This post is an open thread to discuss the implications of H1N1 (or future pandemics) on energy. Who knows how serious this flu strain will be, or the next one? What we do know is that 1) our current long run energy decisions are largely being based on the erroneous but comforting assumption that price is a valid signal of future scarcity, 2) we have 6.77 billion humans, about 50% which are connected daily through a complex just-in-time delivery system of basic needs and information, and 3) we have an economic marker system that has way overshot what it was attempting to mark. What then might happen to future energy supplies if either the perception, or the reality of a flu or other pandemic in the next few years sweeps the globe?

Sproradic news updates on the advancement and uncertainty surrounding H1N1 flu virus and human reaction to it continue this weekend:

The president of the Asian Development Bank(ADB), Haruhiko Kuroda, warned on Saturday in Bali, Indonesia, that A/H1N1 may cause a severe impact on tourism, aviation and other industries in Asia. He said the judgment was based on experience from SARS and avian flu, but it was is difficult to make a proper assessment of the impact at this stage. Source

In each of the four major pandemics since 1889, a spring wave of relatively mild illness was followed by a second wave, a few months later, of a much more virulent disease. This was true in 1889, 1957, 1968 and in the catastrophic flu outbreak of 1918, which sickened an estimated third of the world's population and killed, conservatively, 50 million people. Source

As I'll write about in an upcoming essay, the recent global plunge in commodities and stock markets due to too much credit/debt has been a generation in coming. The US peaked in oil production in 1970 and in real wages in 1974. In 1971 we went off the gold standard. Soon after that debt began its ascent, and took a moon shot trajectory starting around 1999, both in US and abroad. The first stage of credit/leverage unwinding last fall caused oil and gas prices to drop to roughly 1/3 of where they were last summer, when they were at levels sufficiently high to bring on all sorts of production at the margin, (as well as marginal renewables). Many of these projects are now being scrapped or produced at a loss. Since oil and gas are not really storable (or rather, there is finite storage once outside their natural reservoirs), the volatility in monthly/yearly price signals is high - higher still when leverage and credit abound in our financial system. But since commodities are priced at the marginal unit, each spike or plunge cannot possibly both give the correct long term market signals to flow/cost/availability of the resources. In fact, the inflation adjusted price of oil is the same today as it was 36 years ago, even though we have used 875 billion barrels of oil in the intervening 36 years:

What would happen if a real global health pandemic called a 'natures time-out' to energy investment during the liminal space before sharp natural decline rates in oil and natural gas begin to accelerate? Travel to malls, restaurants, vacations etc. would be curtailed so demand would drop. Storage is nearly at capacity for oil, so the reduction in demand (since markets are always in equilibrium, would drop. The generation of economists that are conditioned to respond to price signals would then waste even more time in a)reducing cultural conspicuous consumption and b)increasing infrastructure for harnessing renewable ecosystem flows. The only hoarding that might occur would be by those countries who recognize 'the Prize' by buying geographically vital energy assets in the ground.

On another resource perspective, I am sure there are some out there, aware of our 300% increase in global population since the wide scale use of fossil fuels began 200+ years ago, that are secretly waving little "Go H1N1" banners in the privacy of their homes. Natural disasters somehow have immunity from cultural conformity and political correctness. Fewer people means more resources for the future, and less primary productivity taken from that which comprises the planet's biodiversity.

A quote from yesterday's Drumbeat

We now have the capability of incredible war; would you like more murder, more famine, more accidents? Well, here we can see the human dilemma-everything we regard as good makes the population problem worse, everything we regard as bad helps solve the problem. There is a dilemma if ever there was one. - Dr. Albert Bartlett: Arithmetic, Population and Energy

I have no idea whether this flu strain will be a big deal or have little to no impact. But our energy future is now on extremely fragile footing, for the many reasons discussed on this site.

Here are a few general discussion questions for the Campfire:

1. What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

2. Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

3. Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

4. People do crazy things when they panic. As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from public/official response to a virulent flu strain. Any insights?

Additional thoughts, comments, links, are welcome.

In the book The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler states that despite advances in medical science, the world, now, is not in a better position than it was in 1918.
So I think there would be a reduction in the use of transportation fuels and several airline companies would be soon in financial trouble.
I think it would accelerate a little bit movements towards relocalization.
I believe people would be more aware of the importance of living in a place which has a reliable supply of clean water.
The sales executives and others would make less business trips.
And I think some countries would develop better emergency and protection strategies and procedures for other possible pandemics in the future.

Kunstler in "The Long Emergency" was certainly strident in his warning of disease.
Personally I think this thing is out. It appears to be particularly virulent and has the added bonus of modern travel to service its transmission needs. It has a very short incubation term and remains transmittable for five days, or more in the young. That is what I have read, I could easily be wrong.

If it is out, it appears to be just simmering now and biding its time to bite us on the ass, just as we think the threat is averted.

The effects on industry has been calculated in the trillions of dollars, the damage done to energy supplies leading to other positive feedbacks was probably considered.

If one can escape the initial wave of infection and bunker down for several months then that is simply good planning or good fortune. For those that must venture into the world to seek food and water then danger is their business.

The world of today versus that of ninety years ago has the similarity of inter and extra continental migration to carry the virus. Today we are many more in number and density and we move a lot quicker but we have education and antiviral drugs.

If we could hold the death rate to the percentage of the pandemic of ninety years ago we will have done very well. It will though, be an unmitigated disaster in the world of today, which is so reliant on travel, energy, machinery and big business.

I just hope it's under control, because if it's not then I doubt any one of us will avoid some family tragedy due to the affects.

It' in Alberta pigs now. I don't know how this will play but it seems like we could define 3 scenarios of hi, med, and low. Low is like seasonal flu or less, medium is like Hong Kong, high is another Spanish flu. I think med or high leads to economic breakdown and peak oil will be on the backburner for a decade or two.


The pigs in Alberta were thought to be infected by a farm worker who returned from Mexico on April 12 and began working on the farm two days later. Officials noticed the pigs had flu-like symptoms April 24, Evans said.

So Canada is the first to report pigs are infected with this strain and Mexican reports have stated no pig infections found there. Fishy. Sure. Why would Mexico lie?

PEMEX has become a black hole. Money coming from the US immigrants/illegals has fallen. Tourism brings in ~ 14 billion a year.

But still why lie about the pigs? Maybe they aren't testing them?

Folks have been watching Mexico collapse for awhile. Rebels, drug dealers, government corruption, ... Can they make it through this?

They weren't Mexican pigs. The pigs belonged to Smithfield Foods and were being raised and slaughtered using cheap Mexican labor.

But still why lie about the pigs? Maybe they aren't testing them?

There was a news story stating that when this first emerged Smithfield dispatched its head of operations and PR to Mexico (may have the positions wrong but these were two very senior executives).

At this point Smithfield and the rulers of Mexico (I do not want to insult them by calling them a "government") share a joint interest in getting this story off the front pages as quickly as possible.

Mexico's interest lies in the fact that this outbreak disrupts a major source of present and future earnings with big emphasis on future earnings due to declining oil income.

The hog producer does not want to be remembered as being ground zero for something with the potential to kill millions. It doesn't help brand equity and will likely result in closer government inspection and increased regulation of all swine factories everywhere. This impacts future profits.

So I would bet a dollar there is back office somewhere providing heavy PR support to get the story out. Stories of lovable 5 year olds who were inflicted with a disease from the sky. Stories about drops in the number of dead and the number infected. Stories of a resolute and dedicated health care system that battled this slightly worrisome disease derived from alien DNA to a standstill.

Yes, the capitalism has unleashed a completely new and virulent strain of virus on us. The link below describes how this strain started in the US and was kept under control by regulation (the curse of good capitalists). Has there been any flu virus that jumps this easily b/w two different animals? Although there have been very limited cases of swine -> human -> human, we seem to be in new territory there. Has there been any documented cases of swine -> human -> swine? I think this may set a whole new precedent.

Scientists trace ancestry of swine flu virus to 1998 outbreak

The animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on Friday called on North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue to close the state's factory farms.

Is not Bev Perdue offspring of Frank Perdue of Perdue Farms, the company that pretty much started factory farming? I'm sure there will be an impartial hearing with all pocketbook issues kept under the table so that appearances are maintained. If not, where are the representatives of the organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Humans?

I seem to recall that is was Murphy Farms that were the first big hog farming corporation.

They pretty much got kicked out in N.Carolina and then we find them here in Ky trying to do the same thing about 4 or 5 years back when Listeria was the hue and cry.

Everyone here spoke against it and the then Gov was against it but new Gov came in and so did hog farming.


Which is why we should all start refering to disease as the Smithfield Flu.

This strain is NOT particularly virulent, meaning it is not very likely to kill (or even seriously affect) the majority of its victims. What it does, is spread rapidly, infecting a relatively large percentage of people very quickly. So the small amount who are severely affected end up overwhelming the health care system.

In terms of economic effects, however, and societal effects, a quick internet look did not turn up a lot of discussion of this. I am just guessing that a pandemic which cripples the economy will shake our faith in technology. This could make it easier to convince folks that technology will not save us from Peak Oil and Climate Change either. The death toll from influenza is related to its ability to cause pneumonia and sepsis. In 1918, they did not have antibiotics, which makes a huge difference. In 2009, they are relatively affordable, unless we see a trend towards MRSA pneumonia (which is very dangerous and very expensive to treat).

