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Posted: 10/8/2005 11:09:19 AM EDT

The New York Times

October 8, 2005
Bush Plan Shows U.S. Is Not Ready for Deadly Flu
By GARDINER HARRIS

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 - A plan developed by the Bush administration to deal with any possible outbreak of pandemic flu shows that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation's history.



Opreative word: COULD



A draft of the final plan, which has been years in the making and is expected to be released later this month, says a large outbreak that began in Asia would be likely, because of modern travel patterns, to reach the United States within "a few months or even weeks."

If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply, according to the plan, which was obtained by The New York Times.



Riots at the vaccination centers, huh? Well, lets start vaccinating people at police stations then.



The 381-page plan calls for quarantine and travel restrictions but concedes that such measures "are unlikely to delay introduction of pandemic disease into the U.S. by more than a month or two."



Ah! So, quarantining the bird flu really won't work will it? This also neglects to factor in the responses of other countries. An outbreak in Asia would be big news, and it is entirely possible we refuse to allow planes from Asia to land here directly. No, it wouldn't make a huge difference, but it would slow things up that much more.



The plan's 10 supplements suggest specific ways that local and state governments should prepare now for an eventual pandemic by, for instance, drafting legal documents that would justify quarantines. Written by health officials, the plan does yet address responses by the military or other governmental departments.



Well, if a quarantine is needed, why would it have to be justified? Hmmm...



The plan outlines a worst-case scenario in which more than 1.9 million Americans would die and 8.5 million would be hospitalized with costs exceeding $450 billion.

It also calls for a domestic vaccine production capacity of 600 million doses within six months, more than 10 times the present capacity.



Daily FUD anyone?



On Friday, President Bush invited the leaders of the nation's top six vaccine producers to the White House to cajole them into increasing their domestic vaccine capacity, and the flu plan demonstrates just how monumental a task these companies have before them.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration's efforts to plan for a possible pandemic flu have become controversial, with many Democrats in Congress charging that the administration has not done enough. Many have pointed to the lengthy writing process of the flu plan as evidence of this.

But while the administration's flu plan, officially called the Pandemic Influenza Strategic Plan, closely outlines how the Health and Human Services Department may react during a pandemic, it skirts many essential decisions, like how the military may be deployed.

"The real shortcoming of the plan is that it doesn't say who's in charge," said a top health official who provided the plan to The Times. "We don't want to have a FEMA-like response, where it's not clear who's running what."

Still, the official, who asked for anonymity because the plan was not supposed to be distributed, called the plan a "major milestone" that was "very comprehensive" and sorely needed.

The draft provided to The Times is dated Sept. 30, and is stamped "for internal H.H.S. use only." The plan asks government officials to clear it by Oct. 6.

Christina Pearson, a spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, responded, "We recognize that the H.H.S. plan will be a foundation for a governmentwide plan, and that process has already begun."

Ms. Pearson said that Mr. Leavitt has already had one-on-one meetings with other cabinet secretaries to begin the coordination process across the federal government. But she emphasized that the plan given to The Times was a draft and had not been finalized.

Mr. Leavitt is leaving Saturday for a 10-day trip to at least four Asian nations, where he will meet with health and agriculture officials to discuss planning for a pandemic flu. He said at a briefing on Friday that the administration's flu plan would be officially released soon. He was not aware at the briefing that The Times had a copy of the plan. And he emphasized that the chances that the virus now killing birds in Asia would become a human pandemic were unknown but probably low. A pandemic is global epidemic of disease.

"It may be a while longer, but pandemic will likely occur in the future," he said.

And he said that flu planning would soon become a national exercise.

"It will require school districts to have a plan on how they will deal with school opening and closing," he said. "It will require the mayor to have a plan on whether or not they're going to ask the theaters not to have a movie."



Wait...why not use the military for that? I mean, they're the ONLY guys capable of handling such decisions!



"Over the next couple of months you will see a great deal of activity asking metropolitan areas, 'Are you ready?' If not, here is what must be done," he said.

A key point of contention if an epidemic strikes is who will get vaccines first. The administration's plan suggests a triage distribution for these essential medicines. Groups like the military, National Guard and other national security groups were left out.

Beyond the military, however, the first in line for essential medicines are workers in plants making the vaccines and drugs as well as medical personnel working directly with those sickened by the disease. Next are the elderly and severely ill. Then come pregnant women, transplant and AIDS patients, and parents of infants. Finally, the police, firefighters and government leaders are next.

