CDC on the Zombie Apocalypse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention weigh in on preparations for the zombie apocalypse.

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 4:00 PM • 29 Comments

Comments

aikimarkMay 20, 2011 4:16 PM

It's Friday. Shouldn't we be packing some squid in our kits? hmmmm...
* squid jerky
* squid chips
* pickled squid (vacuum packed)

Carl 'SAI' MitchellMay 20, 2011 4:21 PM

All of their advice is good to know for any highly contagious disease outbreak. By phrasing it as "zombie" survival far, far more people have read it than would have with a traditional multimillion dollar ad campaign.

ChristianOMay 20, 2011 4:28 PM

And go look for your local pub!

Its a inpenetrable fortress against zombies!

Count0May 20, 2011 4:31 PM

I think this is one of the best emergency preparedness campaigns ever. I know a lot of people who have posted this on Facebook or twitter and I can't think of the last time any CDC recommendations were so widely promoted by people. Someone over there actually seems to understand the power of the meme and social networking. Of course this will only work once.

jumping the shark to catch a rideMay 20, 2011 5:18 PM

Soylent Green wasn't simply a movie, it was a prediction of the future.

With cloned animals will come cloned people, replicated meat, and more.

BF SkinnerMay 20, 2011 8:53 PM

'bout time! Let's lock and load.

But wait!. . . why would the gummint post such a thing when the world ends tonight. It's a ploy I tell ya. A distraction.

GweihirMay 20, 2011 9:44 PM

I am playing Plants-vs-Zombies at the moment, and I think I have an alternate idea of how to deal with the problem!

Bruce ClementMay 21, 2011 12:47 AM

Somebody's woken up to the idea that killing OBL was a bad move because the sheep now want the TSA & PATRIOT act dismantled.

This is just stage one, next we'll get reports that OBL has become a zombie that is walking across the ocean floor towards Washington.

Fortunately zombies only eat brains so congress won't be a target but the civilian population is at risk.

The navy and coast guard will be supplied with brain destruction kits but given the size of the US Atlantic coast line the population will need to be prepared for survival should he slip through.

Meanwhile to protect your freedom the TSA will begin searching passengers and confiscating any snack sized packs of brains they find.

RogerMay 21, 2011 2:14 AM

Very clever marketing for general emergency preparedness.

Of course, for actual zombie-specific preparedness, they forgot: shotguns. And lots and lots of ammo.

Of course, most people are just going to lump for the popular 12 gauge, and they'll load 00 buck, because it's huge. But my recommendation is 20 gauge with 3" magnum shells in #3 buck. Nearly as easy to get as 12 gauge, handier in tight spaces, and you can carry a bit more ammo in the same sapce. A lot of folks think 20 gauge is a wussy beginner's gun, but the 3" magnum #3 buck cartridge actually delivers about 7% more lead than 12 gauge 00 buck, at about 5% higher velocity. That's a lot of stopping power from a very handy gun.

Cue flame war in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

Nick PMay 21, 2011 3:15 AM

@ Roger

Nah, shotguns are too wasteful. It's better to have a good defensive position that allows easy single round shots and melee hits to their heads. I think EMF field weapons like those explored during MKULTRA and under the guise of "non-lethal" weaponry more recently would be a nice way to handle it. Get a power source that would last a while, keep hitting them with the disabling weapon, keep pounding their heads in with close range blunt weapons, and slowly build a fortress they couldn't get into. Would need greenhouses, plants, sewage disposal techniques, etc.

Imho, a true zombie apocalypse isn't survivable for the general public unless they are in rural zones so far away from urban areas that the zombies starve before getting to them. Zombie starvation is the best way to defeat the zombie menace. Unless they develop an extremely low metabolism or the ability to hibernate. We're screwed then. :(

Richard Steven HackMay 21, 2011 4:21 AM

The CDC aren't even close to being experts in this field. I mean, look at "The Walking Dead"! It was IN ATLANTA, for Baron Von Christ's sakes! Their center ended up getting evacuated, everyone got eaten except one guy, and when he screwed up, the whole place blew up!

