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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 106  
Subject: Contagion Date: 8/30/2012 4:16 PM
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Saw this on HBO recently. Wondering what folks thought of it. It strikes this non-expert as a fairly realistic portrayal of how quickly a disease like that could spread, and how the public (and authorities) might react to it. Looting, rioting, conspiracy theories, etc.

One thing I wasn't sure about, though, is whether the authorities themselves might crumble (after all, they are made up of people who would have to be willing to go to work and keep things going instead of hunkering down with canned goods and butane camp stoves). Something so virulent I could see causing governments to collapse.

1poorguy
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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: 55 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 8/31/2012 6:36 PM
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I don't get HBO, so I was unaware that this movie even existed. I will try to see it somehow, maybe via Netflix.

There was an earlier made-for-TV movie that aired on ABC in 2006, under the name "Fatal Contact". I wrote a critical analysis here:

http://boards.fool.com/abc-movie-fatal-contact-24084354.aspx...

Loren

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 57 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 8/31/2012 6:41 PM
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Oops...replied to your Fatal Contact post.

http://boards.fool.com/yes-netflix-seems-to-have-it-also-302...

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 59 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/5/2012 7:08 PM
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I actually liked Contagion, and not just because Gwynneth Paltrow dies (not a spoiler).

I love a great payoff scene in a movie, and this one has it right at the end.

6

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 60 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/6/2012 4:40 PM
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I tend to think rioting and anarchy would be worse than depicted, but I still thought it was pretty good.

I also wonder if such a virus would mutate to become much less lethal (or even benign) before we could isolate it, develop a vaccine, and produce the vaccine in sufficient quantities to make any difference. I'm guessing it would take a year to accomplish this (if not longer), and viruses mutate pretty quickly.

1poorguy (NOT a virologist or similar professional)

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 62 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/10/2012 4:32 PM
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I also wonder if such a virus would mutate to become much less lethal (or even benign) before we could isolate it, develop a vaccine, and produce the vaccine in sufficient quantities to make any difference. I'm guessing it would take a year to accomplish this (if not longer), and viruses mutate pretty quickly.

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?

6

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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: 63 of 106
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.

LC

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 64 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/11/2012 11:46 AM
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Why only 100M? The Plague wiped out half the world's population, and travel was far less speedy than it is now. Granted the carriers were ubiquitous (fleas). But as I recall villages and towns would close themselves off, and outsiders risked being killed if they approached. So the slow travel was further restricted, and it still killed half our species.

Today I would think it could spread like wildfire before anyone realized there was a pandemic on the move. And while response would be swifter, I can still imagine entire cities being quarantined with people dropping like flies. Up to 130M people died of the Spanish flu, and travel was not very rapid (and with a war on I suspect it was quite restricted also).

With our higher population, and population density, you don't think it would be upwards of 1B?

1poorguy

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Author: sofaking6 Big funky green star, 20000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 65 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/11/2012 12:09 PM
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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.

I just meant that mutated forms would not have the same ability to infect people, just because of the reduced population, travel etc.

Sorry, work is crazy and I don't post on my own time so sometimes that leads to choppy writing.

:)

6

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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: 66 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/11/2012 4:01 PM
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Why only 100M? The Plague wiped out half the world's population, and travel was far less speedy than it is now.

Where did you get that idea? While it is conceivable that as much as 60% of Europe's population died in the first European outbreak (the "Black Death", 1348-51), the world as a whole certainly did not lose half its human population. Let's not mistake Europe for the whole planet.

Total mortality from abnormal causes during the entire 14th century was probably about 100 million (give or take 25 million) -- and that includes many different epidemic disease outbreaks, widely separated in time and space, nearly constant warfare, and the Great Famine of 1317. It was a bad century for humanity.

Even if some form of avian influenza were to achieve transmissibility between humans, it is still just influenza. In the 1918 pandemic, about 25% of the world's population (1.86 billion) were infected, and about 20% of those infected died. That was in a time of world war, before modern methods of hygiene and the germ theory of disease had become firmly established. Frankly, I don't think any form of influenza could kill more than 1% of the world's population today, even in the worst possible case. That would give us 70 million killed.

I also think that within the current decade we will have either (a) a general vaccine good for all forms of influenza, or (b) a nanoviricide capable of eliminating all viral particles in the body within 24 hours, or both. Outside of the current decade, our greatest disease threat is *not* influenza.

Loren

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu

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Author: 1poorguy Big funky green star, 20000 posts Top Recommended Fools Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 67 of 106
Subject: Re: Contagion Date: 9/11/2012 4:56 PM
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Loren,

With all due respect, the Plague was most certainly NOT limited to Europe. It is thought to have started in China or central Asia, and mostly from trade (ships?) found its way to Europe. Documentation is not as good from those areas, but at least some regions appear to have suffered 90% mortality.

http://asianhistory.about.com/od/asianenvironmentalhistory/p...

Many scholars believe that the Black Death began in north-western China, while others cite south-western China or the steppes of Central Asia. We do know that in 1331, an outbreak erupted in the Yuan Empire; it may have hastened the end of Mongol rule over China. In 1334, this disease killed 5 million people in Hebei Province - about 90% of the population.

Per that article it appears nearly 50% of the population of China disappeared, likely due to the Plague. A loss of 55M people.

I believe trade also brought it to parts of Africa (particularly north Africa).

About the only place that was not affected was the New World (because Europe/Asia had not yet discovered it).

Obviously I haven't modeled a modern epidemic, as I suspect you have. But I am surprised that projections are so low for a highly transmissible pathogen given population densities, and the amount and speed of travel. I won't dispute such projections, but am curious what would stop a rapid spread in such a situation (barring development of a general vaccine, or something similar).

1poorguy

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