The Media and the health authorities talk about “it” mutating as if the viruses were all getting updated by wireless like in I, Robot (sorry for the spoiler). In fact, commencing a pandemic will not make a second ensuing pandemic less likely (although it will empart partial resistance). The birds still all have the flu and if flu can jump species once, it can do it twice with the need for a whole new vaccine (else why wait until it breaks out to produce one?). This is what happened in 1918-1919. It was the second wave of the flu that was the deadly one.
I saw this weird quote from 11/3, Prof. Donald Burke in WSJ (subscription required–search on flu and extinction):
At one extreme the case fatality ratios seen in Southeast Asia could be maintained (57 deaths in 112 cases, about 50% mortality), in which case the human species might face extinction.
Last I checked, you need 100% mortality for extinction and it is pretty hard to spread a virus that is 100% fatal to the entire global population before all the carriers die.
World Bank put an $800 billion price tag on bird flu if a pandemic hits with that being 2% of world GDP. They see SARS style disruption. CIA says world GDP is $55T according to purchasing power parity and 2% of that would be $1.1T.
Story has taken on a life of its own. Out of my league. Now if only they would take aim at heart disease that kills 17 million every year.