The plan also calls for a national stockpile of 133 million courses of antiviral treatment. The administration has bought 4.3 million.

The plan details the responsibilities of top health officials in each phase of a spreading pandemic, starting with planning and surveillance efforts and ending with coordination with the Department of Defense.

Much of the plan is a dry recitation of the science and basic bureaucratic steps that must be followed as a virus races around the globe. But the plan has the feel of a television movie-of-the-week when it describes a possible pandemic situation that begins, "In April of the current year, an outbreak of severe respiratory illness is identified in a small village."

"Twenty patients have required hospitalization at the local provincial hospital, five of whom have died from pneumonia and respiratory failure," the plan states.

The flu spreads and begins to make headlines around the world. Top health officials swing into action and isolate the new viral strain in laboratories. The scientists discover that "the vaccine developed previously for the avian strain will only provide partial protection," the plan states.

In June, federal health officials find airline passengers infected with the virus "arriving in four major U.S. cities," the plan states. By July, small outbreaks are being reported around the nation. It spreads.

As the outbreak peaks, about a quarter of workers stay home because they are sick or afraid of becoming sick. Hospitals are overwhelmed.

"Social unrest occurs," the plan states. "Public anxiety heightens mistrust of government, diminishing compliance with public health advisories." Mortuaries and funeral homes are overwhelmed.

Presently, an avian virus has decimated chicken and other bird flocks in 11 countries. It has infected more than 100 people, about 60 of whom have died, but nearly all of these victims got the disease directly from birds. An epidemic is only possible when a virus begins to pass easily among humans.

Lawrence K. Altman contributed reporting for this article.



There you have it folks. Panic!

I'm still going to work in the morning. Maybe I'll buy a surgical mask on the way in.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:17:06 AM EDT


So your point is there should be no planning for a worst case scenarios because it MIGHT not happen.

Operative word: MIGHT

DUH…
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:25:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Max_Mike:


So your point is there should be no planning for a worst case scenarios because it MIGHT not happen.

Operative word: MIGHT

DUH…



Well, I dunno. This whole thing just seems out of hand. The gov't does this stuff alot, but it just seems outrageously sensationalized to me. That's my point. This reminds me of the Y2K BS.

I still remember, years ago, Proceedings of the US Naval Institute reported on an exercise run using the US Navy and NEST. The scenario was that a nuke was hidden on a container ship headed for a major east coast port. I believe the Navy and NEST had the departure port (I can't remember if they had the arrival port) and 3 days to locate the device once the ship arrived at its destination.

Guess what? We lost a major city to a nuclear event in that scenario. I didn't see major headlines in the NYTimes about that.

I've seen alot of responses about panic, and this and that and...ever think its reporting like this that contributes to that panic?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:27:24 AM EDT
How prepared are we if Yellowstone goes up?

If a nuke blows up a major city?

An anthrax or smallpox outbreak?

We cannot expect the government to be prepared for every possible emergency.

No should we depend on them to be!

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:30:30 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/8/2005 11:31:48 AM EDT by lippo]

Presently, an avian virus has decimated chicken and other bird flocks in 11 countries. It has infected more than 100 people, about 60 of whom have died, but nearly all of these victims got the disease directly from birds. An epidemic is only possible when a virus begins to pass easily among humans.




Sounds like a real pandemic for sure.

This "panic" the White House wants you to worry about is all about control. You are scared and they control your willingness to give them anything they want. Next thing you know, Bush will say the renewal and strengthing of the Patriot Act will help stop the coming plauge. You know, if "possible" terrorist attacks won't get you to give up your Rights, if Natural Disasters won't get you to give up your Rights, maybe a "PLAUGE" will get you to give up your Rights.

FDR once made a statement something to the effect, there are no coincidences in government, everything is planned.

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:33:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/8/2005 11:33:26 AM EDT by jkstexas2001]
Katrina should have taught us that "we are on our own" during SHTF events. Plan accordingly. When the authorities do step in, it is not pretty (gun confiscations, etc)
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:33:27 AM EDT
They're well advised to plan for it. Flu pandemics happen about every 20-30 years, and the strain currently floating around is more deadly than usual. If it makes the jump to humans it could have a 5-10% fatality rate. What do you think would happen if 10% of the people you knew died in the space of a couple months?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:34:45 AM EDT

Originally Posted By migradog:
How prepared are we if Yellowstone goes up?

