There are two major threats regarding a pandemic, but the media only focuses on one – the possibility of you, as an individual, becoming infected. The bigger threat is the effect that a pandemic would have on civilization. A virus may be capable of killing people, but how people react and the associated ripple effects can destroy a modern civilization. The collapse of modern civilization would take pandemic deaths from the retail level to the wholesale level of death.

Modern civilization is an extremely complex machine. Specialization has made it very efficient, but it has also made it very fragile. For the whole machine to work, every part must work – or at least have reliable alternatives to keep the system running. Having those reliable alternatives cost money, so they are rarely maintained. Paper gave way to the telephone, which gave way to computers, which gave way to web-connected computers. The efficiencies of the web and Just-In-Time manufacturing and commerce mean that if those systems go down, there is no backup. None. No one wants to spend the money to maintain those backup systems, so they don’t.

What does this mean for us? While it’s important to take precautions to avoid infection, understand the larger picture and prepare accordingly. That is why we don’t try to focus on any one scenario, but rather on general preparedness. Focus on the basics – food, water, medical, and the means to defend. If you have the basics covered, you’re in pretty good shape to face whatever scenario comes along.