The 1918-19 flu pandemic killed 40-100 million people, a large proportion of whom were young adults. The chance of a similar pandemic in the next few years due to a variant of the current strain of H5N1 bird flu is unknown, but if we guess 10%, then the expected value is about 7 million deaths. With an average remaining life expectancy of roughly 40 years, that's about 280 million life-years. In addition, close relatives of the victims would be affected to an extent equivalent to, let's say, 1 year of their lives, or around 30 million life-years.
Human News aims to devote 1 character to each 40,000 life-years, or 1000 average lives. Thus, this story can have about (310 million) / 40,000 = 7700 characters. The photo occupies about 500 characters, and 900 characters of the previous issue's article on flu serves as an introduction to this article, whose length is thus about 7700-500-900=6300 characters.