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Pandemic series: a significant flu pandemic by 2025?

Probably the highest risk for a natural pandemic is posed by new versions of influenza. Since 1500 there have been 13 or more influenza pandemics according to this list, with five in the past 120 years, in 1889, 1918, 1957, 1968 and 1977 (since then there is also a listing for a 2009 pandemic at the WHO.)

The definition of a "pandemic" varies among sources; here we will define a "significant pandemic" to be a single-year epidemic that causes more than about five times the annual estimated 250K-500K deaths due to seasonal influenza. Of the 6 most recent pandemic, probably two (1918 and 1957) fulfill this criterion. We then ask:

Will there be more than 2.5M deaths worldwide in a single 1-year period due to an influenza strain of natural origin by 2025?

Resolution is positive if numbers reported by the CDC, WHO, or other official organizations put an estimated total number of fatalities above 2.5M in a single 1-year period that ends prior to Jan 1, 2025. (If only ranges are available, question will resolve as positive if the bottom end of the range exceeds 2.5M.)


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