News for week of 2023-02-13

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  • Comments (8)

    • 6

      Equatorial Guinea has confirmed its first outbreak of the Marburg virus, a highly infectious and deadly disease similar to Ebola, following the deaths of at least nine people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.


    • 5

      And now for the rest of the story… Interesting read on what might have happened to multiple US power grids and natural gas pipelines ahead of the invasion of the Ukraine last year.  Key points:  1) there is a growing concern of state-sponsored malware getting into the hands of non-state actors, 2) companies are behind the curve in protecting industrial systems, 2) malware is still out there and evolving.


      If you want a more technical discussion, follow the link to the Mandiant website:


      While the focus is on taking infrastructure down, this should be a warning about what could happen if bad actors take control of systems in a few critical industrial plants, such as food or chemical processing plants.

    • 2

      H5N1 is not a pandemic

      From Dr. Mike Osterholm at CIDRAP:

      • H5N1 initially appeared in Hong Kong in 1997.
      • “Since the beginning of tracking for H5N1 in humans, which really started in the early 2000 time period after the Hong Kong experience. We are aware of 868 cases that have occurred in humans, of which 457 have died.
      • “The majority of cases, in each outbreak, occurred in 5 countries: Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, China and Thailand.”
      • “There were a total of seven cases reported in the world from 2020 to 2022.”
        In the United States…”And yet in both the 2015 large outbreak where we lost 50 million birds in the United States and now this one in 2022, 23, where we’ve lost over 58 million birds, there hasn’t been a single documented case of (human) infection that was actually tied to illness.”
      • “But we, again, don’t see evidence of the fact that it’s actually creating a greater risk for humans.”

      Read the transcript beginning at 00:43:58, or listen to the whole podcast:


      • 2

        Dr Osterholm has repeatedly expressed concern about the possibility of H5N1 becoming a human pandemic and the need to better prepare for that. These quotes were in the context of criticizing a specific article that he thinks got a few details wrong.

      • 1

        He has always said it ‘Could’ become a pandemic, for the last 15 years I have read his stuff, but he sees no indication now is the time. Elsewhere in the podcast, he suggests it is more likely that the next big pandemic will be a more deadly COVID virus or more deadly Influenza virus because both already have a history of pandemic-level transmissibility, whereas H5N1, among humans, does not. He also says it is not prudent to prepare for an H5N1 pandemic, for many reasons.

        And no, his remarks were not in the context of the NYT article because he went on to explain the history of H5N1 in humans since it was first seen in 1997. It was a nice way of telling the journalist to do your research before you yell fire, hence his comments about the article being a ‘generational’ problem.

      • 2

        “He has always said it ‘Could’ become a pandemic, for the last 15 years I have read his stuff, but he sees no indication now is the time.”

        That’s a better characterization of his position. There actually are indications that it‘s getting closer, such as mass casualty events in seals and sea lions. But as he says, “imminent” is too strong a word for this.

        Osterholm frequently argues more than one side of an issue, such that a selection of his quotes can present a more extreme view than what he’s expressing directly.

        If you want to get into the weeds on this one, tomorrow’s prepper chat night is probably a better venue.

      • 4

        I’m confused: no one ever said that H5N1 is a pandemic, although if you look at the r/preppers subreddit you might think it already is 😉

        My two cents: There is little we can do as individuals, apart from waiting, keeping informed, and seeing how this develops. I don’t think it’s wrong to be worried about this, considering this outbreak has been lasting for way longer than previous ones and there is always the possibility for mutations that could create a pandemic. It might happen or it might not with H5N1, we simply don’t know yet.

        But one thing the majority of scientists agree on is that we are going to experience more pandemics and Osterholm says the same in this interview: “But let me just conclude by saying there will be more influenza pandemics in the future and we are not prepared for them. It may not at all be h five in one, but we still have an absolute need to get prepared for the next pandemic in a way that we’re not now.”

        Well, good thing we are preppers and we already should have a good grasp of what’s needed to deal with a new flu/coronavirus pandemic as individuals, no? i.e. masks, washing hands before touching anything, staying away from sick people or at home if sick oneself, not touching any dead wild birds, etc. If they are not yet, masks (and hand sanitizer, soap) should probably be a permanent part of any prepping kit by now.

    • 3

      The $4.5m a year boss of Norfolk Southern – whose firm got Trump to REPEAL safety rule that might have averted East Palestine chemical crash – lives in $4.2M mansion, owns boat and property empire… as video shows dead fish poisoned by spill.

      Some are suing to make Norfolk take responsibility for health monitoring of individuals who live in a 30 mile radius of the burn site. 

      Evacuation was limited to a 2 square mile area and people I know living beyond that area were not notified about the burning at all.  According to a family member 21 miles away they had no notification and are being assured by big government that everything is “OK”
      As people and animals are getting sick,  locals are find the ok assurance hard to believe.