Permanent Human Settlement of the Earth, Space and Ocean Frontiers

Sunday, January 08, 2006

One Step Ahead of The 21st Century Plague

H5N1 is scaring the pants off everybody, it seems. And for good reason. That is the scientific code name for the biggest potential killer since the black plague of 14th Century Europe – also known as ‘Avian Flu”. Okay, I know it would be easy to pin the label of “extremist” on me, but remember, THIS particular offering is just a repeat of a statement from the United States Government released two days ago from the Department of Homeland Security in Washington DC. Here is how Fox New summarized it, quote:

“The HHS on Friday issued a checklist that calls on individuals to plan for transportation disruptions as well as work and school closings. It also calls on households to store supplies of nonperishable food, water, and medicines for use in the event of an outbreak.”

You can download the entire government document from the Whitehouse on PDF by clicking here.

Now the short story. What are they talking about? The theory of survival in a global pandemic is surprisingly easy to understand – but surprisingly difficult to actually implement. It is a simple strategy called, “distancing”. It means, get out of the stream of humanity. Stay at home with your doors closed and locked and do not leave the house or answer the door for anyone at any time until the pandemic subsides. How long would a decent “distancing” strategy take? From the first announcement of the outbreak till the all clear – from two to three months on the first wave, and from two to three months on the second wave (global pandemics in the past have always come in two or even three waves). The good news is that the theory of survival is incredibly easy to understand - stay home. The bad news is that you have to have already stockpiled your food and water and medicines before it actually begins. Further, there could be interruptions in power and heating fuels, so you may need to stockpile those too. Also, most bosses are not so happy about six months or so of called in sick-days. Yes, you can definitely stay alive when Super Chicken flies in – but it won’t be easy to implement.