John Barry on The Pandemic Risk: How Much Should We Worry?

by | Aug 3, 2018 | Headline News | 36 comments

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    This report was originally published by Adam Taggart at PeakProsperity

    As far as existential threats to the human species go, pandemics rank near the top of the list.

    What’s the probability of an aggressive, highly-fatal outbreak occurring soon? Is it high enough to worry about?

    And if one occurs, what can/should we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones?

    To address these questions, we interview John M. Barry, author of the award-winning New York Times best-seller The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History. John was the only non-scientist to serve on the US government’s Infectious Disease Board of Experts and has served on advisory boards for MIT’s Center for Engineering System Fundamentals and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He has consulted on influenza preparedness and response to national security entities, the George W. Bush and Obama White Houses, state governments, and the private sector.

    His verdict? The risk of a massively fatal world-wide pandemic like the 1918 Spanish flu is remote, but very real — and is heightened by the hyper-connectedness of our modern society (i.e., the ease and speed with with people can travel). And our readiness for such an outbreak is woefully lacking:

    An often-overlooked part of the damage a virulent pandemic can do is its impact on supply chains and the economy.

    If you’ve got 20 to 30% of your air traffic controllers sick at the same time, what’s that going to do to your economy?

    Most of the power plants in the United States are still coal powered. They get their coal, most of them, from Wyoming. You see these enormous trains – that’s a highly skilled position, the engineers who move those trains which are a mile and a half long. Suppose they’re out. You’re not going to have power in many of the power plants.

    These are things that we don’t automatically think of as relating to a pandemic. Even a mild one that makes a lot of people sick without killing them will wreak an economic impact.

    In terms of the health care system, practically all of the antibiotics are imported. If you interrupt those supply chains then you start getting people dying from diseases that are unrelated to influenza that they would otherwise survive. We had a small example of that with saline solutions bags which were produced in Puerto Rico. Because of the hurricane, Puerto Rico was no longer producing them; so we had tremendous shortages in those bages after the hurricane. Other suppliers worldwide have picked up the slack, so that’s not a problem today.

    But in a pandemic, you’re going to have supply chain issues like that simultaneously all over the world. So you’re not going to be able to call on any reserve, anywhere, because everybody’s going to be in the same situation whether you talk about hypodermic needles or plastic gloves — any of that stuff. The supply chain issues in a moderate pandemic are a real problem. If you’ve got a severe pandemic, the hospitals can’t cope. There are many fewer hospital beds per capita than there used to be because everything has gotten more efficient. In this past year’s bad influenza season, many, many hospitals around the country were so overwhelmed they all but closed their emergency rooms and weren’t talking any more patients for any reason.

    There’s just no slack in the system. What efficiency does is eliminate as much as possible what’s considered waste, but that waste is slack. And when you have a surge in something, you need that slack to take care of the surge. If I were grading generously I would give us a D in terms of overall preparedness. If we had a universal influenza vaccine, maybe we’d be relatively okay, but we don’t.

    Click the play button below to listen to Chris’ interview with John M. Barry (56m:47s).


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      1. Every summer it’s a new pandemic.

        • Think “I Am Legend”.

          It’s not a pandemic by nature per say, but by man that should worry most, if not all.

      2. Modern medicine pretty much makes these things impossible in the civilized world.

        Not so much so in places like Africa and most of the ME.

        • The lesson here is how quickly the US is descending into a third world shit hole (Baltimore, Detroit, Flint, Chicago, all of California, Philadelphia, etc.), banana republic where professional politics runs in the family (the Cuomos, Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons, Obamas, McCains), who remain in power forever, where life just sucks basically, and everybody dies just drinking the water (Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo).

      3. Every flu season, when it gets bad, you can’t find thermometer covers.

        Best way to duck a pandemic is to ‘bug in’ as much as possible. Author’s point about 20-30% not at work is valid. Even if you are not infected, would you go to work after 6 people in your office/factory showed symptoms.

        Lots of overlap with other prep scenarios – at least for those covering a few weeks. Avoidance first, masks and glives second, treatment third. Stock up now!

      4. If the muslims don’t kill us – A pandemic will.
        The culling of our specie is predestine – just when.
        We could get real lucky and have a terrorist biologic attack with some really great disease that has no cure and is easily transmitted

        • Wash your hands often and stay away from public places and people. I worked from home for several decades and rarely ever got sick.

