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March 13, 2006 12:23 PM   Subscribe

The bird flu is coming, and Secretary of Health and Human Services wants us to be ready. How? By storing canned tuna and powdered milk under our beds.
posted by ewagoner (58 comments total)

 
i wish it would hurry up and get here so you guys will shut up about it
posted by keswick at 12:27 PM on March 13, 2006


So at least we won't be hungry or thirsty when we all die. This would've helped during Katrina too!
posted by wakko at 12:27 PM on March 13, 2006


Where did you get the survivalist bullshit from the linked articles? Even the most die hard DHS panicmongers say to be prepared with a two week supply of goods.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:28 PM on March 13, 2006




I see we have moved on from duct tape and plastic.
posted by edgeways at 12:36 PM on March 13, 2006


Good, because that stuff tastes terrible.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:37 PM on March 13, 2006


The birds NEVER look under the beds!
posted by Balisong at 12:38 PM on March 13, 2006


You may survive the bird flu, but if you eat all that tuna, the mercury poisoning will fucking kill you.
posted by psmealey at 12:40 PM on March 13, 2006


This plan does not mention duct tape; therefore I suspect fraud. When Mormongeddon comes, I'm going to have some basic infrastructure problems, aside from figuring out where I'm going to keep a years worth of food.
Week 53: Figure out what to do with 700lbs of wheat. Whole wheat can go rancid, and that's assuming it doesn't go moldy. Sure, you could assume refridgeration, but why would you when you're preparing for the apocalypse?
posted by boo_radley at 12:42 PM on March 13, 2006


Rumsfeld Makes Killing On Bird Flu Drug

I always say follow the money. If I remember it went like this.

1. For about 2 weeks there was a huge push in media about how bird flu was going to kill us all.

2. The government gives 1.2 billion to two pharms to produce a vaccine that is almost certain to offer no protection at all.

It is sad. I would have rather had rural schools open for another year instead of selling off almost 10% of our public lands to do it.
posted by Mr_Zero at 12:43 PM on March 13, 2006


There are so many reasons to own a gun these days.
posted by bardic at 12:44 PM on March 13, 2006


And don't forget that if you eat ergot-ridden wheat you'll probably hallucinate about everyone around you being a witch.

So, you'll want to stock up on matches and some good strong rope.
posted by clevershark at 12:44 PM on March 13, 2006


Here is what some prominent officials and health experts have said about bird flu:

President Bush
...
posted by iamck at 12:46 PM on March 13, 2006


For some better suggestions, see the Flu Wiki, particularly the page on personal and family preparedness. Short version: personal hygiene, general emergency preparedness.
posted by russilwvong at 12:49 PM on March 13, 2006


So at least we won't be hungry or thirsty when we all die...
When Mormongeddon comes...
I see we have moved on from duct tape and plastic...
The birds NEVER look under the beds!...

and
And don't forget that if you eat ergot-ridden wheat you'll probably hallucinate about everyone around you being a witch...
So, you'll want to stock up on matches and some good strong rope.

ROFL!!!
posted by nickyskye at 12:57 PM on March 13, 2006


Even the most die hard DHS panicmongers say to be prepared with a two week supply of goods.

For what? You don't starve to death from the flu. A two weeks supply of Immodium and Pedialyte would be considerably more useful.
posted by fshgrl at 1:01 PM on March 13, 2006


For what? You don't starve to death from the flu. A two weeks supply of Immodium and Pedialyte would be considerably more useful.

The idea is to immobilize transmission vectors. Grocery stores could be a hotbed of virus-swapping.
posted by sourwookie at 1:08 PM on March 13, 2006


So, they're talking quarantine or what?
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:09 PM on March 13, 2006


So, they're talking quarantine or what?

Yes.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:15 PM on March 13, 2006




Bwaaaaainths! Bwaaaaainths!
posted by tkchrist at 1:23 PM on March 13, 2006


Oh, and don't forget, cats are known to be vulnerable to bird flu. So it's best if you have your pets put down now. The better to avoid a panic.
posted by slatternus at 1:23 PM on March 13, 2006


Thank god we have bird flu to be afraid of. That terrorist thing was starting to wear off.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:27 PM on March 13, 2006


It's just a ploy so that the rich can stock up on frozen chicken without inflating the price.
posted by furtive at 1:29 PM on March 13, 2006


"Duck Season!"
posted by keswick at 1:35 PM on March 13, 2006


The idea is to immobilize transmission vectors.

Presumably this is for after they pry the car keys from everyones' cold dead hands?
posted by fshgrl at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2006


Oh, and don't forget, cats are known to be vulnerable to bird flu.

No. Cats hunt. It's what they do. If they eat infected prey, they will become ill. If your cat is indoors and hunts nothing more than the kibble in its bowl, then no worries.
posted by grabbingsand at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2006


Tuna and powdered milk? Is that what we're supposed to take if we can't afford Tamiflu?
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2006


Dick Cheney owns stock in Starkist and Carnation
posted by Mick at 1:39 PM on March 13, 2006


If services go down because a lot of people are sick, don't expect many stores to be open, trucks to be shipping in food, etc. Stocking up on food, water and medicines (replaced as they expire) gives you a little backup for that kind of scenario.

