There are two problems with waiting until the last minute to prepare for a possible flu pandemic:
- Short notice.
- Limited shelf space.
If you think a pandemic could happen, but you're putting off getting prepared, I assume it's because of just one thing: you expect to have enough time to get ready when the virus, in fact, does emerge. (And you're willing to take a chance on that.)
OK. Let's assume it takes two months for a pandemic flu to spread to population centers around the world. You have two months to prepare. You and everyone else who's waited. You and everyone-else-who's-waited will be vying to snap up extra food and household supplies (as long as supplies last). (Those who sense a need for larger supplies probably have already done most of their preparation as you read this.)
As you and everyone-else-who's-waited hit the stores, some people are buying a week's worth, some a month's worth, some more. (I don't want one box of cereal, I want 10 ... not three cans of soup, but 30 ... not one package of diapers, but 15.) With everyone making such large purchases, shelves might empty very quickly, don't you think? Even if stores quickly pull from their stockrooms to refill shelves, there's only so much in the stockrooms. What then?
Many will be wanting a personal supply of Tamiflu or other medicines and medical supplies.
Businesses will be wanting to stock up on office supplies and other necessities for running their operations. Plus, getting equipment and services for telecommuting. Plus, stocking up on N95 respirators or surgical face masks, hand sanitizers, disinfectants - anything that might keep employees healthy and willing to come to work. Plus getting anything that might facilitate reconfiguring workplaces and reassigning employees.
Of course, in those cities reached by the disease in less than two months, residents will have correspondingly less time to prepare.
Why do you want to put yourself in that vulnerable position?
Why take that risk?
If you do, in fact, think there's a pandemic risk, at least do some baseline preparation now. Don't be caught completely exposed.