If a nuke blows up a major city?

An anthrax or smallpox outbreak?

We cannot expect the government to be prepared for every possible emergency.

No should we depend on them to be!




I agree.

So, where's the article about personal hygene that could help prevent this flu? How about what kind of mask to buy to filter most of the virus out? Why don't I see personal preparedness articles instead of how the gov is going to save me?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:34:55 AM EDT
this remarkebly sounds like hey american public lets not focus on me installing a croney on the supreme court, and also lets forget about this immigration problem

damn it, we have a bird flu in asia people, lets be ready
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:37:35 AM EDT
Anyone who downplays this matter is a pure idiot (the folks who posted the ). This flu is remarkably similar to the 1918 flu. To see what life was like, here is an eyewitness report.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/conditions/10/07/1918.flu.witness/index.html

Witness to 1918 flu: 'Death was there all the time'
98-year-old man recalls pandemic that killed millions
By Kelley Colihan
CNN

FRAMINGHAM, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Kenneth Carotty was 11 years old when the "great flu" hit his neighborhood in Framingham, outside Boston.

"It was scary, because every morning when you got up, you asked, 'Who died during the night?' You know death was there all the time."

The 1918 pandemic is thought to have killed anywhere from 20 million to 100 million people around the world. Researchers recently re-created the virus to study it for clues on how to fight the current strain of bird flu, which threatens to become the next great flu pandemic.

As an altar boy, Carotty said he served in more than 30 Masses for the dead, some for flu victims some for those who died on the battlefields of World War I, which was in its final weeks.

"They'd have those monstrous big candles on the first six aisles on the body that was drawn down, and I remember the heartbreak I felt when I saw that person lugged down the center aisle, down the steps packed into a small truck," he said.

At 98, Carotty resides in a nursing home in his hometown in Massachusetts. In 1918, he lived there with his parents and four sisters.

He didn't get sick, but two of his sisters came down with the flu. His mother kept him downstairs, while his ill sisters stayed upstairs until they were well enough to move about.

Five neighbors on his street of about 20 houses died during the season of death, he recalled.

"People were very leery of each other. And when we went out, we wore a mask over our noses and mouths," he said.

Carotty said people also covered their shirts with holy medals to "ward off the evil of this terrible disease."

Historian John Barry, author of "The Great Influenza," said the disease "killed more people in 24 weeks than AIDS has killed in 24 years."

The worst-hit U.S. cities were Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

Barry said vigilantes patrolled the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico, making people wear their masks.

President Woodrow Wilson continued sending troop ships to Europe, something Barry describes as "floating coffins."

Treatment was limited in 1918 -- Carotty said people tried folk medicine, prayer, anything.

"There were no antibiotics, there was just hope that you'd get through, that fate was kind enough that it wouldn't hit you or yours," he said.

Bayer aspirin was just hitting the market. But because it was a German company, and Germany was a foe in World War I, many Americans distrusted it and even believed the new product was a form of germ warfare.

A theory, Barry notes, that was even suggested by U.S. government officials. He said the pandemic caused the United States largely to "grind to a stop."

"Fear drove everybody inside," he said. Across the United States, "60 percent absentee rates" and empty city streets were common, Barry said.

He said the climate of fear was brought on by a mistrust of government officials and the press.

"People could see while they were being told on the one hand that it's ordinary influenza, on the other hand they are seeing their spouse die in 24 hours or less, bleeding from their eyes, ears, nose and mouth, turning so dark that people thought it was the black death," Barry says said. "People knew that they were being lied to; they knew that this was not ordinary influenza."

Nearly as quickly as it struck, the 1918 flu seemed to disappear.

Did it mutate? Or did people on Earth now have antibodies?

Leading scientists say both likely happened. Scientists say weakened strains of the 1918 virus have shown up since then. And as people are exposed to flu strains, they develop resistance to them.



Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:40:08 AM EDT

Originally Posted By lippo:
Sounds like a real pandemic for sure.



Right now the virus is spread to humans by birds. Flu viruses easily mutate and jump between humans, pigs, and birds. A few mutations of the virus, which has happened many, many times in the past, and it could start spreading from humans to humans. Given the mortality rate of arond 50% from the virus when picked up from birds it is not unreasonable to think that the mutated virus will have a fatality rate of around 5-10% in humans.

