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Dave Bloke

What percentage of human die-off would cause major disruption?

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We always get the project fearmongers saying a 1918 style Spanish flu epidemic would cause major disruption but 20 million people worldwide? We'd not even notice it, they'd be replaced in weeks.

So what level would cause major disruption? 10%, 20%... 50%, 75%?

I look around our office and I don't think we'd really do too badly if 50% of the staff keeled over. We might find no-one really need our product that much but we'd cope ok. Of course if only the productive people died it wouldn't be so good.

I think at 75% we'd begin to have some pretty severe disruption.

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The question is poorly stated.

I'd imagine that 'die off effects' would have three stages:

  • During the die-off
  • Immediately after the die-off
  • Medium to long term effects

I'd imagine that in the 'during' stage anything over about 5% would be catastrophic and would lead to society destabilising.  This would be highly dependent on the age-range affected, though. 

For the 'immediately after' stage, I'd probably suggest something like 25% could be manageable.  There would, of course, be significant effects, but society would sort itself out fairly quickly.

For medium to long term effects, I'd have thought that humanity could cope with absolutely massive losses (albeit with significant effects on society).

 

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I have spent the past week watching several documentaries on the 1918 flu pandemic. There are several on YT and make fascinating watching. There are also some good Ted talks on flu and pandemics generally - of course, referencing 1918.

The world was a hell of a lot less complex in 1918 and considerably less populous, but the numbers of people succumbing to flu almost broke countries. The health care services were over-run at first.

Governments at both national and local levels made arrogant, stupid mistakes that only spread the virus faster resulting in far more deaths. Just as we have seen UK governments do similar with foot & mouth here in recent times, I suspect any future flu pandemic will be equally bad managed. The results being life-ending for vast numbers of us.

To answer your question directly, it would be people getting ill in so many jobs that most of us either take for granted or know nothing off - food and fuel transportation, power supply, water supply and sewage, the transportation network, healthcare of course and things like law & order, the emergency services.

I suspect it is not the percentage affected that is initially the problem but rather who, and what they do that is important, being the major issue. There would also reach a point where people would stop going to work once infection rates are high. Plus, of course, what to do with the dead.

Walking around a couple of small Tesco and Co-Op shops today there were clearly numerous people with flu-like symptoms, other bacterial stuff, etc, sneezing and coughing - we are a very ignorant and selfish species. When the next pandemic comes - and it is coming - I think we have little chance.

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4 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

I have spent the past week watching several documentaries on the 1918 flu pandemic. There are several on YT and make fascinating watching. There are also some good Ted talks on flu and pandemics generally - of course, referencing 1918.

The world was a hell of a lot less complex in 1918 and considerably less populous, but the numbers of people succumbing to flu almost broke countries. The health care services were over-run at first.

Governments at both national and local levels made arrogant, stupid mistakes that only spread the virus faster resulting in far more deaths. Just as we have seen UK governments do similar with foot & mouth here in recent times, I suspect any future flu pandemic will be equally bad managed. The results being life-ending for vast numbers of us.

To answer your question directly, it would be people getting ill in so many jobs that most of us either take for granted or know nothing off - food and fuel transportation, power supply, water supply and sewage, the transportation network, healthcare of course and things like law & order, the emergency services.

I suspect it is not the percentage affected that is initially the problem but rather who, and what they do that is important, being the major issue. There would also reach a point where people would stop going to work once infection rates are high. Plus, of course, what to do with the dead.

Walking around a couple of small Tesco and Co-Op shops today there were clearly numerous people with flu-like symptoms, other bacterial stuff, etc, sneezing and coughing - we are a very ignorant and selfish species. When the next pandemic comes - and it is coming - I think we have little chance.

Better chance of survival at Waitrose.

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Well, a lot depends on what time of year the die off occurs, and where you are.  For example, a die off of 10% in winter in Australia - bad, but not society ending.  A die off in high summer and the water and electricity grids shut down - you're talking Sydney on fire.  (not Melbourne - we're made of better stuff).  Likewise, imagine if Chicago, currently facing -40c, lost power due to essential workers going sick.  Hundreds of thousands would die pretty fast.

In some societies - such as Welsh mountain villages - I'd imagine no impact unless a wave of refugees from the cities hit them.  They have water, all houses have coal fires, and there is enough food in the local farms to keep things going.  

Longer term, once international trade stops - and it would pretty quick if a pandemic started - places like the New York, Californian cities, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, would start running out of easy food pretty damn fast.  Those cities with groups of low IQ antisocials - most US cities, many UK cities, some Australia cities, all french cities - would quickly devolve into warring ganglands.

Most human rights legislation and due process would be torn up overnight.  Caught looting?  Hung.  Attempted rape? Hung.