Other economic effects involve the social distancing measures we know work to keep down spread of infection. We have been reluctant to impose those, but if we do, the airlines will be very hard hit. The tourism industry may be hard hit now, as people put off planning vacations, and end up with "staycations" once things have calmed down for the summer. Internet shopping may see a resurgence, as well as quiet home-based pastimes. Can't be good for retailers though, and commercial real estate. Foreclosures would rise, and the mortgage-based securities would worsen their trend. I would expect deflation to continue.

I'm not reassured by the fact that influenza pandemics reappear in the fall, usually more virulent. I don't know how we will get a vaccine out there given the 1968 fiasco. October being also the stock market crash month, it seems like a nasty coincidence.

The fact that kids spread this efficiently in schools may improve as summer approaches. However, families with two working parents may find that summer camps are closed, with disastrous effects to household income, as Elizabeth Warren has outlined. This was not as much of an issue in 1918. I have heard the recommendation to think ahead to alternatives to sending the kids to school or daycare, but I am not sure what they are in our age of far flung families. My particular nuclear family (before I quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom) would have required for one or both of us to cut down on our work, unless we could find a young college student to come and watch the kids. Our three boys indoors for a week, sick or not, however, would cause most normal people to quit such a babysitting assignment, no matter how well paid.

Worldwide, disease has a tendency to hit randomly, reducing countries' productivity. For example, one would think reducing population would make them easier to feed, say in India, but instead, it reduces productivity, as food producers care for sick family members, or become ill (or die). The AIDS epidemic has hit several African countries very hard, undoing decades of hard won economic gains. In Tanzania, where I spent several weeks, the bus fare to the capital (to get care for a sick child) could easily consume a family's yearly income. I think a flu pandemic would precipitate collapse in some poor countries. The government cannot subsidize both bread and antibiotics, leading to further consequences after the pandemic.

As to localization, it is up to the Transition Town movement to seize the moment. With the gardening trend in full force and people likely preparing further for a fall epidemic, this could be an encouragement to localization, and storing food for winter, or at least the month recommended by the preparedness sites.

I agree the strain external to Mexico is of no consequence.
The strain in Mexico appears to be croaking every man and his dog. Which is which? I'd say the one that kills you is particularly virulent.


Definition of Virulence

Virulence: The ability of any agent of infection to produce disease. The virulence of a microorganism (such as a bacterium or virus) is a measure of the severity of the disease it is capable of causing.

The adjective virulent implies extremely noxious, damaging, deleterious, disease-causing (pathogenic). Marked by a rapid, severe, and malignant course. Poisonous, venomous.

The word "virulence" comes from the Latin "virulentia" from "virus" meaning a slimy liquid, particularly one that is foul and poisonous.

I'm happy with the fact that the Mexico flu is NOT particularly virulent. (If I don't catch it).

LATOC published this article: http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/Archives2009/EngdahlFlu.html. Engdahl comprehensively debunks the whole story and his comments have a ring of correctness about them.

Flying Pigs, Tamiflu and Factory Farms by William Engdahl for Global Research does not debunk anything. Engdahl makes suggesting and asks questions.

Virulence: The ability of any agent of infection to produce disease. The virulence of a microorganism (such as a bacterium or virus) is a measure of the severity of the disease it is capable of causing.

The two sentences of this definition say two very different things. The ability to produce disease and the severity of that disease's effects are two different concepts.

I heard the director of the CDC state in a radio interview this week that the WHO 1-5 Pandemic alert scale measured the communicability of the disease, not the disease's mortality or severity of symptoms.


You make a lot of rather blunt medical statements.

What exactly are your credentials in the medical field, if any?

The experts seem to be stating they are not sure where this is going so how do you know all these conclusions?

Its not safe to make broad statements about something that could be deadly.

Mostly I give my opinions in areas that I am conversant in. Like farming. Like gardening. And I always state this is just opinion.

I am sure yours as well but I see little wiggle room in yours.

I don't speak of oil for I know little about it. I know little about medicine but what has affected me personally and what I observe.

How can you possibly know the attack structure of the H1N1???

Airdale-if its opinion one should state it as such,this flu is serious, too serious for blantant statements without much sourcing,and there is little sourcing that I can see anywhere on it.

PS. And what I do comment on regards the H1N1 is personal infections and what I intend to do..certainly not what I think others should do

People if you don't like my way of stating things then say so. If you flag me for my views then you err but this is not a rant, its a critique of another comments on a very serious issue,and I personally do not like those who would profit off others misery and the destruction of our systems(Not pointing at the above posters comment either as to stock picking)

NOTE: Editted to add this:

You may reply to me privately if you desire. My email address in is my profile and has been since I have been a member. I am not especially taking you to task and I will pay attention to those who do have valuable experiences that I am aware of,else I tend to not believe a lot of what I read on TOD, for I learned that lesson long ago

And even though I do get some weird emails as a result the good ones are worth it.

i think she's a doctor.
i don't understand the reports of a no. of healthy young adults out of mexico very sick or dying if not virulent; there at least,as stated above.
something is not making sense.

Disclaimer: I'm an aircraft technician and everything I say maybe bollocks..

Your criticism of Paranoid's post is inconsistent. You say you only post on matters to do with gardening and farming, for which you claim some expertise in (you have a degree in those fields?) and you discourage people from saying anything on matters which they have less knowledge than you think is necessary (what kind of medical degree do you have to have to be able to comment on N1H1?). Sure a virus is serious business, but so is eating the wrong berries or mushrooms. Have you adviced or commented or said something on edible plants to anyone recently? Its dangerous you know. Conversely, I cannot think of how Paranoid's, or anyones comments on the particulars of a flu virus could possibly hurt anyone? I mean unless they suggest to jump off a bridge since there is no hope for humanity or something. When there's a heard of raging bulls coming your way, then its justified to yell Panic! In pretty much all other cases urging caution and contemplation is very rational and sensible thing to do, and really causes no harm to anyone.

Further TOD is neither a scientific journal, nor a school exam paper. It's a (quite) open forum where people can comment on things. That's why they are called 'comments'. If you are looking for 'certainty' on the subject, then good luck, you will have a long wait. At the moment nobody knows the 'attack stucture' of this particular version of N1H1 and won't probably know for a long time. The biochemisty of viruses isn't as easy as those of bacteria. What we do know however, and from which even common people like us can make conclusions from, is the observed cases we have and their characteristics.

The reason people are talking about this, and why it is good that they are - is that the 'professionals' aren't giving us much information. Being experts isnt much use because what they say when they appear on press conferences or the CNN is very different from what they might actually know or think themselves. Their messages are mixed with with healthcare protocols, national policies, politics in general. And they have their institutions and their careers interests to look after. So their messages are a mixed bunch of toned down uncertainties, wait-and-see, "more research is needed" etc. - or, they have a reason to go to the extremes: shut all public places, lock down the borders, kill all the pigs etc. Actually suggesting that this virus may or may not be dangerous based on the current cases isnt a statement these people are willing to make because it would require qualification and explanations of definitions and statistical concepts, none of which fit in to the 5 second soundbites or half-a-sentence headlines which the media is looking for.

In order for one to get further information, analysis, to draw conclusions from, whether to panic or to stay calm, one has to go looking for the information by oneself. That's what were here to do anyway - that's why its called the campfire, a 'forum'...

From what I have read myself Paranoids comment is very informative. Indeed the WHO says now that this virus seems to be similar to the seasonal flus which go around the globe every year (yes, we have a kind of flu PANDEMIC every year!) and the extreme measures to stop its spread are both ineffective and wasteful. Even if you hunker down in your bunker airdale, you're gonna get it sooner or later and there is nothing you or any world government can do about it ;) its a flu virus, one of the most simple perfect lifeforms nature has created ...

Incidently I've just had a flu episode all this week. Started 7 days ago with fever and swolen tonsils and all - proper 'killer' flu it was - only now recovering still - still sneezing my guts out occationally. But I've had flu like that before - I don't even remember how many times - at least once in every second year of my adult life on average I think - and its good - it keeps your immune system uptodate - so that you won't die the next time you get another flu!

There has been alot of talk about the potential for this N1H1 to morph into a superkiller flu like the so-called second wave of the Spanish flu. Well, so what? Isn't the chance of that the same as any number of the other strains of flu viruses or bacteria going around the world every year? One more is like a drop in the ocean. And what can we really do about it? Spend all our resources on futile quaranteens and medication - just to find out that next year we have yet another new strain and you have to do this whole thing again. As the human population grows, and as our population density grows exponentially when the poor and landless move into the cities, we'll create more and more opportunities for flus to mix more coctails like these. Who knows how many flu's we have missed panicing over during the 80's and 90's because nobody knew or cared to follow such epidemics?

So the reasons are many why this flu 'epidemic' is overblown and really doesn't deserve the attention and stress its causing. Sure we should follow with interest how it develops, and even comment freely about it. But calling for somekind of moratorium on people's comments is just silly considering the circumstances.

Relax, its not that serious ( ... as he gasps for his last breath)

- Ransu

To be clear, N1H1 is my internet password, and H1N1 is this recent flu strain...

