Bird Flu

All I know is I’m waiting to be one of the 5% to survive so I can gather in Boulder, Colorado with an old black woman and Rob Lowe so I can fight Randall Flagg.

I would thing that basic health care - hell, some aspirin - decently improves your chances for surviving something. Consider all those nasty little things that people die of in Africa and Asia that we don’t give a hoot about in the US (malaria? We can handle it). Now, I’d wonder what the fatality rate would be for those who receive the best treatment possible, and those who receive none.

Translate to a population level. 2% of 10 million is 100 000 people. 6 billion? That’d be 120-360 million dead people and countless more sick and incapacitated for long periods of time.

60% of the population getting sick means you have statistically a chance overall of 40% not being sick, but statistics don’t take into account a lot of factors, like where the sick people are distributed. Therefore your odds can diminish rather rapidly depending on a variety of circumstances.

Now put that into the context you have thousands of sick panicky people rushing every medical facility available for treatment. You’re not going to get treatment if you are sick. The system will collapse.

As I pointed out, no.

Meningitis is farily simple treat, a lot harder to acquire and doesn’t lead to pandemics killing millions.

That is true.

No, they are.

Curtis: money would enhance your odds of survival. The odds are, you’d be a lot more likely to get the kind of access to the extremely limited medical care available under those conditions. The only new world that would arise from this kind of doom would be composed of individuals that would take advantage of others fears for their own purposes and push forward their agendas with their newfound political power. We’d see extremism like we always do and this would be driven by anything from divine convictions to innate desires to survive. The kind of political destabilization could under some scenarios lead to things like nuclear weapons falling into the hands of some very unfortunate individuals, precipitating several countries into wars. All I need to do is point to the black plague and the kind of religious zealotry it led to.

That’s fucking disgusting. I sincerely hope one day you grow the fuck up and gain an appreciation for life. Calling a worldwide epidemic romantic isn’t edgy or cool, it just makes you look like an immature prick.

I never said it would be idyllic or a paradise or a utopia. I said it would be romantic, at least on an individual level, and I am rarely concerned about anything past this. It would be all the Ingrid Bergmans of the world leaving on all planes at once. Or atleast the threat of it, I guess. Understand that I am not a mad scientist working in my lab to discover this new strain of flu, but if it comes, I’m not going to cry “unfair” or something.

This isn’t Narcissus and Goldmund where the main character emerges from tragedy all around him having learned more about himself, this is about how people die in ugly, horribly ways, and no good comes of it.

Actually, just from a historical point of view, the Black Death (which is depicted in N&G) was one of the most important events leading to the modern world, whether you think that’s good or not I guess depends on the individual. But if you like things like democracy and the various fruits of now, the plague was a huge boost in that direction. And you can’t really be telling me that the survivors of this hypothetical flu wouldn’t wake up with a renewed sense of life.

The scenario of a mutating bird flu is indeed absolutely frightening, and it’s definitely not something that we should take too lightly.

But even so, I’m trying to be a bit optimistic about this whole thing and hope that it can be beaten back. It’s not like scientists are just sitting there thwiddling their thumbs waiting for things to happen. There’s medical researchers here in Sweden for example, working hard to study the disease and try to find a way to properly treat or defend against it.

Also, wasn’t there something weird about the birds flying to Africa for the winter? I think I heard that they couldn’t find any diseased birds among those. Now, I’m not saying that this means there isn’t a danger, and I may be wrong anyway - it may just mean that most of the sick birds died in Europe.

The black death was one of the most important events that retarded the development of western medieval society. The only renewed sense of life people had is an irrational fear of the problem and what they perceived as its cause. People in medieval society were not noble savages and neither are they noble savages now. Fear and lack of understanding are a very bad combination in people and lead to all kinds of extreme behavior, like religious fundamentalism.

You could argue that it led to European superiority, since it taught the survivors to be super-efficient and creative, in order to survive(it killed almost 1/2 of Europe).

It didn’t teach them anything other than to GTFO when rats fell from the ceiling (the black plague is spread by fleas, the rats carried them into the houses of people that got infected). In other words, it was in no way an act of selection for a clearly superior populace.

As far as I recall, they didn’t figure out it was the rats until much, much later. At the time they blamed jews and strangers for poisoning the wells.

Also, I really fail to see what would be so romantic about a second black plague. Good grief, what are you thinking with? Sure it may be a good thing in the long run (overpopulance of the world and all), but if it happens it’ll be <I>us</I> living through it, or very possibly dying along the way. I quite enjoy life, thank you.

The Black Death changed the medieval economy and social structures in general in a very big way, generally leading to greater social mobility for the peasents, but also allowing non-noble landowners to compete with the nobility in business, setting the stage for modern capitalism. Because there were fewer people to work the fields, the peasent class started gaining considerable power. etc.

