University to students: we are all (maybe) gonna die

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Columbia’s paranoiacs probably got chills when they received a flyer asking them if they live within 300 miles of campus and were willing to accommodate students in “the event of an emergency.” And if you’re not a paranoiac and are honestly  curious as to what kind of emergency could be catastrophic enough to both shut down campus and prevent people from traveling more than 300 miles, you should have a look at this

So does the University’s active preparation for a flu pandemic bad enough to keep us within a 300-mile quarantine for months at a time mean that we’re actually doomed, or that Columbia isn’t taking any chances? Until we find out, Bwog will sleep a little better knowing the University has a “pandemic influenza response plan” ready–although the whole thing strikes us as just a little…Strangelovian?


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  1. good morning  

    well there's only enough influenza vaccines for the most virulent strains such as avian bird flu (H5N1 strain) for a population roughly the same size as Edison, New Jersey. So basically...trucking sick people 300 miles away probably won't do anything besides the obvious, exposing more people. My old school was located a few miles away from a nuclear power plant. Our parents were forced to sign releases for us to take some Potassium stuff that slows the body's absorption of radiation. Our evac plan called for bussing the student body up north. to where? north. we all knew we were fucked in the event of an emergency at the plant, but it made our parents feel better about the whole situation

  2. as of now  


    Avian bird flu can never travel from person to person. The virus requires sugars in the deeper recesses of your lungs, parts where coughing cannot expel its contents.

    The hope is only that the virus does not evolve to become more satiable.

  3. Anonymous  

    I live right outside Boston (about 212 miles away) and received nothing. Who, exactly, would receive these flyers?

    • meh  

      you were supposed to fill one out when you checked in and got your keys and stuff. Housing told everyone working check-in that the forms were because of VA Tech; no one said anything about pandemic flu.

      Also, a great number of people seemed to think the distance from campus referred to their dorm and got really confused. Though I did like the ones who put "no" and felt the need to justify themselves.

  4. can't we just  

    retreat to a country villa for a week and a half and tell ten stories a day?

  5. Know  

    'as of now': avian flu is not, like you said, person-to-person transmissible. But many flu viruses in the past have evolved in such a way, including the previous pandemic strains. Actually all human flu viruses evolve from their animal counterparts (ever heard of the swine flu?). The virus is out there in the avian population. The people who have contracted bird flu from being in close quarters with infected specimen have all had a less than 50% survival rate (not including the cases that governments have covered up). So taking this all into consideration, should avian flu reach person-to-person transmission, people should be prepared and know the proper precautions to take and realize what they're dealing with, because the media sure won't tell you. You're candidates won't address the issue. But you should know.

  6. Justin

    To some people the columbia plan "strangelovian", some of us believe it is long overdue. Influenza pandemics happen, and experts believe we are long overdue. The last severe pandemic occured in 1918, killing between 50 and 100 million people. Most of those victims were between the ages of 15 and 40, with most deaths between 20 and 30 years old. "As of now", you are correct in saying that H5N1, or the "bird flu", has yet to gain efficiant and sustained transmission between people. But is has gone human to human to human at least 3 times, according to Dr. Nabarro, Senior UN system Co-ordinator for Avian and Human Influenza at the World Heath Organization (announced on PBS's: The Charlie Rose Science Series on August 15, 2007. The Spanish Flu of 1918 originated as a bird flu before crossing into humans and becoming the novel, dominant influenza A strain. H5N1 only needs 2 mutations to transmit efficiantly and sustained between people. It has a 60-80% Case Fatality Rate. We can hope it does not go mutate and go pandemic. But hope is not a plan. Please consult the columbia pandemic site quoted by ARR above and discuss with your parents how your family plans to cope with a pandemic. The university plans to close classes and send people home. Do you have a place to go? Is that place prepared to close its doors for the duration of the first wave of the pandemic (expected to last at least a few weeks, up to 3 months)? Workers absenteeism is expected to be between 40 and 60% throughout the pandemic, which could well last over a year. Is your family prepared to survive not just a killer virus, but extreme supply shortages? Preparing a home is not increadibly time consuming or expensive. Think rice, beans, cans and bleach to disinfect water. After these bare minimums, concider what else you can store. Experts agree that it is not a matter of if, but when. This is not paranoia. It is simply an understanding of natural disasters and medical limitations. There is not enough vacines for new jersey. There is no vacine, nor will there be one available for at least the first 6 months after the strain emerges. It will be all over the world within days. Do not panic and lose sleep, just make sure you, your family and your friends are prepared for this inevitable disaster. Thank you to the BWOG for posting on this very serious and all-too-often overlooked topic that may very soon effect each and every one of us.

  7. CML  

    10/10 for the Strangelove shot.

  8. I live

    20 miles away, but ain't nobody comin to my house if there be a flu pandemonium.

  9. what about  

    zombie attacks? Hasn't anyone considered that a college dorm, PARTICULARLY ONE WITH ONLY ONE WAY IN OR OUT is a vertible zombie-tinderbox!?!?

  10. bwog you're  

    making columbia damned if they do on this one. if such a(n admittedly unlikely) catastrophe occurred and columbia had absolutely plan in place for it, people would be out for blood. i think they're doin it right on this one.

  11. lol  

    if shaun of the dead happens here i'm going to the abbey.

    • also  

      The Abbey is clearly a superior bar, but I suggest you consider The Heights as an alternative bunker during a zombie uprising. The alcohol and food pale in comparison to The Abbey, but The Heights has that thin hallway leading upstairs which is easily blockaded, and a perfect up high vantage point for making target practice out of the undead army.

  12. good lord  

    I love Columbia, but I'm not willing to die here. I'll stowaway in a bread truck to get over the state border if need be.

  13. DHI  

    I got the flyer when I picked up my room key from Hartley at check-in.

    According to google I live 237 miles away (on roads) but they all thought it was farther when I asked them, so I'm not in their registry or whatever.

  14. where will  

    felipe tarud go?

  15. wow

    i'm getting ready to be paranoid.

    but, think of the bright side. when cambridge closed down in the 1660s because of the plague, issac newton did some of his best work.
    so when avian flu hits, just put on some alice cooper and start hitting the books. maybe in the strange dysotopian future that you find yourself in afterwards you will win yourself a nobel prize or equivalent.

  16. The BWOG  

    If at any point you wonder, "Was this comment posted by an administrator?", notice the way they reference Bwog.

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