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Flu Pandemic Could Impact the Internet

DailyKos is reporting that a influenza pandemic could bring down the Internets. If you saw the new Pandemic Severity Index provided by the government you know that is hardly the only problem a severe influenza outbreak could create.
Meanwhile, in this country the new CDC guidelines that now rank pandemics in terms of categories 1 through 5, similar to hurricanes, are making the rounds in the media, and working its way through the government bureaucracy down to the states. The meat of the proposal? if there's a category 4 or 5 pandemic (H5N1 or some other), the schools in your town will close for up to three months, and large public gatherings will be canceled. That's because kids are a major vector in spreading flu and other respiratory diseases (ask any parent of a second grader or day care kid).

Did you know that? Would that affect you or your kids in any way? You bet it would. The task now is to figure out how to mitigate the consequences of such a move. For example, in addition to whether you can afford to stay home, the schools may have to turn to long distance learning. Businesses would have to telecommute where possible. And the kids, now being home and unable to go to the mall, would have to figure out how to entertain themselves.

Any chance thay'd - uh - want to use the internets? And would it be prepared for the onslaught of Kids At Home?
Not only could a major deadly flu outbreak cause net congestion but millions of sick people may make it difficult for some workers to fix problems and reconnect broken broadband connections. A lack of information as the result of having no Internet or tv access could also spread panic and chaos. However, establishing order is probably already going to be a problem with or without the Net if we are unfortunate enough to end up with one of the Cat 5 epidemics where over 1.8 million people die.

Posted on February 14, 2007

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