I don’t think that it was a process of selection. Who caught the plague was generally random(though, ironically, do-gooders who helped those with the plague or took the time to actually bury dead bodies had more of a chance to get it). What I do think is the survivors had to be really efficient and innovative after the plague was over, to rebuild their society. Also, it didn’t necessarily raise religion. There was also a lot of nihilism that went on - “today we will eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we shall die.”

To stretch this argument a bit, if only a few thousand people survived from a catastrophe, there’d be quite the room for social mobility.I’m not trying to put words in your mouth here. Just saying that keeping in mind the price of these changes is a good idea. Not to mention that such an event could lead to unwanted changes as well (as Sin highlighted) and that it wouldn’t be much fun having these deaths all around the place.

(edit:To Sil’s argument)

I’m still not seeing your math. If I only have an 80% chance of getting sick, adding up because I live in a city, and even take the high end at a 10% fatality rate, that’s still higher than 90% survival chance. It’s an 8% overall chance of death from the disease.

Yes, but I acquired it and was not treated for it even remotely as I should have been, since I kind adidn’t tell anybody I was sick until it was obvious I was more-than-usual sick, and my odds of that were much less than 90%, given the circumstances in my particular case. I should’ve made that more clear, that I didn’t mean menigitis was a world-killer like this, just that it was probably more deadly, in terms of fatality chance, given my situation.

Sil: Dude, I don’t even know where to start. I guess it would be romantic in the sense that it polarized to an extreme, in the snese that Hitler was a romantic leader. Just like him, it would polarize to the extreme of Bad, though. If you meant romantic in the more traditional sense of a daring adventure that’s been elefvated to quasi-mythical proportions, I’m with those who said that that’s fucking sick.

You have a flawed understanding of how diseases work. When you get meningitis or the flu or any kind of disease, not only can different organisms give rise to specific kinds of problems like bacteria and viruses and fungi can lead to meningitis, different organisms within 1 group can lead to varying degrees of disease, like the different flu viruses.

Furthermore, modern medicine can give people a false sense of security like the one you’re showing. People can survive stuff like SARS and the bird flu in part because of that, but despite that survival, people can require tremendous amounts of highly limited and sophisticated care to survive. It 'll just take time. Furthermore, there are a variety of factors that can make it so people get more or less sick and these aren’t predictable. They depend on genetics and environmental interactions. However, nevertheless, some people get lucky and others don’t. That’s why some people survive and others don’t. Like you.

Saying something like 10% will die firstly is HUGE and we need to put this into the context that this is a specific organism and not a small rarety in a larger population of diseases that can lead to very bad consequences. And its not just 10% that die but the many more that are severely incapacitated under such circumstances.

I’m still now understanding how, however disaeses work, if it has a 10% fatality, and 80% of people get it, how it is killing more than 8% of the population. I’m aware it’s not a dice roll, it’s whether or not you have certain traits, genetically, that would give you resistance, but I’d say then there’s still the set of odds of if you ended up with those traits are not. Unless you’re saying this disease will be different in that it will alter the survival chances, there is no way for the math, as given to work out. If you’re saying it will end up causing greater than 10% fatality rate/greater than 80% rate of infection, that is entirely different and I’m sorry for the misunderstanding. Or, if you’re saying a fatality rate doesn’t exactly equal survival chances, since it’s an estimate/flawed statistic, I’m aware of that, but it would give a fair estimate, which is better than nothing.

I never received any form of hospital treatment for my menigitis, other than bedrest and monitoring after the worst of it was already over. My ‘highly sophisticated treatment’ was staying as cold as I could to stop the fevre. Anyway, that really isn’t on topic, I’m just generally pretty proud of it.

The thing is, you’re taking everything I’m saying out of context.

I wasn’t saying that meningitis requried sophisticated treatment. I was talking about stuff like SARS.

And to answer your other comment: “Saying something like 10% will die firstly is HUGE and we need to put this into the context that this is a specific organism and not a small rarety in a larger population of diseases that can lead to very bad consequences. And its not just 10% that die but the many MANY more that are severely incapacitated under such circumstances”.

There are massive sociological consequences to these kinds of things happening, not just from those that died but from those that got sick and from the behavior of those that survived or those that don’t want to get sick. This is what I keep talking about throughout this thread. When I say 22% of the population of Fiji died in 14 days, that’s unheard of. It is insane. It is HUGE. Towns of people die. People and society will not look at 10-20% of the population dying passively. All of these deaths won’t be evenly distributed either. Thus some villages will be spared and others won’t be but irregardless of that people will react adversely , to use a euphemism.

Yeah. But the whole thing seems so unreal. I still can’t imagine it happening in our modern world.

And then the next apoclypse comes, and the phone crazies make brunch out of you!

Jackie Chan reminds me on TV every day to not play with sick or dead birds. Everything will be just fine.

lol XD