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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 142  
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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