How the hell am I supposed to take them as experts?! They're morons, like most government employees.

Now THESE guys are the experts: The Zombie Squad, whose motto is "We Make Dead Things Deader!"

http://www.zombiehunters.org/

This is actually a great site for emergency preparedness - for which of course the whole "zombie" thing is merely a metaphor. I've spent a lot of time on that site in the past.

Richard Steven HackMay 21, 2011 4:36 AM

The main problem I have with the whole "zombie" genre is how stupid the concept is. It would next to impossible to have a zombie outbreak that actually took over the world unless it was done directly by some sort of mass biowarfare infection. Just relying on a small infection to spread until it was uncontrollable would be completely useless, just like most biowarfare is considered inefficient - because someone - indeed quite a few someones - are always resistant to infection.

Worse, once a bunch of dead bodies are really believed to be running around eating and infecting people, the US military would plow in and quite literally kill EVERYONE even remotely possibly infected. The US military doesn't mind killing civilians just to get terrorists in the neighborhood - does anyone think they would let ZOMBIES get loose in sufficient numbers to be a problem?

Which also raises a question none of the zombie fiction ever answers: If the zombies are eating all the live people, where are new zombies being created? Do they just eat you a LITTLE bit, then you come back as zombie?

Do they have dietary limitations they have to follow, like instead of no pork it's no fingers or little toes, just brains, so they just eat your brains and then you come back as a brainless zombie?

And if you're a brainless zombie, how come a shot in the head takes one out? You're just shooting an empty skull (pretty much like shooting any soldier).

Zombies are the sort of sci-fi you get when no one has bothered to think through the premise. Which is pretty much all the sci-fi on TV these days.

It's like the Terminator franchise. Judgment Day kills three billion people. Based on the current seven billion population of the world, that still leaves four billion people for Skynet to deal with - rather an overwhelming proposition no matter how fast you crank out those Terminators from your converted GM factories (oh, wait, they blew up during the nuclear war), right?

Even if you assume a significant percentage die from the resultant fallout, nuclear winter, economic collapse, personal problems, whatever, you're still left with a hell of a lot of monkeys to handle.

Only a nanotech weapon would even have a chance of dealing with the problem - and James Cameron didn't know anything about nanotech at the time.

At least in T-4, they kinda sorta acknowledged that by establishing there were still plenty of people around and even things like nuclear subs, and A-10 Thunderbolts and not quite so many massed armies of Terminators like the earlier movies.

I still maintain Skynet's best approach should have been to make them all look like Summer Glau:

http://film-book.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/...

GabrielMay 21, 2011 7:17 AM

@Richard

I think the initial 3 billion casualties was back when our population was closer to 5. Scary that we are at 7 now. You also have to remember that the war is in full swing around 2029 in T1 and T2. There would probably be several years of an uneasy cold war between the growing number of machines and the weakened humans, punctuated by battles and skirmishes. From what I recall of Kyle Reese, they were all herded into internment camps. Anyways, I would have to say the first two in the series were more a Frankenstein type work Of fiction warning that the growing military industrial complex and technology could slip out of our control.

Also in regards to production, we have all recently seen on the news that the Terminator is quite capable of reproducing.

grumpyMay 21, 2011 7:49 AM

@ChristianO: the pub just might be where it all starts, cf. "From dusk till dawn". Or is that a vampire invasion? I never can tell the difference...

May 21, 2011 10:31 AM

> It's like the Terminator franchise. Judgment Day kills three billion people.
> Based on the current seven billion population of the world, that still leaves
> four billion people for Skynet to deal with - rather an overwhelming proposition

Gabriel beat me to it, but the world population in 1997 was around 5.8 billion.

