Pale Wire (Popscene)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Quoth the avian, "Nevermore."
Deep into the darkness peering, long we stood there, wondering, fearing


Yesterday the economists at investment bank BMO Nesbitt Burns released their best guess on what an avian flu pandemic would look like (full report). Travel and tourism business would plummet, as would the demand for "nonessential services." We'd experience something called "social distancing." World GDP growth would slow somewhere between 2 and 6 percentage points, depending on the severity of the outbreak. And government and health care services would likely be run beyond "surge capacity."

On the upside, there's this:
It is important to remember that even with a severe pandemic, roughly 99% of the world’s population will survive. Borders will reopen and the free flow of goods, services and people will recommence. The global economy will survive the hit, and business and governments will learn many lessons.

On the downside, there's this: If we use the U.S. Census estimates as a starting point (link), that's 65 million dead people. I'm not really sure what the report means, but that number certainly makes this projection feel truthy.
Death management is crucial, but likely inadequate.

There's an aphorism for you.

For background information on avian flu and the potential for an outbreak, check the CDC's official page.