The method of attack of H1N1 is that the manufacturers release the product, they then pump up the media scare, the demand for their vaccine exponentiates (if that's a true verb), the profits duly flow in, the deaths caused by the vaccine accumulate, the media clams shut, and finally everyone (who is still surviving) lives happily thereafter till the next event.

Ransu, Your remarks are very reasonable and well-considered. If only more folks weighed all the information and made logical judgments and decisions. The 24/7 news cycle and the businesses which profit from it find it in their best interest to have vacuous talking heads yammer on about the same stuff for hours on end. There is a balance between informing the public and crying wolf...those who go on about how the people in the know aren't telling us much simply haven't been listening to the good information from the credible sources buried among the incessant yapping of the same Barbie and Ken dolls who blather on repeating the same sound bites about the economy, the President's dog, and the latest domestic violence incident that occurred somewhere in America that moment.

from WHO - link:

3 May 2009 -- As of 0600 GMT, 3 May 2009, 17 countries have officially reported 787 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection. Mexico has reported 506 confirmed human cases of infection, including 19 deaths. The higher number of cases from Mexico in the past 48 hours reflects ongoing testing of previously collected specimens. The United States Government has reported 160 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Austria (1), Canada (70), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (6), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (4), Republic of Korea (1), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15).


This is not particularly virulent. Ppl who have had it clearly describe it as a mildish, ordinary flu. Ex: The young man in Switzerland came back from Mexico on Sat, was ill, went to the doctor to get some meds, and was promptly sequestered. Err, was put in isolation in hospital. On Wednesday he was fine and they let him go. Then the results of the tests came in and they went to fetch him back to hospital. He was quite peeved.

Factlets to remember: Death from ‘flu’ is most often due to secondary bacterial infections - various types of pneumonia. It is estimated that about half (or less?) of ppl infected with flu are asymptomatic.

Paranoid is bang on imho (I’m a psychologist, interested in public health.)

The ‘professionals’ don’t give much information, because they don’t have much, it takes time for the situation to clarify; their communications are ‘official’ ones, they have to be serious about preparation, prevention, but want to avoid panic. Then there are wild stories in the media. Flu sells papers because it’s scary: practically everyone in the ‘west’ has had it and the idea that it might kill etc. is easy to grasp. Also, it is like a natural disaster - no ideology, politics involved. Perfect!

Perhaps I was a bit picky with Paranoid on this comment but its a given that giving medical advice on the internet is a bit dangerous.

How do you know that someone reads it and decides to believe its true and acts accordingly and becomes infected and then perhaps dies as a result?

My making statements in areas I am very familiar with and much experience in such as farming,electronics,etc , which I most always loudly label as OPINION, will not of themselves be of a medical nauture nor dangerous to health. As are most other topics here but medical advice or statements are different.

Granted this post is about the H1N1 but the header states 4 questions for discussion. None on giving medical advice.

So if I stepped on toes then I am sorry for doing so but thats my views.
Same as stock tips. Not the place for them on TOD IMO of course as that is controlled by the editors but I do have a sense of what is appropriate for discussion and what may not be.

BTW I just asked for her credentials in this area. Not such a big deal is it?

I was trained in the field of electronics. I have no qualms about speaking or giving advice in this area. My bio was posted for the last 2 yrs + in my profile. It gave all my credentials and training and work.

I note therefore that I have yet to see one single other member who has done the same yet many here seem to speak with great authority on many topics. Going to their profile I see blank space. And hardly ever an email address.

I think that speaks for itself. And someone questioning their experiences in an area is really not off the wall.

Airdale-I took my bio out recently since based on responses to my comments I had to assume that it was never viewed. And I had decided to quit TOD for several reasons and was absent for some time.

When Campfire was started then I began commenting again.

Airdale-one last point. Paranoid is rather new here as well so I have no ideas of that members background

I don't have a bio up but I did post an anonymous e mail at one time and never received any mail (I will check on it now.) I prefer to remain semi-anonymous, semi because one can always find these things out if one wishes. First, because I was chased and not exactly threatened but close by some stalker or nut or ? in the US .....very frightening, several sleepless nights. One can imagine the advice I received, but am not following. Second, quick off the cuff opinions etc. about this or that can come back to haunt one in the work place if they are public. It is a grey area. That aspect doesn't in fact trouble me much, but points to the indeterminate status of the written word now archived for ever which before used only to be oral and evanescent or telephonic - discussion in the kitchen or bar. I know several ppl who work for big corps or the State and would never post on a public forum, they are afraid. With good reason imho.

andrea black 140 at hotmail dot com (no spaces)


You are wise to be careful with ids, bios and such. The best way is to just not give any details on where you live,except vague references as to say state or region. Sufficient but not detailed enough.

What with the Craigslist serial killer it behooves us to do so.

And never assume that someone is who they say they are on email unless you are very very certain. Dating services are also to be very wary of.

There are some very bad people out there and doesn't seem that Law Enforcement does much until some folks are tortured or killed.

The net can be a very dangerous place.

Be sharp, is all I can say. Yes I too was stalked. By a female.
I had to get very angry and carry her to the airport to make sure she left.Had to have a airport guard watch her as well. I had made the mistake of giving my address and she actually flew in to this area just to stalk me.

Airdale-my place is posted with No Trepassing signs and if someone trespasses then the Sheriff hauls them off and I come down and press other charges as may be needed. There is a relative who had stolen my wife's id on line and has done a big smear job on her with her contact lists. Changed her passwords,etc.

Clue: Put a bios password on your PCs. Never leave it logged on when you are not there. Do not leave it turned on all the time. Do not leave it hooked to the net when not using it. Use rigorous passwords. Do not write them down. Be wary of Messenger as it is easily hackable. Your browser is now where many hacks are going to. BHOs can steal your personal data. Malware can reside in your browses memory of data space and no checker will see or find it. Norton is not that good. Avira is what I now use. Some firewalls are not that good either. Never put something on your PC that is 'FREE'..as there is no such thing as a free lunch. Some free virus checkers are trojans themselves. They invite all the rreally bad ones to come and feast.

I had one guys compromised laptop that took me 12 hours to clean up. After a stranger used it for just two days.


The question of credentials is good. I just can't be repeating them in each one of my posts, but they would be good to have on a profile somewhere.

I am a family physician, graduated from McGill University in Montreal where I grew up (medicine) and Brown University (family medicine residency) in 1990, and also have a masters in Public Health and completed a residency in Preventive Medicine at Berkeley in 1996. Preventive Medicine is all about population disease outbreaks and surveillance and stopping epidemics. However, I have not worked in the field. I worked 20 years as a family doctor, 10 of those with homeless people in San Francisco, and the rest in community health centers mostly with folks on welfare and Latino immigrants. I quit about a year ago to focus on raising my three boys. My husband is a psychiatrist and has nothing to contribute when it comes to my knowledge of viruses and epidemics.

I try to keep my comments to what I know well. In this campfire, my impression is we are all making guesses about the future depending on how we see the virus at this time.

I have not had previous experience with a pandemic. I remember emails and warnings about SARS and relentless reminders to vaccinate sensitive patients against influenza. However, there were also many reminders to start menopausal women on Hormone Replacement Therapy (which has now been discredited), and to get diabetics controlled (which is very very difficult). So the importance of influenza has not stood out in my mind so far, and I take everything everyone says with a grain of salt. I have not seen firsthand the ravages of influenza (36,000 deaths just doesn't compare with the lead killers - my patients who died (a handful over the years) died of heart disease and cancer).

So I follow this with curiosity and concern, but no panic.


Thank you for the response.

You will find that clicking on MY ACCOUNT will take you to where you may , if you wish, enter any bio data you desire by entering Edit mode.

I would suggest leaving out your email address unless you are prepared to deal with it. Or at least not your 'main' email address. I use Yahoo for that purpose and do not expose my working email address.

I did have an extensive bio in my acct since it seemed appropiate. Its gone now when I took a hiatus from TOD. I haven't replaced it since most here ,except for new members , do know my background already.

And BTW I do tend to come down a bit hard on the Medical Profession in general yet I have some good friends and Doctors who work in that area. A surgical head nurse where I had my kidney removed was at my side continously in the OR and was a conduit to those waiting in the waiting room. I fix her PC anytime for free. I am also on very good terms with my urologists. The oncologists I ceased to deal with since they took many months to find a simple very large cancer when it was staring them in the face as per my Polycythemia. Elevated Hemoglobin,etc.Not Vera? Cause was kidney cancer of course. My brother worked in the field as well.



"James Howard Kunstler states that despite advances in medical science, the world, now, is not in a better position than it was in 1918."

this is a totally ridiculous statement. The world has better nutrition, better electronic communication, boarder controls, actual rapid test for influenza. Anti viral drugs, the ability to manufacture new vaccines rapidly. A supply of face masks, anti-bacterial antibiotics and other drugs.

So far only 17 deaths have been confirmed to be caused by the new strain. By the time flu season comes around in northern hemisphere 2009/2010 vaccines will be ready. Every year some people die from flu, it's too early to know if this strain will be more deadly or less deadly than the last few strains, but we definitely will not have the deaths due to the 1918 pandemic, unless someone starts WWIII before next northern winter.

The airline industry will take another hit, but its long term future is doomed as FF are exhaused.