And 3 billion humans were killed in the first wave. Although it probably took some time for Skynet to build a manufacturing capability for HKs, terminators, other weapons, etc. (unless other time traveling Terminators had prepared this in the past), the war went on for over 30 years -- plenty of time to kill the survivors.

> James Cameron didn't know anything about nanotech at the time.

What do you think the T-1000 was? It's just that Skynet didn't develop nano-tech until too late, and/or wasn't more imaginative about its possible uses.

As for dealing with the Terminator Apocalypse, 3 years ago "Wired" published "How To: Terminate a Terminator" at

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/03/...

from the comments section there:

>>"Install Vista on the terminator and watch it slow down."

    Hasta la Vista...

jacobMay 21, 2011 11:49 AM

first, I give them credit. It's cute and may actually make some people think a little about preparation.

New Orleans comes to mind. I've lived through hurricanes on gulf coast and east coast. You assume no help/supplies for 3days minimum. I'd have walked my arthitic ass out of new orleans. 25 miles to help/rental or family to pick me up. But then again I wouldn't have stayed in a bowl set on blend. Will it blend? we found out. Just saying. Also, as far as terminator. microsoft buys skype, now renamed skynet.

Lastly, when people are buying gold, and speculators are buying farmland (refer to WSJ), it's a little weird.
Rapture? Meh. I'm too antisocial and nerdy to follow crowd. Now, tempt me with a tricked out notebook with encryption and a copy of Bruce's latest book......oh, and lots of movies....

antonMay 21, 2011 4:45 PM

Had the power go off for an hour the other week. Sure glad I had that spare gas burner so I could make that breakfast coffee.

Richard Steven HackMay 22, 2011 12:41 AM

At: "the war went on for over 30 years -- plenty of time to kill the survivors."

And plenty of time for the survivors to both fight back AND reproduce.

"What do you think the T-1000 was?"

Liquid metal - whatever the hell that is. It wasn't nanotech, although conceivably the technology might have been related. With REAL nanotech Skynet wouldn't have bothered with a moving machine - just drop some replicators through the time portal - no more humans in X hours or days or weeks - and no possibility of biological resistance.

Which reminds me of one of the events in "Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles" which really annoyed me. Josh Friedman, the producer, had to get from the time of T-2 to the current time, so he decided to have a forward-going time machine (which was lousy plotting in itself given the potential of such a device).

But then he decided he had to get Cromartie from the past into the future in order to continues hunting the Connors. Leaving aside why he didn't just have a different Terminator do that in the future (since he was switching actors in the process anyway), he decided to allow Cromartie's metal head pass through the time portal, explaining to fan critics that it was allowed to because a "strip of flesh"was attached to it.

First, that violated the principle that metal has to be SURROUNDED by flesh as enunciated by Kyle Reese in T-1.

Second, if that was allowed, what was to stop Skynet from sending back a Terminator with a nuclear weapon in tow with a "strip of flesh" on it? Let's see John Connor duck that one!

The problem with citing 5.8-6 billion population figures back then is that 1) it's STILL six billion, allowing 3 billion to remain after Judgment Day, and 2) Judgement Day was going to happen not in 1984 but in 1997 (initially). As pointed out, that figure is still close enough to six billion. And in T-3 the date was pushed back to 2003 when the world population was approximately 6.3 billion, and in TSCC, the date is pushed back to today - with seven billion but the same three billion initial casualties.

Oh, well, consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds - especially in sci-fi. Which was my point.

What the movies and TV show should have done was show just exactly how dangerous a single Terminator is. Cameron portrayed the T-800's as basically lumbering, not particularly fast (except with their arms on occasion), gun platforms. In fact, given just known robotic technology - which presumably was improved upon by Skynet - they should have been far more dangerous.

For instance, they are shown missing with firearms frequently. This should have been near impossible unless the target is in violent erratic motion or behind cover.