          If you got kids that attend public schools, kiss yourass goodbye. They will bring it all home like little petry dishes. Schools are a hub for disease spreading.

          Live in big cities, you’re dead meat.

          I quit the Fire Dept back in the 1980’s when the AIDS Crapola hit the streets. If you are a pig swine cop, dead meat scum disease spreaders. Same with nurses, I refuse to date them or anyone with small children. Same reason.

          • I also refuse to date teachers or flight attandants. Same thing, disease spreaders. And public employee that deals with scumbags, like pig cops, stay away from these disease spreaders. They are carriers of disease.

            I told this one nurse to strip off those hospital scrubs off at the door, and bag that up and put it in her car. Dont even bring that into my house. Strip, then go take a shower first.

            • Awesome dating strategy.

      5. …And life goes on…

        • . . . and death goes on.

      6. Every time there is a new death but in Africa we see this. Ok it could come here but because of how we live it more than likely won’t.

        Americans take better care of themselves than the poor folks in Africa.

        “So just move on nothing to see here”.

        • Modern Air Transportaion.
          Open borders.
          Anyone from almost anywhere, comes in on the airplanes or through the OPEN back door/OPEN BORDER.
          You don’t see a problem?

          Yes there is something to see here.
          Pandemics wipe out Millions.
          Keep playing with the snake, you get the Fang.

          Catholic Family Services has turned west Texas small communities into Africa. CFS imports and relocates foriegners with disease into America. These imported people rob, steal, murder, deal drugs, spread disease.
          Catholic Family Services makes $$$$ for these people imported.

          Stop Importing other countries Problems/Diseases.
          The only WAR America should have is at the SOUTHERN Border. NO WHERE ELSE. DESTROY CARTELS with US Air-Sea-Land forces.
          Go after the US states the legalise gateway drugs like weed.
          Go after corporations that legalise and push opiates. PUT THESE CORPORATE suites in PRISON.

          But NONE of this will happen. Why? Politicians make MILLIONS in bribes and pay offs.

          • Don’t forget BEER, Cigarettes, Sugar loaded sodas, and worst of all MOTHERS MILK…In you’re war on “drugs”!

          • John: I do see a problem, but there is better chance to win the lottery in the USA than getting Ebola.

            I agree with everything you said about OPEN BOPRDER and bring More people into the USA. It should STOP!!!!

            What I’m getting at is that it is fear porn to get us to spend more money on things. I should have made myself more clear. SORRY.


          • Really, really good points. The only way the corruption stops is when the value of the USD falls to zero.

            Up here in Upstate New York (the worst sh*t hole Cuomo Family Mafia state imaginable), Catholic Charities has turned Rochester, NY into a Soweto ghetto with black Adidas wandering the streets and highways, getting themselves all wound up to take private property by force (just like in the old country), and kill all white men.

            Catholic Charities (the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope), are an NGO. They should be taxed to death.

        • Totally agree! It is chalk and cheese. Most people have no idea how awful it is in the third world and especially in India and Africa. Few have plumbing and basic hygiene (most Indians still crap outside; Africans like to crap in plastic bags and throw them whereever), and the unprotected sex is out of control.

          It is also way hot in these places; all the conditions for diseases to go crazy.

          The governments there are so corrupt they can’t do anything right and thus are dependent on the US military or foreign agencies.

          No pandemic will ever take-off in the modern West now because of science and health care services. Something could happen with the homeless but it would struggle to hop over to the general population because diseases are oportunistic and need very unhealthy people to flourish with and no health care and science.

          Now, I am not saying Obama or Clinton wouldn’t load a plane up with infected people and decide to bring them over out of ‘compassion’. They have done that before. As long as some evil politician or do-gooder doesn’t do some bad, then things are good.

      7. Just more fear mongering.

      8. I stay away from scum foreigners or anyone in contact with them.

      9. The people most at risk from a real pandemic will be our fellow White folks stuck in the cities with all the Blacks and Browns. I hope you manage to escape before the chaos unfolds.

        White women will be targeted by Black men to impregnate and cause rifts within White families. Can you imagine the distress two loving white parents will feel when their daughter throws her life away by letting herself down and demeaning herself by having a Black baby?