Both On and Off Topic:

The Minnesota Department of Health maintains a web site to help people plan for pandemics and other disasters. Here is the page of possible hazards. If you click on a hazard it talks about how to prepare for it. A pandemic requires a "stay plan" with a month of food stored in the home.

Code Ready

Under the get prepared section it helps you build shopping lists etc to create your "stay plan".

What I like most about it is how it talks calmly and proactively about life threatening crisis. If the rest of our government could face up to peak oil the way our Department of Health has faced up to pandemic planning, all the citizenry would be better educated and prepared.

Jon-- Excellent resource that I didn't know existed.

The always controversial Michael Fumento writing in 1998 about earlier HIV/AIDS predictions.


1. What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

My opinion and hope. Hard to say. Hopefully make us more aware of how weak our government is and how exposed we are.

2. Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

My opinion is that it would. Globalization has not done the normal citizen any favors. If so they are now being repaid with a huge penalty.It has made some extremely rich at the expense of almost everyone else.

3. Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

I would hope that all our systems would be severely called into
question and once more we learn not to listen to glib speeches from those wearing happy, shiny faces who are not able to perform what is necessary but promise such before election time. And whose wife purchases $540 sneakers just so we understand who has now 'moved uptown'. Say one thing,do another. Its once more what we asked for and got.

4. As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from this flu strain. Any insights?

I lived through the ending of the Great Depression and the hard times when all ablebodied men were gone. You have to live it to learn the lessons. IMO. Those lessons change your lives. Hopefully this one will in a positive manner. Conspicuous consumption comes home to roost. Some will learn. the young really need to learn, badly. Ditch the baggage that JHK says they inherited from the Crib,the Prison and the Pimpmobile. And for heavens sake learn to appreciate good music. I would settle for just the music part.Why do I have to listen to 30,40,50 year old music on tape cassettes? I fervently hope the Ipods die off as well and MSFT never comes back. Long live Linux.

I got wordy towards the end.

Its the culture and the culture and always the culture.

Airdale-no facts were used in the above comment,just plain ole conjecture..but if I count correctly I was infected by the 1957, the 1968 epidemics severly, most of the others didn't bother me much. I don't need another major one to come my way.

'Moved Uptown'? Crib, prison, and pimpmobile? 'Learn to appreciate good music?'

Your true colors (color) are shining through. The racial non-sequiturs are not welcome.


I attributed those words to Kunstler. They were not mine except for the part about music.

I stand behind my views whether you like my colors or not.


Since you posted those words, they have your endorsement...attributing them to Kunstler after you repeated them as part of your post is a cop-out.

Your views are your own, you have the right to have and express them, and I have the right to not like and not to agree with the words in question.


Fine business with me!

It was not a copout.

I suspect you are looking for a fight. I will not comply.

You can disagree as you see fit. This is still a free country.

I like Kunstler. You don't that is your problem.

Over and out. Don't CQ me any more then.


People who work in people transport and food distribution are particularly vulnerable, if a pandemic should cause large numbers of fatalities.
This could cause large portions of the food and transport system to shut down. A lot of well-populated areas will know acute food shortages. Weakened by hunger, people will be more susceptible to a second or third wave of disease, which by that time could feel like a merciful release.

Considering probable outcomes is a horrifying experience.

Considering probable outcomes is a horrifying experience.

In theory, making the longer term 'reward' or 'cost' larger, we lessen peoples discount rates towards that event, making the short term reward (read: current consumption) less obvious ceteris paribus.

(Edit: Gawd I sound like an economist. So odd.)

I am wondering how many folks will find this as an opportunity. Some could decide that they really don't want to get this and they could make a prolonged "camping trip" out of it.

Buy a couple of years worth of food. Solar oven and rocket stove, get a yurt or really nice tent, a saw and hatchet, and go somewhere isolated for a while. See if you can learn to garden, forage for wild foods, and play music and basically be happy with very little stuff. Might be a great adventure and education, only take a couple years of your life and may even save it.

Bring a set of solar panels and batteries, radio and a few lights to keep tabs on the outside world and read books in the dark season.

I am wondering how many folks will find this as an opportunity. Some could decide that they really don't want to get this and they could make a prolonged "camping trip" out of it.

My guess is between 4 and 10. (1/2 of which live in Mendocino County...;-)

Though your writing it might have planted a seed...

Airdale and I are two who are already sufficiently prepared to stay away from population centers for prolonged periods. I am sure there are many more who visit this site.


Yes, I have canned goods I put up going back two years. A full freezer I need to start eating out of and making room. Lots of shelled corn and wheat as well. Plenty of flour,salt and sugar.

I have nothing on the horizon to buy. I just finished my last needed trip today. Trips I will make in the future will be within my vehicles and not outside contact with anyone.

For the rest I will use the internet to order and receive via USPS.

I will mail all my future bills via USPS or pay online for the very very few I do have.

The door is shut now. Let's see what the future holds.


Well at least your ark has internet, lol. I think being a complete shut-in would drive me nuts especially if this turns up to be a mild strain. Guess it could be good practice though.

Yes I have EVDO Ver A I believe and I highly recommend it for rural residents.

IMO almost as good as slow DSL and better than cable. It survived well during the ice storm when many others net interfaces did not survive.

During and following the ice storm no one moved about to speak of.
The roads were impassable and gas was difficult to obtain. Then many had no power for a month,some longer.

The net was my only link outside.


Though where I live (Pakistan) the virus has not reached yet (it do has reached asia in china) I find it easy to shut down and limit myself to my farm. I infact am living in this almost isolated village since more than a year. The 8 acres that I have are more than enough to provide food and good income to me, my family and my slaves. Speaking of slaves they also provide good company especially when they are of opposite sex :). Yes it is illegal to keep slaves in Pakistan but many people do.

The 8 acres that I have are more than enough to provide food and good income to me, my family and my slaves. Speaking of slaves they also provide good company especially when they are of opposite sex :). Yes it is illegal to keep slaves in Pakistan but many people do.

What? This is more than a little curious Wisdom. What and how (I think you have answered the why) can you possibly keep slaves? I'm not making any particular moral judgement here (but reserve the right to be appalled) becasue I realise that life in Pakistan must be very different to my own in suburban Australia. But please explain for the rest of us how the owning of slaves comes about?

If he's serious, then I'll damn sure make a moral judgment.

I would not be surprised if he is.  Slavery is specifically condoned by Islam and the example of Mohammed (who is "the perfect man" and "an excellent example of conduct"), which is one of the many reasons it is pernicious.

As none other than Winston Churchill wrote in 1899:

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live.

A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men.

Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.

No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.

And Jesus and Paul said that slaves should obey their masters. So what?

It's not Islam, it's that Pakistan is a poor country with a large rich-poor gap, lacking rule of law. That gives us slavery, or conditions very much like it. We see slavery in Mauritania, Sudan, Niger, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Mali, Thailand and so on. And sex slavery exists in Western Europe, the UK, USA and Australia. Labour slavery is widespread in the Americas, including the USA.

Wearing a towel on your head does not make you more or less inclined to ruthlessly exploit other human beings.

Paul, yes, does say that slaves should obey masters. Jesus says, "Neither be called masters. . . whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted." (Mt. 23:10, 12) There's also something about "the first will be last, and the last first," as I recall.

Actually Jason is right. For many people this would be the decisive factor that things are almost irrevocably broken down and that it is time to set out in the boondocks and try to survive independently. This furthers the argument that immigration into America is out of control, that too many people are crowded together in cities, coughing all over each other, that industrial food production will kill us fast and slow, etc. etc...

For some of these people, the Todds and Airdales, that lifestyle will prove much more rewarding and worthwhile.

Super Flu indicates that in 1918 the world human population was 1.8 billion and 20 million people died from the Spanish Flu. Other sources state the mortality was between 20 million and 100 million. The mortality ranged from 1.1% to 5.6% of the world population over two years. The population growth rate is currently 1.167% (2009 est.) of the population per year. A modern pandemic similar in scale would likely significantly reduce energy demand during the outbreak, but the mortality would not be high enough to make much difference in demand in the long term. 1% of the population dying over two years would produce roughly a .5% reduction in demand per year while births would continue. The annual decline in production of existing oil wells is larger, around 4% to 5% per year.

The major damage to the oil supply might come in the form of reduced exploration due to reduced demand and low price during the pandemic followed by a supply shortage and skyrocketing price afterward.

If a large fraction of the work force is sick and bedridden, more deaths might occur from an interruption in the delivery system for essentials than from the virus directly.

When a population is suddenly stricken, uninfected people must work much harder to maintain the normal quality of available services. In particular, medical services can be overwhelmed, prompting an increase in the mortality rate. Remember, when half the population is sick, that means half the hospital staff is sick. Out of all the major United States cities, only Boston adequately confronted the 1918 flu. With a few days notice, the hospitals of Boston worked with city residents to form an enormous volunteer force. It worked -- the mortality rate in Boston was much lower than in other cities. [Vaughn, 1921]

Good day. very Interested info on your site. I have found the many information in the Internet. The battle of puebla, May 5, 1862 the United States was in the middle of a civil

war. All the South needed was a strong exterior ally and its strengthened cause might have permanently split the United States.