Their sensory capabilities should have been more than displayed, too, given the known abilities of existent sensors.

With a much more dangerous machine, the explanation for why the human population was unable to stem their decimation for so long would be more believable.

I have a concept for a reboot of the TSCC show using the Cameron character portrayed by Glau which would modify the character to be a truly independent AI which is far more dangerous than as shown so far. Only the T-1000 models would be more dangerous.

The show would be more along the lines of "The Hulk" or "The Fugitive" playing on the fact that a machine like Cameron would be the most valuable entity on the planet in this time period - even if she wasn't hot - worth trillions of dollars to anyone who could get their hands on her. She would be operating independently against Skynet for her own reasons, no longer obeying orders from either Skynet or the Connors, past or future.

mcbMay 22, 2011 1:50 PM

@ Roger

Roger, Roger, Roger. I love ya man, but you're way off on this one.

Shotshells are heavy and bulky and yet you're only likely to take out one undead per shot. More importantly, while decisive, shotguns are messy. Last thing you want is a splash of zombie fluids landing in your eye or infecting a scratch.

When only a head shot will do, but any head shot will suffice, there is no reason to use anything stouter than a 22 rimfire selfloading rifle. The ubiquitous Ruger 10-22 and 25 round high cap magazines will be the order of the day.

If your zombie apocalypse pre-planning calls for defending your cache from the living as well as the undead then an AR-15 or AK-74 can be put to good use without incurring a ludicrous weight penalty.

For more detailed guidance please visit http://theoatmeal.com/comics/zombie_how

Nick NMay 23, 2011 12:53 AM

I always presumed the reason you went for a zombie's head was to destroy the brain-spine connection, how many people are such a good shot with a 22, 9mm or even a .45 that they can hit the brain-stem?

Thats why you use a shotgun, it takes the head right off.

BF SkinnerMay 23, 2011 6:58 AM

@RSH " unless it was done directly by some sort of mass biowarfare infection"

Dunno. Airborn pathogens, Orthomyxoviridae, Coronavirinae, spread around the world. Large infection rates fast. STDs (HIV, Gonnerreha) do as well just more slowly. Viruses that cross species, think H5N1, spread wider still.

We dodged a bullet on Ebola, though there is still some evidence that it became airborne at Reston. A hemoraghic fever, airborne with influenza infectiousness and 50 to 89% case-fatality would be a very bad thing.

So a primary infection of a Zombie virus is already within the realm of the possible in nature. Secondary infection via a bite because the Zacks are driven to it are also known in the zooloigical record. (There's a parasite, Leucochloridium paradoxum, that needs to breed in birds so in infests a snail and makes the snail into a zombie that climbs to the top of a stick where a bird can eat it, digest the parasite which continues it's life cycle.)

We're just fortunate that these bugs aren't as lethal as they used to be, our hygiene, nutrition, and water quality is better.

asdMay 23, 2011 9:03 PM

:), it would be interesting if people took this to the extreme, to protect themselves from zombie. I'm guessing a lot of things would drop, if a stick didn't work.
"28 days later" seemed like it could happen

Nick PMay 24, 2011 8:42 PM

@ BF Skinner

One biologist once said the zombie effect could be created by modifying a rabies type pathogen to carry prions or some agent that also effects motor skills perception and speech. Essentially this two part solution creates a clumbsy blood thirsty imbecile that spreads the condition.

RogerMay 27, 2011 8:19 AM

@Nick P:
Essentially that is the premise of "28 days later." The "Rage virus" (which creates "zombies") is very similar to some forms of rabies, just several orders of magnitude faster incubating (in fact, faster at incubating than any real disease.)

And "rabies" even means "rage" (or "madness") in Latin ...

Terry ClothMay 29, 2011 9:24 PM

@Richard Steven Hack:

> For instance, they are shown missing with
> firearms frequently.

Obviously, they went to the Imperial Storm Trooper School of Marksmanship.

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