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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu could Cripple U.S. Economy

Recently the Congressional Budget Officer estimated the effect on a global swine flu on America. Already crippled from the unprecendented job losses and foreclosures a left hook from the swine flu just may put us down for the count.

The CBO speculates that, while the majority of Americans would not actually get sick, they would feel the effects of the pandemiic, in their pocketbooks. According to their estimate, a severe flu pandemic could infect 90 million people, result in the death of more than 2 million and would cause a 4.25 percent drop in the nation's gross domestic product. A milder pandemic, similar to those in 1957 and 1968, could lead to 75 million people becoming sick, 100,000 deaths and a drop of 1 percent in the nation's GDP.

All leveld of government would have to re-allocate dollars in order to care for the sick, instead of bailing out banks and nationalizing corporations. This shift in priority would put the breaks on our alleged improved economy.

In addition the CBO offer the following insights:
  1. People will try minimize public venues where the potential for exposure will be the greatest. Airlines, sports, entertainment, malls, movies theaters, concerts, and even schools could be impacted.
  2. Mass transit ridership will plummet.
  3. Work force absenteeism rates could sky rocket.
  4. Hospitals could become overwhelmed.

Using the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak as a model, the CBO could produce the following results-

  • 80% drop in demand for arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services.
  • 67% drop in demand for transportation and warehousing.
  • 10% loss of demand for agriculture, mining, construction, retail trade, finance.
  • 15% increase in demand for health care and social assistance.

We are monitoring this situation and will give updates as soon as they come forth. Readers of this blog are advised to not panic. According to the CDC here are few things that can help you stay healthy.

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  5. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  6. If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

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