A possible exterior ally was closer than Abraham Lincoln liked, as the French Army under Gen. Laurencez was making its way

through Mexico

Good day in return.

I love learning new things, so thank you for your reference to the Battle of Puebla.

I followed your link but it went to a generic web hosting page when I looked at it.

I went to Wikipedia and found this:




I did not see any references cited in the first two articles, but the last article had some.

It seems that the French installed a 'Second Mexican Empire' from 1864-1867, but I did not find any references yet to support the idea that the french had designs on the United States, either overt or covert.

I am unclear on the relationship of this history to the current topic of the Flu, but the learning opportunity was welcome anyway. Now I will rent and watch 'Two Mules for Sister Sara'


It could be that the reason that almost all the documented deaths from this H1N1 flu have occurred in Mexico and not elsewhere is that deaths in Mexico were not caused by this flu at all. Maybe the whole story is a cover up for deaths caused by something else. At least that is what this story suggests:


The most important point is that there is so much in the media now that cannot be believed, especially the mainstream media. But there sure is something about this flu scare that does not make sense.

It makes sense only if we assume that either:
a) it is a distraction -- we are not supposed to look at something more important
b) it is a deliberate attempt to scare the world population -- to sell them something, for example
c) it is a deliberate attempt to destablize Mexico -- so the One Government and NAFTA and Amero can finally be brought to bear
d) all the journalists have gone home, and the media is now in the hands of soap-opera screen writers and science fiction authors.

Perhaps it will be used as the excuse for why Mexican oil production is so far down and why imports from Mexico can no longer continue inot the US.

One thought about the epidemic--it provides a lot of room for "but for" cover for the economists.

The economy would have been recovering, but for this inconvenient epidemic.

Clearly, everything will be fine, once the epidemic is over.

On another topic, Nate suggests that demand will drop more than supply. I am wondering if both could drop greatly--could the epidemic cause refineries to close and tankers to stop leaving from port? (My guess is that while there is some chance of this, Nate is probably correct, demand will drop more than supply.)

What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

Not much, I think. Just as the 70s embargo and more importantly the SU collapse took the peak from around 2000 up to 2005, so too could the current recession combined with a pandemic add a few years to various peakings.

Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

I don't think so, because pandemics are presented as temporary emergencies. We see in all kinds of natural and man-made disasters that people try to return to their previous lives as quickly as possible, going back to flooded homes, rebuilding after bushfires, and so on.

This is also part of Western culture, the idea of a constant ascent towards some liberal consumerist Utopia; we believe that there may be stumbles along the way, but that we'll forge on in the end, the overall trend will be up to that Utopia.

Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

I don't see how. In the SU, people made up for the unreliability of supply by getting their own sources - backyard gardens, black market and so on. In the West, we'll make up for unreliability of supply by stocking up our pantries.

As humans, we tend to do our best to make up for the inadequacies of systems rather than questioning the systems.

As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from this flu strain. Any insights?

I'm not sure what the "intended" consequences are supposed to be, so...

A chinese graduate (double Engineering Masters) colleague at work has told me that many second children in Chinese cities are not registered. In addition, in the country where the one child policy isn't enforced many families do not register any of their children. The problem appears widespread. As many as 200m children may not be registered, which sounds like an extraordinary number. Is Chinas population 1.33bn or 1.5bn? The problem may be even more acute in India.

So in the context of this article I may be splitting hairs, but our actual population may actually be over 7bn.

I've seen demographic analyses putting the margin of error for global population at + or - 200 million, so 7bn is within the realm of reasonable probability.

SailDog's skepticism is entirely appropriate. For political and structural reasons population figures tend to err on the small size. For example, when I was working in China in the Eighties, the official population figure for China was 1.87 billion persons. Friends got hold of a "neibude" document (a "within the bureau" internal and at least semi-secret document) that stated that the real figure was 1.2 billion. That's over 100 million differential thirty years ago. What's the dif? Structurally, you can't not include someone that you actually do count, but you can't count everybody. Misses go uncounted, despite attempts to estimate them. And then as now, many births were unreported, officially, that is (corruption on the "one family one child" program was and is rife). Result: low count. Politically and ideologically, there was pressure to meet population goals that inflated downward through time. If you lied to meet your reduction quota the first time then you are boxed into lie again to maintain your "record of success" or face dire political consequences. Result: dramatically low count.

This is not a situation unique to China. The exact same social dynamics happen in India and most other countries where population is an issue, in every continent. Without a doubt, the world population of humans is well over 7 billion now, perhaps as many as 7.7 billion. The only places where there are reductions in population are in the decadent (not pejorative) countries in western Europe, the poisoned countries in eastern Europe, and a few heavily bounded places where constraints have actually engaged. Everywhere else, the population is growing, and not just a reduction in the rate of increase. Look at the age cohorts to see this more clearly.

It is not an accident that many intuit an intentional groping toward pandemic, or actively wish and work for one. Most do not realize that to do anything more than push us past tipping points in other aspects of our complex interoperative systems, the deaths from such a pandemic must be significant (tens of percents of total population) to have the decompression effects that might begin to ease the weight of the Sword of Damocles that hangs over us. Most also do not fully recognize the natural rebound effect that must be defused or distracted for a population drop to become stable.

Whenever you see "official" population figures, be afraid. Be very afraid. And be very skeptical of those who present you with those figures. They are either fools or liars (if not both).

Political fallout starting to heat up. This leads to protectionist measures, not conducive to economic harmony between nations.

Mexico reacts angrily to China flu measures

Mexico on Saturday accused Beijing of discrimination against its citizens and advised them to avoid China after a Hong Kong hotel was sealed off following confirmation a Mexican guest had the new flu virus.

Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa also condemned China and four Latin American countries for restricting flights from Mexico, the epicenter of an H1N1 flu outbreak that the World Health Organization fears may become a global pandemic.


Mexico says its citizens in different parts of China have faced discrimination after being suspected of carrying the flu.

"These are discriminatory measures, without foundation ... The Foreign Ministry recommends avoiding traveling to China until these measures are corrected," Espinosa said.

She also condemned China as well as Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Cuba for suspending flights from Mexico due to the flu outbreak. Mexico traditionally has had good ties with all of those nations.

1. What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

It would probably accelerate the development of "alternative" fuels that were not dependent on deliveries, JIT or otherwise.

2. Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

Why would it? Did it do so in previous pandemics?

It would generate re-organization of delivery systems. It wouldn't necessarily involve a movement to re-localization or away from globalization. This is, of course, what would happen in the so-called developed countries. In the third and second world countries, people would die, people would live, and life would go on as before when the thing was over.

3. Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

The JIT system was a way of shifting storage costs from manufacturers and retailers to suppliers: store supplies on trucks and other containers and deliver them JIT. Before that, manufacturers used the concept of "safety stock" as a backup, and some still do. It doesn't really matter which version of inventory control you use, the reduction of available oil for transport is going to affect stock, so a global pandemic would affect all retailers and manufacturers, and with people sick and away from work, there would probably have to be a shutdown of everything for a while.

Would people then become aware of the dangers of JIT? No more so than the dangers of any supply system. Maybe with respect to food, warehouses would be expanded to hold more of a safety stock, but this would occur probably after the pandemic rather than before.

If energy generation depends on deliveries of gas or coal or other fuels that cannot be controlled at the point of use, then JIT or safety stock or huge warehouses might be mandated, but probably after the fact. Nuclear, geothermal, wind, solar, and other energy types would not be dependent on deliveries, only on personnel, who might be sick, out of work, though I imagine that in a genuine pandemic, workers would be required to remain on the job and sleep and eat where they work so as to keep the energy flowing. The same goes for water.

4. As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from public/official response to a virulent flu strain. Any insights?

The whole point of unintended consequences is that they are often unforseeable, not just unintended. So trying to imagine what these might be at this point is a useless exercise. One possible response, however, would depend on how severe the flu became and how many deaths resulted, particularly among the skilled, and that would be to give some Prozac or other tranquilizers to people in the WHO or CDC or government who may be making or have made a mountain out of a molehill.

And even if the flu were as deadly as the 1918 one, that might be to the good, particularly if it got rid of many of the useless elderly, the obese, and the layabouts. Not all elderly are useless, of course, and many towns could not exist without their supply of senior volunteers, but many seniors are draining the medical and financial system as they try to extend lives unnecessarily.

I'm gray box challenged, however below is a snipet from a previous post;

"In each of the four major pandemics since 1889, a spring wave of a relatively mild illness was followed by a second wave, a few months later, of a much more virulent disease. This was true in 1889, 1957, 1968 and in the catastrophic flu outbreak of 1918, which sickened an estimated third of the world's population and killed, conservatively, 50 million people."

Couple that with experiments recently done to determine the genetic changes that the bird flu would need to occur to become an easily transmissable flu amongst people. By comparing it to the Mexican flu now making the rounds, a biologist discovered that only 3 minor protein changes, two on the surface and one on the interior, would need to take place, and those markers could be transferred from this recent Mexican flu to the bird flu.

So, if we are to take heed of history possibly repeating itself, then we may be facing a bird flu epidemic this fall.

Impact on the world ecomomy would be devastating. Essentially in a major pandemic the world economy would grind down to a crawl, and while it did money owed on borrowed money would be paid for by borrowing more, deepening the recession severely.

