Taking A Stand

We believe that global pandemics do affect our lives. Through our research we have uncovered many of the affects and have collaborated on some possible recommendations to resolve those affects.

The most obvious way global pandemics affect us is that they are the worldwide spread of diseases through viruses and bacteria. Once infected with one of these diseases, we can fall ill and possibly die. This is especially true in the most recent and ongoing pandemics, swine flu and HIV/AIDS. Vaccines exist to prevent infection by some pandemic diseases, but not all. People can do small things to prevent the spread of infection, depending on how the individual disease is spread. For any kind of pandemic flu they can cover their mouths when they sneeze, wash their hands, stay home instead of going to school or work when feeling ill, and wear masks that cover their mouths and noses. HIV/AIDS can more easily be avoided by not engaging in unprotected sex, testing blood donors for the disease, not sharing needles, and wearing gloves and goggles when coming into contact with bodily fluids. We can avoid the infected people and areas by not visiting those people or places. During the swine flu pandemic, some countries cancelled all flights to and from Mexico, the possible source of the disease. We can also quarantine infected and sick individuals, as was done to Mary Mallon during typhoid fever epidemics in the United States. We can also investigate the causes of the disease, and make the necessary changes. For example, during the avian flu pandemic, it was found that the reason the virus existed at all was because it crossed over from chicken to people. The reason for the crossover was the lifestyle of residents of China - people tend to live in close proximity to the birds they raise. The virus changed and found a way to infect and kill humans instead of just the birds.

The spread of pandemics can affect us by shutting down schools and places of work because so many people will be infected and ill, as seen in America during the historic 1918 flu pandemic. Hospitals will be overwhelmed by the large number of new patients and will also shut down. If schools are shut down, the space can be used as a makeshift medical treatment centers, as it was during the 1918 flu pandemic. Kids could be homeschooled or participate in online classes. Some jobs can be performed at home and may not necessarily require going into an office. During the 1918 flu pandemic, people learned how to perform basic medical care to take of their ill family members at home. Another issue affecting schools, work, and hospitals is public transportation. If a pandemic is big enough, the government might decide to shut down public transit to prevent further exposure and spread of disease.

Another possible affect of pandemics is the break down of the economy, not only in our country but across the globe. If people can't show up for work, they may not be able to perform their jobs, causing other jobs not to be performed, and creating holes in industries. Or, countries might choose to avoid those countries experiencing the disease and cut off trade with them. For example, in the recent swine flu pandemic, people in Europe thought the flu could be spread through eating pork. They stopped importing and eating pork from the US, causing a drop in the American stock market as a result. A bad economy can no longer be isolated in one country or system; the economy is dependent on all systems across the world and can also affect those other systems. Depending on how widespread the pandemic is and the individual disease that caused the pandemic, it could result in food shortages, medical supply shortages (vaccines, treatments, IVs), and poverty. Resolutions to the economy issue will require the cooperation of, at a minimum, all of the world's most influential countries. Each country will need to develop a contingency plan to be prepared to avoid economic hardship, and make sure that plan cooperates with plans from all over the world.