Monday, April 03, 2006

Ratcheting Up The "EWWW" Factor

That's the effect of this History-Channel-esque Captain Chirps story in the London Telegraph (via Double-H):

Mass burials are being considered by the Home Office as part of contingency plans for a possible avian flu pandemic.

A "prudent worst case" assessment suggested that 320,000 could die in Britain if the H5N1 virus mutated into a form contagious between humans, according to a confidential report.

The paper - said to have been discussed by a Cabinet committee - said that the huge number of deaths would lead to delays of up to 17 weeks in burying or cremating victims. It warned that the prospect of "common burial" would stir up images of the mass pits used to bury victims of the Great Plague in 1665.

"It might involve a large number of coffins buried in the same place at the same time, in such a way that allowed for individual graves to be marked," said the report.

Town halls could deal with what it termed a "base case" of 48,000 deaths in England and Wales during a 15-week pandemic.

I wonder what it says about our culture that we can't get enough of this stuff on TV or in movies as long as it's fictional, but let it happen for real and we scream bloody murder and blame everybody but ourselves for being unprepared.

Having had the flu over the weekend, I have to admit the thought of H5N1 avian influenza did cross my mind once or twice amongst multiple showings of X2: X-Men United. Now that I'm quasi-miraculously recovered, I'm hoping that's what I had, that the modern "death angel" will now skip over my house. A house that will be either empty or full of sick people later this week, depending on how things go.

Kind of like this blog today before I got here just now.

But if what I just reconnoitered proves the opportunity I hope it is, it could be getting a might less lonely for Jen and I.

Stay tuned - and keep your Lysol at the ready.