I got this strange historical dejavu recently, in which there seems to be a parallel between the extinction of the dinosaurs and recent events that have taken place. Ok, different types of events, but the parallel is the dinosaurs were softened up before the great extinction by small mammals evolving to take advantage of large dino eggs, change to more arid climate, and then the big wallop in the form of an asteroid.

First we get a mortgage meltdown coupled with high energy prices that cause a recession, and now a mild flu that could preceed a pandemic. Could a pandemic be our parallel to the dinos huge asteroid? Would these combination of events portend a great reduction in human population?

First we get a mortgage meltdown coupled with high energy prices that cause a recession, and now a mild flu that could preceed a pandemic. Could a pandemic be our parallel to the dinos huge asteroid? Would these combination of events portend a great reduction in human population?

Eventually ..

Although we don't have firm proof secondary bacterial infections probably played a huge role in the large number of death in 1918 also it occurred at the tail end of the Great War with large numbers of people weakened by the effects of war. I'd suspect the "big killer" will occur a bit later during a time when the system is highly stressed but not yet collapsed say when malnutrition and even famine is a lot more common.

The bigger problem is probably more having the virulent strain now festering in the wild. One thing that does seem to happen is the number of potentially deadly epidemic diseases is growing. Given what I said above it really just seems like a matter of time before we face some massive epidemics. Looking at all the factors I'd suggest that these would tend to occur during the last stages of collapse not near the start when most of the medical system is still intact.

However the current situation suggests that the population in Mexico is under a lot more duress than most realize.

On the financial side I'd guess the major hits will be air travel and hotels nothing like kicking a dead horse when its down. As far as energy prices go uncertainty fear and doubt tend to support higher prices for basics such as food and energy so one can think the FUD will outweigh and direct changes in actual energy usage.

This by no means dismisses the potential severity of the current situation in the end its the nature of the disease itself that will play a large role in how it spreads and our medical systems can be quickly overwhelmed. Its just the probability that they will will be exponentially higher later on in collapse.
At some point of course its practically a certainty.

Can anyone believe anymore with any confidence, what these people say, after the fiascos we've had with previous flu epidemics. I mean even as we speak the Mexican authorities and the WHO are having to correct their figures for actual laboratory confirmed cases down...

I'm not a virologist but the amount of lab work I've done during my youth tells me that you don't go testing for just the positive cases. It can cause a huge confirmation bias in the results.

First of all any number of flu-like-symptom cases coming through your hospital doors could be caused by an n-number of viral, bacterial or other causes (by an industrial chemical for example, or simply a violent allergy to pollen). How do you test for and rule out every possiblity? You don't! It would be expensive and time consuming. If you are a Mexican downtown hospital, you don't have the ability to tell the difference between various infection vectors, and certainly not different strains of the flu virus. The CDC in the US is the closest authority with that ability. So you send all your 'suspected' samples you find to CDC and surprise! they find swine flu in some of them. But what does that tell us? Nothing.

It in no way implies that it was the cause for those symptoms - because for that you would have to rule out every other possibility ie. test for every other strain of flu (hugely time consuming and expensive) as well as all the bacterial pathogens. And then there are the non-obvious causes that might've caused the symptoms: from chemicals to simple food poisoning from spoilt lunch. These are difficult and sometimes impossible to verify afterwards from samples.

And this is the biggest cause for bias in this whole thing - our inability for Bayesian estimation for inference: we see cause and effect as straight forward - and ignore the possibility of the posterior factor. The possibility that H1N1 does not cause these symptoms at all but is present in the tests for other reasons (or causes only some of them, or only causes them in combination with other viruses, pathogens, or unhygienic or other low health conditions, much like most weak viruses would). Who says that this virus hasn't been present in the population already? In order to determine that, we would have to have a control study ie. test people who are not sick! ie. the ratio of:

[people who are sick because of the virus] / [all people who have the virus inc. those who have no symptoms or don't go to hospitals]

Currently I don't see much hints for the use of the scientific method in the reporting from Mexican, US or world authorities - merely scare mongering and covering their backs, their authority for all eventualities: in case this does cause a serious pandemic (for which no one can do anything about), or alternatively in case they turn out to be wrong (in which case nobody will find out, like it was with SARS).

Since nobody seems to dare to spell it out, I will: the most likely cause for all of this seems to be that Smithfield Foods wanted to cover up their pig mess down in a sick Mexican village. Veratect came along and tested for the huge cocktail of pathogens available in such a mess, and chose this new one, a relatively mild and really hardmess among them, and declared it as the suspect - the rest of the story is just a logical train of events (ie. no conspiracy needed, just normal politics and a mixture of bureaucracy, incompetence and covering your authority)...

EDIT: PS: Aargh! BBC Headlines "Mexico plea as virus 'stabilises'" ... "health officials there said the swine flu outbreak could be stabilising". Stabilising? What is that? Virus pandemics 'stabilize' for one reason and one reason only - when they have infected everyone in the world (often without causing any symptoms) and disappear into the background. I think what they mean is that their methodology and statistics are 'stabilizing' (but obviously nobody dares to day that because it would hurt their authority). If its not spreading the its not by definition a pandemic and we shouldn't be at global alert level 5 and wasting all these resources and time on this relatively harmless life form. But now every doctor and news reporter in the world has already committed themselves so what we will see is a protracted face saving exercise for the next 6 months or so - such a waste ... but smarter than yeast for sure, yeah...

I agree with ransu that the statistics here are very confusing. Hundreds of people come down with symptoms of what could be influenza, but we can test only a few dozen each day. So I imagine we prioritize those who are very sick, those who have a good story of how they got infected, and perhaps those who die in a manner that is plausibly related. However, as the capacity to do the test increases (a number of countries and states with their own lab, in addition to the CDC), then more tests are done, including tests on folks who don't seem like such shoo-ins. So the rate of positives may decrease, and it looks like things are "stabilizing". I'm just guessing here - nowhere have I seen a report saying how many tests have been done and how many of those were positive.

Such a system is open to manipulation however... it's always easier to bring down the rate of a disease by changing who you test than by finding a way to reduce transmission.

Also from further down: Totonella's point about bat deaths. That really concerns me. It is clear that there isn't anyone smart out there weighing these problems from somewhat different fields. We have a nice virus surveillance system, thanks to SARS and the yearly influenza issue, but certainly no comparable way to monitor the potential damage to crops from bat and bee deaths.

For example, public health officials - I seem to remember - maintain bird farms (I think chickens) and sacrifice them at regular intervals looking for the first sign of West Nile virus each year. There's all this routine looking for specific stuff that is done behind the scenes all set up to detect and respond to known threats (yes and some of these are subject to interference by vested interests).

I guess that is why we will be blindsided ultimately by unknown unknowns. Or even more likely by things we don't know because of a clear decision to not look.

I'm gray box challenged, however below is a snipet from a previous post;

{blockquote}I'm gray box challenged, however below is a snipet from a previous post;{/blockquote}

replace { & } with < & > respectively.

I wonder how many people will move out of the cities, from realizing just how gross it is to be packed in like that. (Says I who lives in a city.)

I have this idea that I should go out and catch the flu now while it is in its mild form. I would then have the antibodies to assist fitting a more deadly version of it.


Another way of looking at the same tactic is to get infected well before the health services are overwhelmed, and still have treatments in stock.

One would then be recovered and immune and free to sieze opportunities as a big percentage of workers were out sick ..


I've been joking around about this exact strategy. That and the ability to be taken care of before the medical system is overwhelmed.

Makes a fair amount of sense. Indeed, just out of curiousity, how long can viable viruses be preserved? Might be useful to preserve some of the current strain in your freezer to be ingested in the event of a worse pandemic, during that 6-month wait for vaccines.

Alternately, perhaps "flu tourism" to H1N1 hotspots.

I can't say "ooky mouth" and have Kenny
spit down my throat at the same time!
It's impossible!

Prrractice makes perfect, bubbe.

1. What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

A lower population level and impacted economy would lower energy demand. The global economy may enter a depression if the pandemic is severe enough and/or has a number of waves.

2. Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

If severe enough, some quarantining of items from other countries may occur, though this is much less likely to happen than a quarantining of people. The network for transporting goods may break down, causing shortages, though trying to start a business of local production during a pandemic would be very difficult. "Victory Gardens" might make a comeback, though.

3. Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

The shortages incurred from a breakdown in long logistical supply lines will likely surface and face some examination, though other issues could easily take this out of the public consciousness.

4. As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from public/official response to a virulent flu strain. Any insights?

Previous attempts to identify citizen response plans have been weak, as they suggest stocking up on 2 weeks supply of food and water. Since the waves can last 8-12 weeks and 1918 had 3 of them, the best advice would be to store food for at least one full wave, if not multiple. Grocery stores will not be able to stay open, and when a wave approaches, grocery store shelves will be wiped clean (think of what happens when a snowstorm is impending and multiply that by 10). I believe the previous administration avoided recommending a higher level of stockpiling because the poorer portions of the population might not be able to afford it.
Michael Osterholm (Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy) suggested that the panic-buying and resulting shortages being experienced in Mexico City might be prevented (or at least reduced) here if a larger portion of the citizenry prepared by stockpiling some critical food and supplies.
http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/04/28/midmorning1/ (starting at about 20:15)

There are a number of publications that can help one prepare;

- How to Prepare for a Pandemic and other Extended Disasters (caveat: my authorship)
- The Bird Flu Manual
- Crisis Preparedness Handbook

Hello TODers,

Fascinating thread, but so far, this H1N1 flu outbreak and mortality rate pales greatly in comparison to the 'white nose fungus' decimating bats. These little creatures' mortality rate is greater than 90%, and their reproductive rate is very low; generally 2 offspring in a ten-year lifespan.