        It’s sad that it’s come to this but we didn’t ask the Fed to open up the borders in 1965 to all these immigrants. We will be a minority in a few decades sadly.

        • We could stop it today if enough white people were mad enough. No other group is smarter or well armed. We just aren’t wired to be tribal like the savages. We like doing things on our own, because we can. BTW any mess with my children they die and disappear in a deep hole. Fuck a shallow grave.

      10. ?

        If I could, I’ld not only build a wall on both borders, put better security in ports, restrict immigration, bring the troops home, end foreign aid, stop welfare for illegals, deport criminals, execute pimps, pornographers, and pedophiles; I would make it very difficult to do travel between the USA and places with disease like Africa, Asia, etc.


        • Will you run for Prez?????????????????????


      11. BULLETS are faster than EBOLA

      12. Although toilet-to-tap was never admitted, publicly, public plantings are irrigated with the purple line (also in agriculture). You have to tell people (bilingually) not to drink that water. So, is sterile, in your own words — as per the part line.

        The same goes into recharge basins, in open air, where the homeless are encamped, sniffling and hacking.

        Prior to sanitation, this was called a cesspit, now a figure of speech. Or, is it.

        I went to a farm, on business. An elderly person needed to relive himself, always. And, the restroom signs were on a tool shed, too thin, inside, for a person to fit. This would typically be locked, from the looks of the latch, not that health / human rights inspector would have seen it from his car.

        Whether migrants are dirty or not, we can’t be sure, but what did you expect to happen.

        Rather than being burned, or diluted, per se, everyday kind of illnesses could be found at what we might call chokepoints, like intersections where large amounts of people are forced to interact.

        • Damned auto correct.

      13. A massive die-off of humanity is coming. Pandemics that killed a large number of people are a matter of history. History repeats itself. There are too many people with weakened immune systems caused by crappy diets. They are in too close quarters. The only question is the details.

      14. It’s not fear mongering but a historical fact that countless pandemics raged across the world with the Black Death, Smallpox, the 1918 series of three influenza pandemics, tuberculosis, and frankly gonnorhea,syphilis, HIV, AIDS, and many lesser known STDs are so widespread and undetected that a huge percent have them.

        Wake up. H1N1 so scared the authorities that every state had a pandemic preparedness plan, and when governors and the CDC looked at them, they were frightened as the mandated antivirals were often ten percent or less than recommended doses.

        Had it been worse, the economic costs would have been staggering.

        It would have effectively paralyzed all transport and if that ever happens, then everything grinds to a halt in a few weeks.

        Hospitals and medical centers are NOT intended for en masse patient loads, just statistical amounts based upon predictable models of accidents,infections, surgeries, disease states. The entire medical system would soon collapse and doctors and nurses and technicians would fear acquiring the contagion or contaminate their own homes and family members. And even if they stayed, they could do almost nothing as medical equipment would be contaminated, run out of routine supplies, no medicines, etc.

        There is a legal limit to how many patients can be seen or else malpractice occurs. Would you go into work under such conditions? Tell the truth! People expect medical staff to sacrifice themselves under any conditions even when it doesn’t help.

        Frankly, under such conditions and martial law, the likely scenario is forcing medical staff to stay under armed guards which is illegal and essentially slavery.

        • Excellent summary!

      15. there have been several pandemics through time that has killed mass amounts of people,however in this day&time it is possible w/knowledge &some supplies to overcome most anything that comes around .There is coloidal silver &food grade hydrogen peroxide that works on blood disorders.Also battery operated blood purifiers and on&on!

      16. I’ve been in the hospital a few times, I didn’t see anyone washing their hands.

      17. Hum … not one? 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, 10. You don’t want to know the future!

      18. My wife gets a flu shot every year,past 4 years. They work pretty good, she has had the flu every year. I grew up in the 50’s and was exposed to everything a child could be exposed to, think I am better off than people getting shots every year.

      19. I wish for a pot-demic instead of a pandemic…Might do all of us some good.

      20. “How much should we worry”?

        Will not worry at all,only so much one can do to prep ect.,somethings out of our control and thus worrying will not help at all.

      21. “John Barry …………………… much should we worry?” WORRY is interest you pay on a loan that might never be taken. Prepare, trust in God, have good news sights like this one, be healthy and do the best you can.

        God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can, and the WISDOM to know the difference. AMEN

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