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Bird Flu - Archives

 
Economic Impact
 

Two Million Dead and a Major Recession

The US Congressional Budget Office has produced a report on the possible impact of a bird flu pandemic on the US economy. It does not make pleasant reading.

 

If a pandemic similar in scope to the 1918-19 Spanish flu outbreak were to occur, 30% of Americans would become ill and 2.5% of those would die, the CBO said. U.S. output would be reduced by about 5%, which would be the worst recession since 1980 and about average for recessions since World War II.

 

"The most important effects would be a sharp decline in demand as people avoided shopping malls, restaurants and other public spaces, and a shrinking of labor supply as workers became ill or stayed home out of fear or to take care of others who were sick," CBO said.

 

CBO estimated those who got ill and survived would miss an average of 3 weeks of work.

Under the severe scenario, demand in many industries would drop by about 10%. Sales at arts, entertainment, recreation and food services sectors would plunge by 80%. Transportation services, such as air, rail and transit, would fall by 67%. Demand for health care would rise by 15%, CBO said.

December 9th, 2005

 

Do I Have Any Advance on $800 Billion?

It sometimes sounds like a house auction, with each participant trying furiously to outbid the other. The latest estimate for the cost to the global economy of a flu pandemic – this time from the World Bank – is $800 billion.

November 8th, 2005

 

Economic Cost

The Asian Development Bank weighs in again with an estimate of the economic cost of a global (or Asian) flu pandemic. It says that a “year-long shock” from bird flu would cost Asian economies as much as $283 billion, reducing the region's gross domestic product by 6.5 percentage points.

 

"Avian flu presents a major potential challenge to the development of the region, perhaps the most serious since the financial crisis of 1997," said the Manila-based ADB. "A pandemic will likely slow or halt economic growth in Asia and lead to a significant reduction in trade, particularly of services. In the long run, potential economic growth will be lower and poverty will increase."

November 4th, 2005

 

Economic Costs

A bird flu epidemic could cost the Asia-Pacific region $90 billion to $110 billion, according to the Asia Development Bank. And a severe outbreak, leading to global recession, could cost $250 billion to $290 billion.

October 26th, 2005

 

Canada Gets Worried

The economic costs of a flu pandemic could rival the impact of the Great Depression, according to Canada’s Health Minister.

 

Meanwhile, a Canadian economist, Sherry Cooper, has told CBC News that a major flu outbreak

 

"would lead governments everywhere to shut down their borders, or, in effect, ground airplanes, because people would not want to travel, and that would be the end of the major trade in goods and services, at least for some period of time….And, given our global supply chains, there would develop shortages in many, many goods, many products, across the world very quickly." It would be hard to maintain food supplies "even across provincial lines, let alone across international lines," she added

 

She also said that she did not want to “generate fear unnecessarily.”

 

The same CBC News report said the Conference Board of Canada has warned that “a flu pandemic on a large scale would throw the world into a sudden and possibly dramatic global recession."

October 19th, 2005