If bat biologists don't quickly zero in on a Lasting Cure-->we could see biblical plague quantities of mosquitoes and other flying bugs for years to come... Let's not think about the impact of what a bat extinction could do to the 45 North American bat species.

As most here already know, mosquitoes are among the very best vectors for rapidly spreading disease to all warm-blooded creatures; huge swarms blood-feeding could also greatly speed up the mutation process for many infectious viruses and bacteria plus further accelerate enhanced cross-species mixing of bird, swine, human, and other specie-flus. Hope we never see anything like a contagious Ebola-Flu spread by mosquitoes to animals plus human-to-human transmission--Yikes!

West Nile Virus, Hanta Virus, Malaria, and other disease outbreaks are predicted or occurring now. Climate Change is also postulated to be another 'kicker' to goose outbreaks further across our little Blue Marble. We are probably near, or have already exceeded, the ecosystem's ability to withstand any more FF-sourced insecticide and pesticides [see deformities in various species]. I would much prefer that we let bats, frogs, lizards, birds, et al, eat bugs versus all species inhaling/ingesting/absorbing these chem-cocktails.

Global Dimming should not be all of us wandering through a perpetual release of insecticide fogs trying to control mosquitoes. Save the bats!

If our immune systems gradually become weaker due to chem-cocktails plus other diseases becoming more prevalent--> we might see even a normally mild flu strain suddenly having an increasing year-to-year mortality rate, and new & different flu strains being especially virulent [a human version of white nose fungus?]

Since we do not seem to be moving wholesale into Mitigation Mode: I would hate to think that our stupid trend to force Mother Nature to bat last means that our millions of helpful little bats go first.

EDIT: My dream of Optimal Global Dimming is huge amounts of bird & bat guano raining down from above as naturally super-phosphated fertilizer.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

And the people all said.... "amen."

For all fans of NPK:


Mother is doing her usual fine job of reporting on important environmental issues.

Seems to me that this is another reason to advocate local/personal production/consumption, not industrial-scale production and dissemination. Localized production (perhaps to the personal level) should minimize the amount of toxic industrial chemicals in your manure fertilizer.

I don't think this flu strain will be very virulent, the mortality rate is probably very low because of low transmittivity human to human. However, I do think it will impact transportation the same way SARS did, it's another bearish factor for oil.

Did you know that you can boost your immune system against influenza viruses with vitamin D?

This video link is interesting(warning:26 minutes long)


It is estimated that one third of the world population was infected and ill in the 1918-20 pandemic. (!)


(article pre dates present outbreak)

That kind of scenario would of course affect so many sectors it is very difficult to make a prediction about energy. The effect of course is not due to ‘deaths’ but to ppl ‘out sick’; ppl deserting their jobs; strict social isolation measures; the swamping of hospitals (the other sick get sicker or even die, nurses quit..); social disturbances; panic; etc.

However, comparing the appearance of a ‘new’ flu virus to 1918 is probably not apt. The concept of ‘virulence’ should be defined as a relationship between the pathogen, the host, and the environment. It is not just a question of ‘how nasty is this new bug.’

In 1918, the flu virus had not been identified. There were no antibiotics, no Tamiflu, Relenza and ...it was during a world war and its aftermath.

And people were malnourished ans sometimes almost starving.

Re: pandemic, prepardness, peak oil and supply chains
The following letter was published in The Irish Times

Madam, – The current concern about a pandemic risk following the outbreak of swine flu is an opportunity to assess our preparedness, and more generally to ask how good we are at acknowledging and managing risks outside our experience.

We have so become accustomed to the normal operation of our supply chains that we have become blind to the risks of a systemic failure. A number of studies, including those done by the United Nations point out that a serious pandemic could undermine the systems that maintain the function of our food supply, water, energy, communications, and health systems.

The guide issued to each household in Ireland from the Office of Emergency Planning suggests that in the case of a pandemic we each buy at least a week’s supply of food. There is probably not more than three days’ food supply available in-system, a result of our super-efficient, just-in-time delivery models.

In a crisis situation there would be little ability to adapt. What is more, once the word would go out, those with transport and access to money would be able to stock up well, while the poor or incapacitated could be left facing empty shelves. It’s been said before: we’re only nine meals from anarchy.

If the Government’s advice in this instance is wrong, it is unlikely to have taken proper cognisance of other vulnerabilities.

The risk of a pandemic is increasing as urban populations rise, industrialised agriculture expands, and growing pressure is placed upon our eco-system. Furthermore, the risk of a supply chain collapse is growing from the direct and indirect effects of a peak and decline in global oil production.

The Government, companies maintaining critical infrastructure, and citizens need to urgently reassess our vulnerabilities and how we manage risk. – Yours, etc,

Swine Flu a Hoax
Lorraine Day, former chief of Orthopedic Surgery at USF, has gathered some convincing evidence the H1N1 virus is being used to incite panic and fear. Her website at http://www.drday.com is worth a read. This is nothing more than a marketing stategy to increase demand for vaccination programs that protect against so called "Killer Viruses"
Vaccines are being developed in labs that combine human and animal viruses that seriously compromise our immune system.
This is an effort to move stockpiles of Tamiflu - which were supposed to be used during the last pandemic, the Avian Bird Flu.
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is a major stockholder in Gilead Sciences, a California biotech firm that owns the rights to Tamiflu. A CNN report from 2005 (during the Avian scare) puts Rumfelds holdings somewhere between 5 million and 25 million. This is the same firm who brought us the exitotoxin Aspartame, now known to cause serious neurological problems in humans.
More than 50,000 people a year die from complications of various flu viruses, which are transmitted through the air or through contact. 200 deaths worldwide does not make a pandemic.

Lorraine Day practiced Orthopedic Surgery at the epicenter of the early GRID/AIDS/HIV epidemic. She quit while trying to frighten the world, particularly the surgeons. She certainly succeeded in my community. After it became possible to test for HIV more than 10,000 Orthopedic Surgeons were tested voluntarily at a national meeting. Only two tested positive and they reportedly had risk factors other than doing surgery. More controversy has since followed Dr. Day.


After looking at Dr Day's website I would say it is NOT worth the read, it looks so tacky. Testimonials, get rid of your eyeglasses, barley green is back, etc - lots of bright colored buttons to click on....She may be on to something, but she sells a DVD called "You Can't Improve on God". http://www.drday.com/index.html#improve - she lost me right there.

Do NOT forget that the 1918 flu was no hoax and killed millions. The flu can do it again. Not everything is a human conspiracy. Nature sometimes just gets rid of the excess population of a species that is overrunning its eccosystem.

I decided early on that I wanted to catch this flu, and I think I have succeeded. At this point in time, the USA variety is mild and health care is still available. Plus it is warm and relatively pleasant out. After all, if you live anywhere but a bunker in the woods, it will eventually find you. So why not do it now, rather than wait for the more deadly outbreak in the fall.

Huntsville, AL has a number of probable cases that caused them to shut down schools in this county and several surrounding ones. Sending all the kiddies to the grocery store and Costco with their parents. I went to both after the probable cases were discovered. Plus we have a large illegal Mexican population and they were present at both places.

Also I work for the military and we constantly have people traveling to the hots zones on a normal business. In fact, we had a huge conference last week, were people flew in from all other the country. So why not just give in to the inevitable and get it over with.

I noticed yesterday that I was feeling unusually tired and warm, so took my temperature with two different types of thermometers. Peaked out at 99.5. Not high, but normally I am rock solid at 98.6.
Combine that with the fatigue and headache, and I think we have a winner. Still within the first 48 hours, but the symptoms are so mild I'm not going to bother with trying to pry a script for tamiflu away from the doctors.

Congratulations. However, this flu is deadly so best of luck. LINK

Alarming news came after the death toll in Mexico appeared to be leveling off yesterday. In the last 24 hours, 11 people were suspected to have died from the flu, Mexico's health secretary reported. Three were children: a 9-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy. Four were older than 60. The other nine were between 21 and 39 – unusual ages for people to die from flu because they their immune systems tend to be stronger than those of children or the elderly.

11 people were suspected to have died from the flu, Mexico's health secretary reported. Three were children: a 9-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy. Four were older than 60. The other nine were between 21 and 39"

3+4+9 = 11 ? Mexican math? but surely it must be the thuthiness itself because the article was written by Kelly Shannon Kelly from Tambe Bay Traveller, the most prestigious journal in all of Florida!

Also from the same article:

They were mostly from the Mexico City area, but resided in different neighborhoods. Mexico City has a population of 20 million.

Eleven people appear to die of flu related causes in one day - out of 20 million - gosh, that's almost LESS THAN is supposed to die of flu related illnesses in that population in that period! Goghgoner, this flu is so undeadly that less people are dying then in a normal flu year! :-)

The article end with:

Related articles:

Classic virus movies

Aargh! We're all doomed!

