Sunday, May 24, 2009

Pandemic Preparation

Does a 90 Day Supply Make Sense?

Actually, I believe the folks advocating laying in a 90+ day supply of goods are not being very realistic. From the reading I have been doing, is less that the supplies will be gone (that would be I think a more appropriate worry), but rather that we should choose to live in isolation for 90 days or more to escape the pandemic. Now that is downright stupid. I don't know too many people who could afford to take 90 days off work. Further, the pandemic likely would last 12-18 months. That is one heck of a long time to live in isolation and an awfully long time to pay rent out of savings...

However, the State of Idaho is officially advocating laying in a 90 day supply for a variety of reasons. I don't know what I would think if I lived in Idaho and this brochure was slipped under my door. Maybe, I would think the State Government would be leaving town once the pandemic started!

If you are so inclined, you can in fact order a 90 day food supply for $250 US. It is all freeze dried and there are only 5 different meals (this is the cheapest, basic supply), but if it gives you peace of mind.... Go Here :)

What about the Vaccine?

A recent short article in Scientific American Mind looked at the following question: suppose you have a 5 percent chance of dying from a flu vaccine but a 10 percent chance of contracting and dying of the flu when an epidemic strikes. Do you take the flu shot? Surprisingly often, people do not. (See "Flu Math," By Dennis E. Shasha , Scientific American, Nov. 2006).

Which risk will you be taking? What will you do when the flu vaccine comes out? Will you be lining up to take it? Do you remember what happened the last time the US govt rushed out a vaccine to stave off a flu pandemic? In 1977 the US government ordered vaccination of the US population against a variant of Swine flu which they thought had a potential for pandemic. There was a great uproar over potential side effects and there were at least 500 people who may have died from Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) caused by the vaccine. Only 33% of the population chose to have the vaccination.


  1. By the Grace of God, we have not had any Swine Flu occurrences in South Africa yet, so I am watching what the other contries are doing with interest. I agree that one should be pro-active in such a situation, but living in isolation for 90+ days seems a bit much to me. How do you decide when to go into isolation? Forgive me if I sound callous about the situation or stupid in by question, but I seriously do not understand the situation yet.

  2. I've eaten that Mountain House freeze-dried food when camping. It's actually pretty good, though eating it for 90 days straight might get a little tiring...

    On the plus side, since I work from home, my chances of getting Swine Flu, should it worsen, are still pretty low. :)


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