Book - Three Seconds Until Midnight

Three Seconds Until Midnight

In 1918, a strain of the Influenza virus mutated to transform itself into a rampant pulmonary disease, and it became one of the three deadliest plagues ever recorded in human history. It will happen again, it may involve a strain of flu that is worse, and it will involve population densities that were not a factor in 1918. Under the current U.S. National Pandemic Influenza Plan, some 123 million Americans will not have access to a protective vaccine or antiviral drug, until the peak of the epidemic is almost past. This book describes other major faults and assumptions in US planning and it describes several major steps that must be taken to improve readiness for the next major lethal pandemic event.

Fact vs Fiction:

Book - Three Seconds Until Midnight

Three Seconds Until Midnight

In 1918, a strain of the Influenza virus mutated to transform itself into a rampant pulmonary disease, and it became one of the three deadliest plagues ever recorded in human history. It will happen again, it may involve a strain of flu that is worse, and it will involve population densities that were not a factor in 1918. Under the current U.S. National Pandemic Influenza Plan, some 123 million Americans will not have access to a protective vaccine or antiviral drug, until the peak of the epidemic is almost past. This book describes other major faults and assumptions in US planning and it describes several major steps that must be taken to improve readiness for the next major lethal pandemic event.

Fact vs Fiction:

There are ways to drastically improve preparedness for hundreds of thousands of Americans… but the U.S. government appears uninterested in major changes to its National Pandemic Plan.

  • Although viruses are indeed a definite biological entity that can both replicate and change with time, a virus is considered to be “alive”.
  • A virus of any type is simply a very small assembly of complicated molecules that include proteins, RNA molecules (or DNA molecules in some viruses), and sometimes fat and sugar molecules.
  • Although these biological molecules are highly organized, a virus is incapable of any form of energy production or biochemical metabolism.
  • A virus is simply an inert collection of chemicals until it penetrates and enters into a living cell of its host.
  • Influenza is actually a viral infection of birds. Studies have shown that approximately one out of four wild birds are infected with some strain of the Influenza virus.
  • Instead of affecting the upper airway, the virus infects the intestines of the birds.
  • Usually the Influenza virus does not harm the birds but it is shed into the environment though bird droppings.
  • Individuals who have been infected with the Influenza virus are infectious to others for a day before they show any symptoms at all through the respiratory droplets they generate while speaking, coughing, and sneezing.
  • Their hands are also contaminated by the respiratory droplets they generate, and any surface that they touch can be contaminated by the virus for several hours.
  • An infected individual is considered infectious for at least four-days after they begin to show symptoms. Children may remain infectious to others for another several days after they recover from an Influenza infection.
  • An infected individual will contaminate all the objects and surfaces around them.
  • Scientists knew that Influenza was contagious and that limiting social contact with other people could reduce their chances of becoming infected with Influenza.
  • Today these measures are called Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions or NPI.
  • Frequently wash hands using soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes with your hands unless you wash them first.
  • Routine surface cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and objects like tables, door knobs, desks, cell phones, and computer keyboards.
  • The goal is to slow down the rate of influenza transmission so that hospitals can manage the number of patients that are being admitted for care.
  • Traditionally this has been the closure of all public gatherings including schools, movie theatres, church services, bars, restaurants, and the like.
  • However, in a heavily urbanized area where people are dependent on mass transit to travel to work, these closures will not be fully effective.
  • The Influenza virus can survive up to 3-days when at high concentrations in the presence of respiratory mucus and kept out of the ultraviolet rays of sunlight.
  • The hands must be sanitized immediately after handling money.
  • Banknotes may well be a significant factor in Influenza transmission, but our research indicates that no federal agency has yet addressed this concern.
  • Based on past history, it cannot be guaranteed that the US Government will tell its citizens the truth about the severity of an Influenza Pandemic.