 

In short, anything more than 5% human losses in any society and I think we'd be back to the 1700's pretty bloody fast.  When it happens, your best bet is either leave immediately to a base in the countryside at least 2 days walk away from the nearest town, or stay in your community and hope your group is bigger and better lead than those nearby.

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3 hours ago, wherebee said:

Well, a lot depends on what time of year the die off occurs, and where you are.  For example, a die off of 10% in winter in Australia - bad, but not society ending.  A die off in high summer and the water and electricity grids shut down - you're talking Sydney on fire.  (not Melbourne - we're made of better stuff).  Likewise, imagine if Chicago, currently facing -40c, lost power due to essential workers going sick.  Hundreds of thousands would die pretty fast.

In some societies - such as Welsh mountain villages - I'd imagine no impact unless a wave of refugees from the cities hit them.  They have water, all houses have coal fires, and there is enough food in the local farms to keep things going.  

Longer term, once international trade stops - and it would pretty quick if a pandemic started - places like the New York, Californian cities, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, would start running out of easy food pretty damn fast.  Those cities with groups of low IQ antisocials - most US cities, many UK cities, some Australia cities, all french cities - would quickly devolve into warring ganglands.

Most human rights legislation and due process would be torn up overnight.  Caught looting?  Hung.  Attempted rape? Hung.

 

In short, anything more than 5% human losses in any society and I think we'd be back to the 1700's pretty bloody fast.  When it happens, your best bet is either leave immediately to a base in the countryside at least 2 days walk away from the nearest town, or stay in your community and hope your group is bigger and better lead than those nearby.

Agree. The problems would be created by panic and fear in the remaining people, and anything over a few % would trigger it. I’d imagine that most western govts have martial law plans that would be imposed fairly brutally. 

The silver lining would be that every single BTL landlord in the world with any debt on his properties would go bankrupt. 

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There are several things being conflated in the phrase die-off.

Long term steady decline to 1% of current population would lead to a wonderful world IMHO so in that sense 99%.  Just think what a paradise the UK would be if its population was 600,000.

However if the die off were caused by a highly infectious disease or a less infectious disease with horrendous symptoms like Ebola then most people would head home and lock the door until it passed so short term chaos.

If the die off was less virulent but affecting mainly working people in their prime like Spanish flu then there would be major disruption and retired people would have to return to work.

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13 hours ago, Dave Bloke said:

We always get the project fearmongers saying a 1918 style Spanish flu epidemic would cause major disruption but 20 million people worldwide? We'd not even notice it, they'd be replaced in weeks.

So what level would cause major disruption? 10%, 20%... 50%, 75%?

I look around our office and I don't think we'd really do too badly if 50% of the staff keeled over. We might find no-one really need our product that much but we'd cope ok. Of course if only the productive people died it wouldn't be so good.

I think at 75% we'd begin to have some pretty severe disruption.

 

TBF, I think that, after a point, the bigger the die-off the less the disruption

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2 hours ago, swiss_democracy_for_all said:

Agree. The problems would be created by panic and fear in the remaining people, and anything over a few % would trigger it. I’d imagine that most western govts have martial law plans that would be imposed fairly brutally. 

The silver lining would be that every single BTL landlord in the world with any debt on his properties would go bankrupt. 

The 1918 Flu Epidemic happened at the end of a global war that had already caused major disruption in societies so untangling the impact of one from the other is difficult . In addition the world was still industrialising and its population was still on a major upswing so the demographic deficit did not last long.

If you look at the Black Death in mid 14th Century the situation was different. Medieval economic development and population growth had  essentially peaked about 1300 and climate shifts reducing harvests had already started to put the system under pressure. When the plague came it wiped out somewhere between a quarter and a half of the population in many areas. The impact was significant but not all negative. The balance of power between land owners and workers shifted hugely in favour of the latter when feudal overlords found there was a shortage of labour to work their estates.   Social controls also began to weaken. In England the period from the mid 14th century to the early 16th Century saw many peasant revolts as the ruling class tried to retain its control over society. There was also endemic conflict within the elite as they fought to control scarcer human resources leading to the Wars of the Roses where a good proportion of he traditional aristocracy were  killed fighting each other.

Our current position is now getting closer to that pre Black Death situation than many realise. Though it may be difficult to imagine with current migration trends global birth rates are stalling even in places like China and India. The impact of this shift has not been fully felt yet because increasing life expectancy has meant populations are still growing. A pandemic now would have a major impact on the system because I dont think the people dying would be replaced as readily or as quickly as in 1918. I think it would also mark a big shift in things such as land prices and the relation to capital and labour. Personally I am not sure if we are at that tipping point historically yet but it is coming. Our world is predicated on beliefs about growth most of which comes down simply to the expectation that there will be more people around tomorrow than today. This is an assumption that over arches everything else including our fetish about economic cycles (boom/ bust, credit bubbles, deflation, inflation etc, ).  If that underpinning factor gets kicked away for any length of time (i.e more than a century) then all bets are off.

