In a few previous posts, I’ve been cautioning everyone about the possibility of an epidemic, or even a pandemic, caused by a new bird flu virus: H7N9. See my posts: The Latest Bird Flu Threat: H7N9 and Update on the Bird Flu Threat. Am I exaggerating the danger? Not really. The World Health Organization is saying this virus poses a serious threat. The CDC admits that this version of the flu has the potential to become a pandemic. According to the WHO, so far there are 131 confirmed cases and 36 fatalities, for a fatality rate of 27%.
So far, the virus has not spread widely enough to cause an outbreak. There are a limited number of sporadic cases. But if the virus spreads widely, the result could be very serious. The 1918 Spanish flu killed tens of millions of persons worldwide, with an overall fatality rate estimated at between 10 and 20% (Wikipedia). The H7N9 bird flu has a higher fatality rate than the Spanish Flu, which killed 50 to 100 million persons.
Now for the bad news. A worse virus is threatening the world. It is a corona-type virus, like the SARS virus not so many years ago. It began in the Middle East, so it is being called “Middle East respiratory syndrome Corona Virus” or MERS-CoV for short. So far there have been 49 confirmed cases and 27 deaths, for a fatality rate of over 55%. Fifty-five percent of all persons infected have died. For vulnerable segments of the population, the rate would be even higher. The fatality rate of the bubonic plague, if an outbreak were to occur today, is estimated at about 24%. And please take note of the fact that, when there are only a few cases of a disease, the individuals can all receive intensive medical treatment at hospitals. But if a pandemic strikes, there will not be enough hospital resources. So the fatality rate will climb if the number of cases becomes very high. This New SARS-like virus is a ‘threat to the entire world’.
In my humble opinion, a global pandemic is one of the most likely severe disaster scenarios. SHTF is too mild a term. TEOTWAWKI.