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DoD Declassifies Flu Pandemic Plan Containing Sobering Assumptions 337

Posted by samzenpus
from the what's-the-plan dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Department of Defense has just declassified a copy of its 2009 Concept of Operations Plan for an Influenza Pandemic. Among the Plan's scary yet reasonable assumptions are that in the United States, such a pandemic will kill 2 percent of the infected population, or about 2 million people. The plan also assumes that a vaccine won't be available for at least 4 to 6 months after confirmation of sustained human transmission, and that the weekly vaccine manufacturing capability will only produce 1 percent of the total US vaccine required. State and local governments will be overwhelmed, and civilian mortuary operations will require military augmentation. Measures such as limiting public gatherings, closing schools, social distancing, protective sequestration and masking will be required to limit transmission and reduce illness and death. International and interstate transportation will be restricted to contain the spread of the virus. If a pandemic starts outside the US, it will enter the country at multiple locations and spread quickly to other parts of the country. A related document, CONPLAN 3591-09, was released by DoD in 2010."
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DoD Declassifies Flu Pandemic Plan Containing Sobering Assumptions

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  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday September 16, 2013 @10:38AM (#44863185) Homepage

    The last great US flu epidemic only killed so many because of the crude state of medicine at the time and uneven sanitation in large U.S. cities. Even a virulent flu would be unlikely to rack up such a death toll in a first world nation.

    That's correct. Instead of a 3-5% mortality rate [wikipedia.org] they're expecting a 2% (TFA) rate.

    Progress as promised!

  • by bmo (77928) on Monday September 16, 2013 @10:53AM (#44863351)

    World Population > The Infected Population.

    The article is calling out a 2% mortality rate for the infected population, not the population of the world.

    This is far less than the 3-5 percent mortality of the world population seen during the 1918 pandemic.

    --
    BMO

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:05AM (#44863463)

    "The first priority of DOD support in the event of a PI is [REDACTED]".

    They're the military. It's redacted because it's not politically fashionable to say what they'd have to do, but put yourself in their shoes and it's obvious: Protect key government officials by evacuating them in secret while reassuring the public everything is fine and they haven't been disappeared and are now in a secret bunker somewhere.

    Military thinking on this is obvious to the point of being painful: You have to coordinate your response to the crisis, and that means first securing your chain of command, then securing communications, then securing your chain of supplies, and then finally deploying resources into the field to secure key assets.

    That's the response plan because that's what the situation dictates. You don't need a security clearance to figure this out... but confirming that's what they would do could complicate those efforts by a panic'd populace. And that's why it's classified. It's not because they're "up to something", it's because sometimes a little knowledge is a bad thing.

    It's like the Joker said; "You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan.' Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all 'part of the plan'. But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!"

    Chew on that awhile when you're wondering next time why the government classifies so many things; It's not because they're up to no good... it's because people are fucking stupid, and they panic at nothing. The whole point of the government during a crisis is to keep people separated and not in large groups where panic and hysteria can take over. Any crisis. It just so happens, it's a particularly good idea during a pandemic.

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:05AM (#44863465)

    I guess all the Preppers will have the last laugh as they eat their freeze dried food in their bunkers, with gun in lap, waiting for vaccine to become available.

    I believe Mr. Poe already addressed that issue: The Masque of the Red Death [wikipedia.org].

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:07AM (#44863483)

    but the Pandemic of 1918 killed over 90% of the population

    Umm, no.

    The 1918 pandemic killed 10-20% of the people infected.

    Note that that particular flu infected ~25% of the world's population.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:13AM (#44863523)

    To further support your statement:

    The global mortality rate from the 1918/1919 pandemic is not known, but an estimated 10% to 20% of those who were infected died. With about a third of the world population infected, this case-fatality ratio means 3% to 6% of the entire global population died.[29] Influenza may have killed as many as 25 million people in its first 25 weeks. Older estimates say it killed 40–50 million people,[4] while current estimates say 50–100 million people worldwide were killed.[30]

  • Do you really think those twinks are a substantial percentage even of the prepper population? Realize that from a certain standpoint, Mormons are preppers, and they use vaccines [lds.org]. I don't think that the anti-vaxxer religious prepper types are really that big a blip. If you're sure god will take you, you don't need supplies for the rapture.

    On the contrary, many if not most prepper sites include notes on which animal antibiotics you can safely use — you can get them over the counter.

  • by EmperorArthur (1113223) on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:38AM (#44863769)

    Yeah, I'll bet it's "Put dissidents in FEMA internment camps." Just like in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

    More seriously. While you're probably correct, classifying things for political reasons is almost always a bad thing. This kind of mindset, that normal people can't handle the truth, is what leads to an unaccountable government. Government accountability can only happen with transparency.

  • by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Monday September 16, 2013 @12:11PM (#44864063)

    In the case of a real pandemic on such a scale, I think you'd see labs working around the clock for a cure, and many of them. Not only would governments be putting a lot of pressure, the people working there would very likely feel the pain themselves (relatives, friends, etc.). Plus, for all the money grubbers, making a vaccine that needs to be used on millions of people is a surefire way of getting rich.

    It's not labs though, it's raw materials. There's only so many chickens and chicken eggs you can get to grow vaccine from, it can only be done so fast and there's a definite lag in converting existing production lines to create a new vaccine (since everything has to be isolated and grown up).

  • by chooks (71012) on Monday September 16, 2013 @12:16PM (#44864109)

    with a very short incubation period.

    You actually want a long incubation period so that the infected stay symptomless (but infective) for as long as possible. If the symptoms are severe and the incubation time short (e.g. flaviviridae like marburg or ebola) they kill the host before they have time to infect enough people. In essence, the virus is *too* virulent that it goes through the available susceptible people too quickly.

    More deadly would be a virus that has is lethal but does not show symptoms for a period that exceeds its infective period. A good example is the early years of the HIV era -- lethal virus, long time before symptoms start, and infectious much earlier than any symptoms start to show up.

  • by Jeff Flanagan (2981883) on Monday September 16, 2013 @12:34PM (#44864273)
    The particularly bad ones are specifically bad for healthy adults with a non-compromised immune systems, so let's stop pretending that a healthy immune system protects against dangerous flu variants. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine_storm [wikipedia.org]
  • Really ??

    http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/ [cdc.gov]

    Rabies is a preventable viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. The vast majority of rabies cases reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year occur in wild animals like raccoons, skunks, bats, and foxes.

    The rabies virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing disease in the brain and death. The early symptoms of rabies in people are similar to that of many other illnesses, including fever, headache, and general weakness or discomfort. As the disease progresses, more specific symptoms appear and may include insomnia, anxiety, confusion, slight or partial paralysis, excitation, hallucinations, agitation, hypersalivation (increase in saliva), difficulty swallowing, and hydrophobia (fear of water). Death usually occurs within days of the onset of these symptoms.

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