 

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There have been innumerable novels on this theme, films, TV programmes. Off the top of my head I can think of two, both science fiction: Day of the Triffids, On the beach. There are a few more books I've read on the theme. I cant remember the titles.

When I start to dwell on the topic my initial thoughts are how pleasant it would be living in a less crowded place, then the disadvantages that a sudden and catastrophic reduction in people would cause lead me to stop my train of thought and get on with something else.

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58 minutes ago, sleepwello'nights said:

There have been innumerable novels on this theme, films, TV programmes. Off the top of my head I can think of two, both science fiction: Day of the Triffids, On the beach. There are a few more books I've read on the theme. I cant remember the titles.

When I start to dwell on the topic my initial thoughts are how pleasant it would be living in a less crowded place, then the disadvantages that a sudden and catastrophic reduction in people would cause lead me to stop my train of thought and get on with something else.

That's the thing.

Less people is always better but big population declines are usually caused by catastrophes and bring other catastrophes.

The Khmer Rouge were aiming, initially, to achieve a rural idyll in Camodia by getting rid of the towns and cities but their method of getting there was mass killings and torture.

Ultimately it may have succeeded but the price would have been decades of hell on earth; and so not worth paying.

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On ‎02‎/‎02‎/‎2019 at 20:49, The Masked Tulip said:

I have spent the past week watching several documentaries on the 1918 flu pandemic. There are several on YT and make fascinating watching. There are also some good Ted talks on flu and pandemics generally - of course, referencing 1918.

The world was a hell of a lot less complex in 1918 and considerably less populous, but the numbers of people succumbing to flu almost broke countries. The health care services were over-run at first.

Governments at both national and local levels made arrogant, stupid mistakes that only spread the virus faster resulting in far more deaths. Just as we have seen UK governments do similar with foot & mouth here in recent times, I suspect any future flu pandemic will be equally bad managed. The results being life-ending for vast numbers of us.

To answer your question directly, it would be people getting ill in so many jobs that most of us either take for granted or know nothing off - food and fuel transportation, power supply, water supply and sewage, the transportation network, healthcare of course and things like law & order, the emergency services.

I suspect it is not the percentage affected that is initially the problem but rather who, and what they do that is important, being the major issue. There would also reach a point where people would stop going to work once infection rates are high. Plus, of course, what to do with the dead.

Walking around a couple of small Tesco and Co-Op shops today there were clearly numerous people with flu-like symptoms, other bacterial stuff, etc, sneezing and coughing - we are a very ignorant and selfish species. When the next pandemic comes - and it is coming - I think we have little chance.

Scary stuff TMT I guess if one lives in a big city you are fucked, is there much you can do other than stockpile some flu tablets and food

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1 minute ago, Talking Monkey said:

Scary stuff TMT I guess if one lives in a big city you are fucked, is there much you can do other than stockpile some flu tablets and food

 

Being in remote locations did not help those in the 1918 pandemic. Hardly populated remote areas, such as Alaska, had high infection and mortality rates. No really knows how many died in India - estimates between 20 million and 50 million. There probably is a classified file in Whitehall somewhere with a guesstimate.

Arrogance of some doctors did more harm than good. Arrogance of some politicians in the US - some of whom made grandiose claims that flu would not come to their area - resulted in big rallys for the war drive only for thousands to get infected at those rallys.

Politicians and journos will be slow to catch on in any future pandemic. Then they will be give out foolish advice and information. I was watching a medic this morning talking about Ebola in the Conga. She said that the movement between Africa and the West means that Ebola carriers could be moving amongst us long before anyone is detected. Even worse, is the trafficking of bush meat from Africa to Africans living in the West - bush meat often being linked to Ebola.

 

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9 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

Being in remote locations did not help those in the 1918 pandemic. Hardly populated remote areas, such as Alaska, had high infection and mortality rates. No really knows how many died in India - estimates between 20 million and 50 million. There probably is a classified file in Whitehall somewhere with a guesstimate.

Arrogance of some doctors did more harm than good. Arrogance of some politicians in the US - some of whom made grandiose claims that flu would not come to their area - resulted in big rallys for the war drive only for thousands to get infected at those rallys.

Politicians and journos will be slow to catch on in any future pandemic. Then they will be give out foolish advice and information. I was watching a medic this morning talking about Ebola in the Conga. She said that the movement between Africa and the West means that Ebola carriers could be moving amongst us long before anyone is detected. Even worse, is the trafficking of bush meat from Africa to Africans living in the West - bush meat often being linked to Ebola.

 

fuck it i'll have to muscle it out with Lemsip, and hope my Yorkshire genes see me through

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I think you could erase every single person in continental Africa and the rest of the world wouldn't even notice apart from Mr Geldoff.