Bwaaaaainths! Bwaaaaainths!

*snort*
OK, we'll skip the Peking Duck.
posted by rosemere at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2006


"Duck Season!"
posted by keswick at 1:35 PM PST on March 13 [!]


No, rabbit season.

(Some are wondering how much death there will be in Africa, as much of the protein in Africa is in chicken form. Rabbits and chickens do a rather good job of converting plant to flesh. Fish are good at it too.)
posted by rough ashlar at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2006


So What are we to make of these suggestions from the Secretary of HHS? If the big bad "Bird Flu" hits, we'll all be under quarantine? Why else would you need to stock up on fucking tuna and powdered milk? Something sounds pretty fucked up here in their planning. Oh, yeah. Will this be likeliest to happen in all the blue and purple states around the beginning of November 2006, by any chance? Hmmm? That would be a coincidence, no?

I'm not one to make light of predictions regarding serious public health issues, but doesn't this whole "bird flu" scenario seem a little too convenient? I mean, it certainly is a whole lot more controllable from a political perspective, isn't it? It's not radical Islamic, CIA-trained, Saudi and UAE operatives -- now its infected ducks and chickens that will terrorize the American people. Wha! Run for your lives! Orange alert!

Who will object to draconian "health security" measures to control "panic"? How can you possibly protest? And if you do, shouldn't you be arrested? Confined? Clearly, you are no longer a political threat -- you are a public health threat. Enjoy your stay in the bright and shiny new detention camps that Halliburton won the no-bid contract to build in case of an "immigration crisis", sucka!

One is not being paranoid if they really are out to get one...right?
posted by mooncrow at 1:41 PM on March 13, 2006


Thousands of Jewish mothers are throwing their hands up in defeat as they realise that there is finally one thing chicken soup just can't fix.
posted by longbaugh at 1:42 PM on March 13, 2006


So What are we to make of these suggestions from the Secretary of HHS? If the big bad "Bird Flu" hits, we'll all be under quarantine?

Yes, mooncrow, I'm telling you plainly, if the bird flu hits you will be under quarantine. Federal agencies have created contingency plans to maintain operations under a two-week quarantine in urban areas. Disaster relief agencies predict they will need two weeks to either establish supply lines to those locked down or to lift quarantine.

Conspiracy to defraud or not, that's what they are saying.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:48 PM on March 13, 2006


Pollomacho: Where did you get the survivalist bullshit from the linked articles?

Maybe from the first paragraph of the second link in the FPP:
"In a remarkable speech over the weekend, Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt recommended that Americans start storing canned tuna and powdered milk under their beds as the prospect of a deadly bird flu outbreak approaches the United States"
Also, elsewhere:
"Planning for a possible flu pandemic shouldn't be just a government task but should be a priority for all households and businesses, officials said at a statewide summit Friday.

'When you go to the store and buy three cans of tuna fish, buy a fourth and put it under the bed,' Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said. 'When you go to the store to buy some milk, pick up a box of powdered milk, put it under the bed. When you do that for a period of four to six months, you are going to have a couple of weeks of food. And that's what we're talking about.'" [source]
No duct tape required!
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on March 13, 2006


operations under a two-week quarantine in urban areas.

And how shall the economic engine of just in time shipping to businesses work for that time?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:55 PM on March 13, 2006


So that line equates a year's supply of food? Or was that just hyperbole?
posted by Pollomacho at 1:56 PM on March 13, 2006


And how shall the economic engine of just in time shipping to businesses work for that time?

You'll have to ask FEMA about that, I'm just telling you what we've been told to plan for.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2006


Pollomacho: "So that line equates a year's supply of food? Or was that just hyperbole?"

Sorry, MaleChicken, I didn't intend for it to be "survivalist bullshit". In looking up supporting links for the ABC news story, I ran across that list, which I thought to be a sensible and inexpensive method to stockpile food.

Yeah, a year is a lot longer than the suggested two weeks, but I doubt a pandemic, were it to occur, would be over in two weeks.
posted by ewagoner at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2006


Under the bed? If I keep the tuna and powdered milk in the cupboard or the pantry, will it be all right?
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:03 PM on March 13, 2006


Oh, and don't forget, cats are known to be vulnerable to bird flu. So it's best if you have your pets put down now. The better to avoid a panic.

Of course, there are better reasons than the flu to get rid of your cats. But hey, free acid.
posted by Hubajube at 2:12 PM on March 13, 2006


"There are so many reasons to own a gun these days.
posted by bardic at 12:44 PM PST on March 13 [!]"

Unless you live in San Francisco, in which case you're pretty much fucked. Thank the idiots that voted for Prop H.
posted by drstein at 2:46 PM on March 13, 2006


When is the zombie infection coming? diseases that kill people and leave them dead are soooo not fun.
posted by qvantamon at 3:10 PM on March 13, 2006


dear ants: remember to add $5 for each pair of (possibly armed) grasshoppers in the general area.
posted by arialblack at 3:25 PM on March 13, 2006


So how does a can of Tuna Fish help with preventing the spread of a pandemic?

