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Biotech Government United States

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 Anonymous Coward on Monday September 16, 2013 @09:28AM (#44863057)
    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.
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday September 16, 2013 @09:34AM (#44863129)

    I don't find this scary at all. It's the reality of the world we live in. What would be scary is if the people in charge of managing such a crisis didn't have a plan, and instead choose to stick their fingers in their ears and sing "glory glory halleluja" while the country died. Literally. Why do people always seem to think things like this are "scary"? That kind of attitude is what creates truly scary situations: The kind nobody was prepared for and is now ravaging the population unchecked. That is scary. A plan... that's reassuring.

    Or maybe I'm just from some bizarro alternate universe where being prepared is frightening and living in ignorance is bliss.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Monday September 16, 2013 @09:41AM (#44863213) Homepage

    What I find scary is the TFA:

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

    OK guys, just what exactly are you up to?

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Monday September 16, 2013 @09:44AM (#44863249)

    I don't find this scary at all. It's the reality of the world we live in. What would be scary is if the people in charge of managing such a crisis didn't have a plan, and instead choose to stick their fingers in their ears and sing "glory glory halleluja" while the country died. Literally. Why do people always seem to think things like this are "scary"? That kind of attitude is what creates truly scary situations: The kind nobody was prepared for and is now ravaging the population unchecked. That is scary. A plan... that's reassuring.

    Or maybe I'm just from some bizarro alternate universe where being prepared is frightening and living in ignorance is bliss.

    Luckily there is a large number of people that do work on and plan for such situations. The CDC, National Guard, FEMA, and even state and local emergency management departments. The good thing is that the same basic response is needed for most types of disasters; only a few details differ (containment of pathogen, isolation of infected people, etc). They still have to manage crowd control, logistics and evacuations, etc. The biggest problem isn't the government freaking out and not doing anything. The bigger danger is the general population freaking out and killing other people over things like food or gasoline, even if the pandemic is relatively short-lived. People scare easily, and when people can't go outside or interact with others in person they will flock to the internet, where fear and misinformation would spread faster than the actual virus would. THe government's response doesn't scare me; they train and plan for this all the time. Everyone else's reaction is what scares me.

  • Re:Wasted time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Monday September 16, 2013 @09:57AM (#44863371) Homepage

    Actually, the 2011 Steven Soderbergh movie Contagion [imdb.com] is a fairly realistic depiction of a pandemic and the reaction in the US and around the world. Well-researched, keeps the fearmongering to a minimum while still depicting a scary scenario. Takes into account the role of fringe media in spreading panic/pseudoscientific "cures," among other clever touches. A public health organization arranged for a free screening in my area, with a Q&A period afterward, if that gives you any indication of its accuracy.

  • by Electricity Likes Me (1098643) on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:09AM (#44864049)

    More sadly is that you are comparing a flu pandemic to a fictional zombie problem which hasn't and most likely never will.

    Why is that sad? While a zombie apocalypse will likely never happen, it's still a useful model for studying how diseases spread. Whether it's spread by bite or by some other method, the net effect is still the same. Besides, some diseases are spread by bite.

    The difference being that a zombie apocalypse is presumed to have infected as hostile-actors who have to be murdered, not victims who need to quarantined but will most likely survive if treated.

    Although now I'm thinking it would be a hell of a thing to make a movie where the zombie-virus worked that way, since that would wind up being a fairly accurate model of armed-crazy people during a flu pandemic.

  • by undeadbill (2490070) on Monday September 16, 2013 @11:18AM (#44864129)

    You do understand that the idea of prepping for a zombie apocalypse is an allegorical exercise, right? The biggest danger during any large scale disaster isn't the disaster itself, but in how masses of people react to it.

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