After that it could be left to the animals as the worlds most important wildlife sanctuary and park.

Most of the worlds critically endangered species saved in one go.

Result.

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1 minute ago, Chewing Grass said:

I think you could erase every single person in continental Africa and the rest of the world wouldn't even notice apart from Mr Geldoff.

After that it could be left to the animals as the worlds most important wildlife sanctuary and park.

Most of the worlds critically endangered species saved in one go.

Result.

 

One of the benefits of Sweden becoming a third world country is that BBC types will no longer need to go all the way to Africa to make their virtual signalling charity appeals.

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Just now, Talking Monkey said:

fuck it i'll have to muscle it out with Lemsip, and hope my Yorkshire genes see me through

I’m going to carry on regularly drinking freshly squeezed lemon, freshly grated ginger and a spoonful of local honey in hot water. If I feel a tickle in my throat I suck on and chew raw garlic....it’s a bit revolting really but I have never had flu and rarely get a cold.

Another top tip is to try when you’re out and about to never touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Easier said than done. Give your hands a good hot wash when you return home.

Like TMT, Swissy and others I loathe people who are coughing and sneezing in public releasing germs for us to catch. 

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2 minutes ago, Van Lady said:

I’m going to carry on regularly drinking freshly squeezed lemon, freshly grated ginger and a spoonful of local honey in hot water. If I feel a tickle in my throat I suck on and chew raw garlic....it’s a bit revolting really but I have never had flu and rarely get a cold.

Another top tip is to try when you’re out and about to never touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Easier said than done. Give your hands a good hot wash when you return home.

Like TMT, Swissy and others I loathe people who are coughing and sneezing in public releasing germs for us to catch. 

Thanks EE I'll have a go making the lemon drink

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Just now, Van Lady said:

I’m going to carry on regularly drinking freshly squeezed lemon, freshly grated ginger and a spoonful of local honey in hot water. If I feel a tickle in my throat I suck on and chew raw garlic....it’s a bit revolting really but I have never had flu and rarely get a cold.

Another top tip is to try when you’re out and about to never touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Easier said than done. Give your hands a good hot wash when you return home.

Like TMT, Swissy and others I loathe people who are coughing and sneezing in public releasing germs for us to catch. 

 

Never having had flu could mean that you are one of the carrier incubators.

I was in M&s food hall this morning looking for some yellow stickered food and ended up trapped in an aisle by two elderly ladies and their shopping carts. One at the side of me began sneezing. I couldn't go back as she was sneezing slightly behind and across me. In front of me was the second elderly lady. I asked her to move so that I could get past. She just laughed at me. I asked her again, pointing out that I wanted to get away from the sneezing lady. She just laughed again and did not budge.

Bitch!

 

Just now, Talking Monkey said:

Thanks EE I'll have a go making the lemon drink

 

Yep, fresh lemon and honey in some kind of hot liquid - tea for example or warm water - is the way to go. I do the garlic thing as well. I also make the fresh chicken soup now as it is supposed to help the cilla of the airways move more easily. Try anything.

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5 minutes ago, The Masked Tulip said:

 

Never having had flu could mean that you are one of the carrier incubators.

I was in M&s food hall this morning looking for some yellow stickered food and ended up trapped in an aisle by two elderly ladies and their shopping carts. One at the side of me began sneezing. I couldn't go back as she was sneezing slightly behind and across me. In front of me was the second elderly lady. I asked her to move so that I could get past. She just laughed at me. I asked her again, pointing out that I wanted to get away from the sneezing lady. She just laughed again and did not budge.

Bitch!

 

 

Yep, fresh lemon and honey in some kind of hot liquid - tea for example or warm water - is the way to go. I do the garlic thing as well. I also make the fresh chicken soup now as it is supposed to help the cilla of the airways move more easily. Try anything.

The first sentence o.O

I find that a bit disconcerting that I could be infecting others while not succumbing myself. I hope not!

I remember you posting about a gadget..multi pot?.....good to hear that you’re making fresh chicken soup. One of my favourites is chicken and rice soup. I use any fresh chicken to make mine, thighs...drumsticks, snip meat off and throw the bones in.

I suppose it’s better to do what our granny’s done and use a chicken carcass to make proper stock simmered for hours but at least we’re trying.

My belief is that cooking from scratch helps to avoid imbibing unnecessary additives and is better for our immune system. It’s extremely hard to avoid unnatural additives though because they’re used in soil, animal rearing etc

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Everyone is focusing on illness. There are other ways we could see a mass extinction.  This is my favourite 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859

if this happened now, everything we rely on would stop working. Cars, computers, iPads, phones.  The just in time delivery system would be fooked. We would all die from starvation as food rotted in some warehouse somewhere else.   

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