”We’re not going to have much warning,” [WHO Scientist Dr. Michael] Ryan said. ”One day, two days, maybe three, if we are extremely lucky. Once contagious among humans, the virus will spread like a tsunami. There will be the flash point — probably in Asia, perhaps somewhere else — followed by waves of infection that would hurtle around the world.”
It could be awful:
In worst-case scenarios based on extrapolations from the 1918 outbreak, some epidemiologists predict that a pandemic spawned by bird flu could kill 140 million people in a matter of months, and sicken so many hundreds of millions that some governments and national economies would collapse.
Or it could just be really really bad:
The World Health Organization is urging countries to brace for a ”mild to moderate” pandemic likely to kill 2 million to 7.4 million people, according to Ryan.
”We need to steer away from worst-case scenarios or we’ll end up like deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck, too terrified to move,” he said. ”We need preparation, not panic.”