Bash yourself in the head with it, thus rendering yourself unconscious and immobile?
posted by tkchrist at 3:30 PM on March 13, 2006


When is the zombie infection coming?

Soon, my friend. Soon.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:32 PM on March 13, 2006


> Unless you live in San Francisco, in which case you're pretty much fucked.

So many reasons not to live in FS these days.
posted by jfuller at 3:39 PM on March 13, 2006


I can't believe an area prone to natural disaster is willing to legislate their own disarmament after New Orleans. That thinking is truly alien to me.
posted by Megafly at 3:51 PM on March 13, 2006


Yet a case to be declared and already on the verge of mass hysteria:
  • storing canned tuna and powdered milk under our beds.
  • There are so many reasons to own a gun these days.
  • Thank the idiots that voted for Prop H.
As usual, you guys are going to put up a great show.
posted by NewBornHippy at 4:19 PM on March 13, 2006


AFLAC!
posted by fandango_matt at 4:26 PM on March 13, 2006


AFLAC!

Shit -- gotta figure a way to wipe the red wine off of my monitor!
posted by ericb at 4:28 PM on March 13, 2006



Of course, you realize this means war!


That “store powdered milk under your bed” thing from Leavitt sorta translates to me like: “Hey, you people are stupid, right? You’ll buy anything we tell you. Let me piss on your head and tell you it’s raining. Ok? Just lean over here. Ahh, yeah, that’s it. Hey - it’s raining.”

No FDR - “fear itself” thing. Not even the pretense of fostering self-empowerment. Nope. Just stick some powdered milk under your bed.Because it’s going to be so bad only we can help you.
Mass hysteria?
In what was is the whole thing not b.s.?
posted by Smedleyman at 4:37 PM on March 13, 2006


AFLAC!
posted by fandango_matt at 4:26 PM PST on March 13 [!]



You beat me to it!
posted by annieb at 4:40 PM on March 13, 2006


Ha! I've been stocking up for months. Every grocery shopping trip I throw in a couple of extra cans; mostly soups, evaporated milk, vegetables and beans. I just figured it wouldn't hurt to have a back-up in case of catastrophe such as sudden loss of income or another ice storm.

The funny thing is my husband recalled a conversation he had at work where he volunteered that I was "building a bomb shelter." When asked why, he could only look confused and reply he wasn't sure.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:52 PM on March 13, 2006


Snarky comments aside, the risk is real. See the relevant wikipedia article (H5N1) for more information. Neuramidase inhibitors (read: tamiflu) are the best we have, but they aren't incredibly effective. I am a molecular biologist/biophysicist and am good friends with a few virologists, who are quite concerned. A pandemic like the 1918 flu is simply an eventuality. I don't quite understand why the fatality rate for avian flu in humans has been 50% (from the small sample size we have), but past pandemics have shown us to expect ca 5-10%.

The risk of a pandemic is constant. They are simply eventualities. There is a decent chance that this one could be the next one. No, it's not worldwide ebola, but I think sarcastically shooting down the possibility of a pandemic is just as irresponsible as fearmongering.

You kept a few hundred bucks in your pocket for Y2K, didn't you? I think a big problem with the omnipresent trucked in food is that we simply don't have shortages anymore. As recently as 50 years ago, people had to plan around rationing and we seem to have completely lost the ability to take the possibility of food shortages seriously. I'm not advocating panic or even any particularly elevated level of concern, but I think you're silly if you don't keep a few pounds of spaghetti and some gallons of water around.
posted by oxonium at 4:58 PM on March 13, 2006


I tend to think Mormons are wise in terms of their preparedness ethic.
posted by troutfishing at 5:22 PM on March 13, 2006


Wikipedia on the 1918 pandemic.

No need to panic right away. We've been getting news stories in Canada saying that the bird flu is expected to arrive here in six to 12 months. And we won't be in real trouble unless or until it mutates so that it can be passed directly between humans.
posted by russilwvong at 5:38 PM on March 13, 2006


Hey, that was oxonium's first comment. Welcome aboard!
posted by russilwvong at 5:38 PM on March 13, 2006


oxonium: I don't quite understand why the fatality rate for avian flu in humans has been 50% (from the small sample size we have), but past pandemics have shown us to expect ca 5-10%.

I suspect it's primarily because our sample appears to be selected from people sick enough to seek medical treatment. From what I've read, there have not been many studies looking at infection rates among people who don't go to a doctor because of symptoms.

A pandemic like the 1918 flu is simply an eventuality. I don't quite understand why the fatality rate for avian flu in humans has been 50% (from the small sample size we have), but past pandemics have shown us to expect ca 5-10%.

Actually, looking at the history of previous pandemics 5-10% appears to be rather high. Everyone focuses on the Spanish flu of 1918, but less on the Asian flu of 1957 or the Hong Kong flu of 1968. I really wish people would stop using the term "pandemic" as synonymous with "the end of the world as we know it." The spread of HPV certainly qualifies as the biggest pandemic of the last century for example.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:18 PM on March 13, 2006


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