatality rates.
  27. Increase in religious activity, but perhaps a drop in mass/service attendance
  28. Cruises see a huge drop in use, advertise guest/square foot ratios to emphasize separation. Heat detectors throughout the ship to measure body temperature.
  29. Blogging increases, facebook increases as people have time on their hands. Short term.
  30. Tamiflu and Relenza sell out because it is safer for docs to prescribe those if they are unsure of what a patient has, and it takes 3 to 5 days to get the test results back

What can you do now?

  1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A WRITTEN FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN. And have distributed it.
  2. Antibacterial Soap – buy it. Purell is sold out, but hand sanitizers are not as good as actually washing your hands anyway.
  3. Bleach – buy it. Best sanitizer/cleaner ever. And cheap. Just be careful with it.
  4. Facemasks – questionable if these work, but if you go to the mall and EVERYONE is wearing one, social pressure says you will want one. Handkerchiefs will do.