Global Resilience Solutions > Category:pandemic

Pandemic Update – May 5/09

Well, we’re into day 11 since the news broke of the H1N1 Swine Flu viral epidemic in Mexico. And it’s been quite a rollercoaster since then, at least for those of us who consult in emergency management!

The best line I’ve heard so far was from a local news broadcaster who was heard to say, “Fear of the pandemic seems to be spreading quite a bit faster than the pandemic itself.”

Thanks largely to the media and occasionally to the odd politician or bureaucrat, people were pretty scared for a few days, at least until a few things became clear:

First, that the Mexican stats on infections and deaths were exaggerated out of the park. Once the lab tests were in, the story was a lot different.

Second, the steadily climbing number of cases in Canada and the USA that clearly has had the public on edge is more the result of labs catching up on their test results than of genuinely new infections. The disease is spreading, but at a rather slow rate.

Third, the disease is barely more serious than the common cold or seasonal influenza. For those of you wondering why all the fatalities have been in Mexico (except for the one Mexican child who died in Texas), the explanation is very likely this:

They didn’t die from the swine flu.

Instead, they died from a secondary bacterial infection of the kind easily contracted in unsanitary living conditions. Combine such bacterial infections with a lack of readily available medical treatment and you’ll definitely get casualties. In fact, this is the reason why the 1918-19 flu killed so many. Those people didn’t die from the flu either, but rather from a strep infection.

Nowadays it’s much easier for us to prevent those bacterial infections or treat them successfully.

So the bottom line is this may not develop into a full blown pandemic. At this point I’d be a little surprised if it did. That doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods, of course, since this virus could come back in the fall for our northern hemisphere flu season.

Just remember – by far the best way to protect yourself is to strengthen your own immune system. Make yourself a really tough target. How?

  • Get regular fresh air and exercise
  • Get regular sun exposure to improve your vitamin D levels
  • Eat right – avoid refined sugar, flour, and all harmful foods
  • Use the world’s best immune-boosting supplements (note, NO www in this address)

  • Meditate – cultivate inner stillness
  • Manage your stress and your emotions
  • Watch the videos I’m sending you over the next week or two

Just follow those steps and you’ll be healthy as a horse. Then, even if you do get sick with any virus, you’ll shake it easliy.

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

On Pandemic Paranoia…

Hi all,

The idea that the Swine Flu epidemic in Mexico will turn into a worldwide pandemic is not totally unfounded. The fear that it will is unfounded and unhelpful.

Now, why should you listen to my take on the current pandemic threat? Well, for one thing, I’m up to my neck involved in preparing for it. You see, part of Warriorship – for me personally, at any rate – is knowing all about and planning for contingencies.

Actually, I’m rather well trained in the whole field of emergency management, including pandemic planning, and I spend part of my time teaching this stuff and building emergency response plans for organizations. As a matter of fact, I’ve been hired to produce a pandemic plan for an organization later this year (though something tells me they may want a draft a little sooner šŸ˜‰

Your worst enemy in any emergency is fear. Fear is a funny thing. The more you deny it, suppress it and refuse to face it, the more it controls you. And fear is an uncomfortable feeling, so we always tend to suppress it. The Warrior approach is to acknowledge your fear, stay present to it and discover that it’s not really such a big monster after all. It’s a bit of a cosmic joke, really.

Will the current epidemic turn into a catastrophic pandemic? I don’t know the answer to that. What I do know (and what you probably don’t) is this: we’re FAR better prepared to meet a threat like this than at any time in history.

How so? Whenever there’s a big emergency now, including pandemics, there’s a whole apparatus throughout all levels of government and including many NGOs that swings into action behind the scenes. Numerous “emergency operations centers” have been activated, pandemic plans pulled off the shelf and supplies readied. The public perception that their government is just bumbling through could not be more mistaken.

Does this mean the politicians and bureaucrats will make the right decisions? Not always. Someone once said the history of the Western world is politicians and bureaucrats doing too little, too late. And there’s lots of truth there, of course.

To be fair, these folks are going to have to make some tough calls in the days and weeks ahead. And, in hindsight, some of these decisions won’t come out smelling like roses. That’s inevitable.

When the SARS outbreak hit Toronto (from Hong Kong) a few years ago, we did a lot of things wrong in our efforts to contain it. And despite the screw-ups, we wrestled SARS to the ground in a matter of weeks.

The fact is, today we have much better early warning, diagnosis, containment measures, command and control, emergency stockpiles, decision-making processes, etc, than we’ve ever had before. Keep in mind that if this current Swine Flu outbreak were happening 100-150 years ago, you still wouldn’t know about it and there wouldn’t be any coordinated international response to it that meant anything. It would be free to spread like wild fire. Not so today.

So what should you do? Get informed. There are a zillion good websites to give you the facts and tell you how to prepare yourself, your family and your workplace. Use those resources.

And beware of the mainstream media. The media are not the unbiased purveyors of facts they fancy themselves to be. The media are collectively an interest group. And they love to sell you a product called “fear” because fear sells. Please don’t fall for it.

Best wishes,

Dr. Symeon Rodger šŸ™‚