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Author: LorenCobb Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Top Recommended Fools Feste Award Nominee! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 148  
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/11/2012 10:46 AM
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6: Even if it did mutate though, the rate of infection would already have been slowed down by the reduction in population and travel, so the mutated viruses (virusii?) wouldn't get a lot of traction. True?

The rate of mutation for influenza does not change very much (if at all) over time, and it would not be changed by "reduction in population" or travel.

Even a truly terrible pandemic would only kill perhaps 100 million people over a two or three year period; that's not enough to affect the rate of mutation. In some notable cases the rate of mutation is fastest in tiny populations, so the effect of population size is not simple.

Travel would of course be curtailed, both voluntarily and by government-imposed restrictions. This would slow down the spread of disease (and mutations), unless birds were involved as well.

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