The flu was most deadly for people ages 20 to 40. This pattern of morbidity was unusual for influenza which is usually a killer of the elderly and young children. It infected 28% of all Americans (Tice). An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war. Of the U.S. soldiers who died in Europe, half of them fell to the influenza virus and not to the enemy (Deseret News). An estimated 43,000 servicemen mobilized for WWI died of influenza (Crosby). 1918 would go down as unforgettable year of suffering and death and yet of peace.
1) Tourism – less travel happens when these global virus alerts are in play – local economy impacted.
2) This swine flu virus could be the worldwide pandemic that WHO has talked about for sometime. The Spanish Flu early last century killed 40 million people.
3) Less people heading overseas keeps people here in NZ and they maybe buy a house.
4) Fear convinces people to head back to NZ – a shame the virus may already be here.
5) People tend to stay indoors and avoid contact of at all possible – so less economic activity.
This is going to be terrible for the entire world economy and could be far worse than we can imagine at this stage. People will not travel, they will stop spending money and this is going to put the brakes on an already stalled global economy.
Here is some research by the NZ Medical Journal of the possible impact of a pandemic outbreak:
“For incidence rates in the 15% to 35% range for the first pandemic wave, the modelling results give a range of 1600 to 3700 deaths attributable to pandemic influenza. The estimated range of hospitalisations was between 6900 and 16,200. The estimated number of cases of illness requiring medical consultation ranged from 325,000 to 759,000. For the peak week of an 8-week epidemic (35% incidence scenario), it was estimated that 42% of all public hospital beds would be required at least for some proportion of the week and that the average general practitioner would be consulted by around 80 people with influenza.”
For New Zealand, this scenario comprises:
* one or more waves of influenza;
* each lasting around eight weeks;
* infecting up to 40 per cent of the population;
* with a further 40 per cent of the population absent from work;
* killing two per cent of infected people (33,000 deaths, compared with upwards of 100 deaths per year from seasonal influenza; Ministry of Health, 2005).
Now if that is not evidence that the Government should be acting urgently re the Rangitoto School kids then I don’t know what is!
What’s the difference between bird flu and swine flu? – Swine flu is already transferring between humans rather than between animals and humans.