Bogus1 said:There's no reason to play Chicken little, however the comfort derived from thinking it doesn't suit an organism to kill the host is almost ascribing intelligence to these bugs. It's simply the process of selection. The longer a virus has to mutate the more likely it will end up more benign in some form; however there continues to be deadlier mutations as well. It's just that these are less likely to survive. Unlike HIV there won't likely be the timeline required for this to happen during an outbreak.
They aren't "designed" with long term survival in mind, so they can be very virulent from the outset and perhaps kill their host so quickly they die in bed. Others will keep the host alive long enough to spread. The question is with the mobile society that now spans the globe; how long does a host have to survive to spread disease? The answer today is not very long at all.
300 million is a very conservative number at 5% of the global population. I would suggest this is nowhere near a worst case scenario if viewed from historic events. Plagues have reduced populations by 1/3 before and have even wiped out entire regions. We want to somehow feel we are now better off than we were in those times. Our technology will only assist us if we are using it to our advantage. One thing is for certain; our technology is going to assist these bugs by rapidly disseminating them throughout the globe if given the opportunity. During previous plagues the average person only traveled 7 miles in their life times. The average American must travel at least 7,000 miles today.
I can say I've logged over 500,000 miles via vehicles I personally drove, significant additional miles with others driving, and have also done alot of air travel. Not sure if I am abnormal or what...