For more info on the flu I recommend several blogs. Two developed in response to H5N1
Dr. Henry Niman is at http://www.recombinomics.com/whats_new.html

The H5N1 blog updates with stories and comments several times a day and has lots of additional links at the sidebars

Dr Revere (web name) is not specifically about flu but has a number of good posts recently

Dr Niman believes that the infection of pigs in Alberta by a Mexican worker is worrisome as this means the virus can easily it appears not only go Pig to Human (P2H), and H2H but also H2P increasing the ways it can spread and the opportunities to pick up novel sequences. Other H1N1's have recently gained Tamiflu resistance so it is likely that the swine flu H1N1 will do the same. He has posted less than I expected since swine flu broke out - I hope that means that he has been called upon to work on a vaccine or help with the problem in other ways as he seems to be more correct over time in his understanding of how the virus changes than others.


Swine H1N1 Transmission From Human to Swine
Recombinomics Commentary 07:10
May 3, 2009
The pigs in Alberta were thought to be infected by a farm worker who returned from Mexico on April 12 and began working on the farm two days later. Officials noticed the pigs had flu-like symptoms April 24, Evans said.

Approximately 10 percent of the 2,200 pigs on the farm have been infected, Evans said.

The above comments describe the transmission of the H1N1 swine flu from an infected farm worker to swine in Alberta, Canada. This efficient transmission from human to swine suggests that much of the speculation in the past week is overly optimistic.

The virus is swine, WHO newspeak notwithstanding, and contains six swine gene segments as well as a human PB1 and an avian PB2 that have been in swine for more than a decade. Therefore, although swine to swine transmission is not unexpected, the trans mission from human to swine is striking. The H1N1 is called swine H1N1 for scientific reason. It is not a “nickname” as some media accounts mis-report, but a descriptive name that defines its normal host. The species differences in sequence are easily determined, and species jumps are rare, but can be deadly. Usually the virus replicates most effectively in is host species.

The jump to humans is cause for concern. The last time as swine flu jumped to human and was efficiently spread in the new host was in 1918.

The fact that the virus can jump from human to swine as well as swine to humans suggests this virus is not going to fade away. It has already moved into the southern hemisphere. Suspect cases have been reported in Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand, where the seasonal flu season is just beginning.

Co-circulation of human and swine H1N1 provide significant opportunities for adaptation to the human host via recombination. Two polymorphisms are already fixed in seasonal flu, H274Y for Tamiflu resistance, and E627K in PB2 which allows the virus to more efficiently replicate at lower temperatures.

These changes can lead to adaptation in humans, as well antiviral resistance. Therefore, the evolution of the H1N1 over the summer will be closely monitored. The current H1N1 has already acquired tandem human H1N1 polymorphism in HA, which may have led to the species jump from swine to human.

Thus, the efficient transmission from swine to human and vice verse, raises concerns that further adaptation to humans can lead to a fall pandemic similar to 1918. The species jump indicates the virus can adapt to a new host, and additional acquisitions over the summer continue to be a cause for concern

I go with the science in your comment.
An interesting article in Saturday's UK Guardian by Felicity Lawrence
It discusses swine flu and the mega pig factories outsourced to low-cost crowded countries like Mexico - that is a large portion of USA pork.
I have seen the graves of British military / nursing units killed by the flu 1918/1919 in Skopje now in Macedonia after hostilities ceased in the region. All young fit people mostly in their 20s - killed presumably by 'cytokine storm'.

Phil, thanks for the link to the article. Smithfield and the other large pork producers have created a mess, but not just in other countries. In 2006 Rolling Stone (yep!) ran this article about the Pig Farms in the US http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/12840743/porks_dirty_secret_t...
I have it from someone who knows that most everything in the article is true and not exaggerated. These places are ticking time bombs - we don't even need to torture anyone to find them, just start sniffing.

I understand that Egypt has slaughtered their pig herds - yep they had some pigs - probably won't help them, but if and when swine flu gets there at least they won't have the religious backlash
But the news that Alberta pigs have caught the flu from a Mexican worker makes the Egyptian slaughter seem more reasonable than it first was.

The 1918 flu had a mild wave in the spring and a deadly wave in the fall and another wave in 1919. Other flu pandemics have had similar tho less defined waves. We may not know about this one for sure until fall.

Also visit www.flutrackers.com - lots of discussion in the forum

Dr Niman is working on the map here : http://flutracker.rhizalabs.com/ and there is another collaborative map at http://www.mapswineflu.com

1. What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

Pandemic in fall (Sept - October) 2009 could be catastrophic generally.
* People struggling with essential optimism, nutrition and shelter.
* Markets undergoing negative correction.
* Economy most likely in worse shape than now
* Potential for post GOM storm supply complications

That could really knock down "new investment in low future profit ventures"

Fall 2010 is a long way off.

2. Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

They do not appear related to me.

3. Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

Well, Katrina, Gustav and Ike were big alarm bells to JIT supply lines, has anything changed.

"....What might delay you, Just might, save you
Destroy everything you touch......" Ladytron

4. People do crazy things when they panic. As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from public/official response to a virulent flu strain. Any insights?

Well, we know that the unfortunate, but predictable, consequences could be bad enough, eg airline bankrupcies, chaos in health care system, so why search for hidden reasons to be depressed:-}

A really nasty flu in fall could give the world a bad dose of pneumonia.


This article posted over at TAE explains one of the themes I've been clumsily treading on and gettring flamed for - Consciousness Creates The Universe. Some commenters seem to like it as well, ahhh it's good to not feel so alone.


Based on the following experience by a WSJ reporter, it appears to me that we have very little idea how many H1N1 cases are actually out there. Anyone have any idea if total deaths have increased of late in major cities?


No answer for your question but Mexico's death rate suddenly dropped from circa 200 to circa 20. Wonder what the other 180 died of then. Something smells a little fishy don't it.

No, 200 were never confirmed, the testing takes time, some more probably will be shown to have had flu, other to have died from other diseases.

1. What impact would a global pandemic in 2009 or 2010 have on our future energy landscape?

2. Would such a pandemic accelerate a movement towards relocalization and away from globalization?

3. Would a global pandemic have any silver linings, either in fact, or in raising awareness of how fragile a just-in-time food/energy/water system is?

4. People do crazy things when they panic. As with anything uncontrollable (and with many things that are), there will likely be some unintended consequences from public/official response to a virulent flu strain. Any insights?

To answer the questions literally, yes, a pandemic might be "helpful" if we realize that the cause of these pandemics is factory farming.

I'd like to suggest that the intent of the discussion be reversed. It's stated as "to discuss the implications of H1N1 (or future pandemics) on energy." Why not reverse this and consider the implications of energy on H1N1 (or future pandemics)? If we can't ask this question on TOD, how do we expect the public to get the connection?

This type of flu (and others which will probably eventually emerge) really should be called "factory farm flu." By crowding animals together, a whole range of new diseases is emerging that was unknown just 100 years ago. Factory farming is part and parcel of the drive towards overconsumption, "everything in excess." Instead of just having one roll of the roulette wheel, so to speak, factory farms give emerging viruses thousands of rolls. Sooner or later the virus will get lucky.

In an "energy descent," factory farms (which are energy-intensive) would be highly vulnerable. Shutting down or highly restricting such factory farms, either as a result of deliberate policy for energy descent or as an aftershock of energy collapse, would restrict such pandemics greatly.

"CDC Confirms Ties to Virus First Discovered in U.S. Pig Factories"

"What You Should Know about Swine Flu: Q&A with Dr. Michael Greger"


if there's still interest in this perhaps

I found www.birdflubook.com to be a particularly helpful site and can help answer all your questions.

If it impacts the economy then there must be a correlation to energy

"The U.S. National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project “Mapping the Global Future” identified a pandemic as the single most important threat to the global economy.2736 Realizing that the prospects for preventing the pandemic are practically nonexistent, chief scientists like Osterholm are working with the business community to help ensure an infrastructure for survivors of what is being predicted in policy journals as the “shutdown of the global economic system.”2737 Speaking as associate director of the National Center for Food Protection and Defense for the Department of Homeland Security to a conference of agricultural bankers, Osterholm laid it out: “This is going to be the most catastrophic thing in my lifetime. When this situation unfolds, we will shut down global markets overnight. There will not be movement of goods; there will not be movement of people. This will last for at least a year, maybe two.”2738 These could well be years characterized by “utter chaos,”2739 he said; “panic would reign.”2740 "

impact on energy?
Perhaps we need to focus more on impact on supplies of essentials like food and water.

Living in the country (Samoa)that saw the highest death rate per capita in 1918 from the "Flu" there is a particular interest in anything along these lines.

Ironically the only country in the world not to suffer any deaths from 1918 Flu is only 40 miles away (American Samoa) due to the blockade there for 18 months

Isolation is no longer an option in todays world so good luck.

Dr. Jeff Masters posts a recent study of conditions (including weather) that are favourable or unfavouable for the spread of flu. It is found at: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1215

Worth reading.

Flu infections increase under cold or dry conditions
To test these hypotheses, researchers at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York did a study in 2007 that looked at flu transmission among guinea pigs, which are highly susceptible to human influenza and easily transmit the virus to other guinea pigs (Lowen et al., 2007)- - -