Maybe it won't happen. Maybe it won't happen for several years--the virus is endemic in bird populations now and that will provide a resivoir from which mutations may occur for years to come. But given the prospect of millions of Americans being killed by an outbreak it makes a lot of sense to prepare for it and plan for it.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:40:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By lippo:

Presently, an avian virus has decimated chicken and other bird flocks in 11 countries. It has infected more than 100 people, about 60 of whom have died, but nearly all of these victims got the disease directly from birds. An epidemic is only possible when a virus begins to pass easily among humans.




Sounds like a real pandemic for sure.

This "panic" the White House wants you to worry about is all about control. You are scared and they control your willingness to give them anything they want. Next thing you know, Bush will say the renewal and strengthing of the Patriot Act will help stop the coming plauge. You know, if "possible" terrorist attacks won't get you to give up your Rights, if Natural Disasters won't get you to give up your Rights, maybe a "PLAUGE" will get you to give up your Rights.

FDR once made a statement something to the effect, there are no coincidences in government, everything is planned.




It is just plain fucking stupid to ignore the possibilities.

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:41:40 AM EDT
Do other countries have better plans?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:41:42 AM EDT
Wag the dog.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:43:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/8/2005 11:44:57 AM EDT by Max_Mike]

Originally Posted By m4hk33:
this remarkebly sounds like hey american public lets not focus on me installing a croney on the supreme court, and also lets forget about this immigration problem

damn it, we have a bird flu in asia people, lets be ready



No

Bird flu truned up in Romania this week... get it now ... it is spreading ... Half way around the world .

If I mutates then you will not think is so cute.

Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:44:49 AM EDT
It may be better some don't take it seriously. They will not take precautions, get sick, and die, and the stupid gene will get weeded out.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:46:10 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
It may be better some don't take it seriously. They will not take precautions, get sick, and die, and the stupid gene will get weeded out.



Good point... raise the collective IQ by killing off the fools.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:50:24 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
Anyone who downplays this matter is a pure idiot (the folks who posted the ). This flu is remarkably similar to the 1918 flu. To see what life was like, here is an eyewitness report.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/conditions/10/07/1918.flu.witness/index.html

Witness to 1918 flu: 'Death was there all the time'
98-year-old man recalls pandemic that killed millions
By Kelley Colihan
CNN

"People were very leery of each other. And when we went out, we wore a mask over our noses and mouths," he said.

"Fear drove everybody inside," he said. Across the United States, "60 percent absentee rates" and empty city streets were common, Barry said.




If there's a pandemic, then this is likely. I doubt riots will materialize but that's just as possible as the 40% chance I won't have to worry about my student loans if I get this flu.

Once again...where's the articles on personal hygene during a pandemic? Anyone?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:51:23 AM EDT
Before our very pampered/protected lives, epidemics like this were pretty common. Its just not well covered in your high school history class. This is not Chicken Little stuff, it is just a fact of life that we have been spared from for a while. Will these things re-visit us? Sure. Until the end of time. Why would we not prepare for something that we can protect ourselves (or most of us) against? Oh, I remember, there's not enough profit margin in the vaccine.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:54:44 AM EDT
http://www.osha.gov/dsg/guidance/avian-flu.html
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:59:40 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
Anyone who downplays this matter is a pure idiot (the folks who posted the ). This flu is remarkably similar to the 1918 flu. To see what life was like, here is an eyewitness report.



The media is just stirring the pot. Sure this could happen. Most people are just gonna sit home and ring their hands and not do a single thing to prepare. Like everything prepare to your level of comfort and if it comes you can be a little prepared
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 11:59:56 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 12:03:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By AROptics:
http://www.osha.gov/dsg/guidance/avian-flu.html



Outstanding.

Want to start a pool of if this info will be picked up by the media and when?

If this stuff is published in the media it is not going to bed before the first few fatalities of the flu.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 12:03:01 PM EDT
New York Times hit piece. Why do you read that lump of sh!t?
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 12:04:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By zeekh:

Originally Posted By jkstexas2001:
Anyone who downplays this matter is a pure idiot (the folks who posted the ). This flu is remarkably similar to the 1918 flu. To see what life was like, here is an eyewitness report.



The media is just stirring the pot. Sure this could happen. Most people are just gonna sit home and ring their hands and not do a single thing to prepare. Like everything prepare to your level of comfort and if it comes you can be a little prepared



The media is reporting on what has been a big concern for the past few months. The Avian Flu has been a part of the President's Daily Intelligence Briefing for some time. Whether the media "tries to stir it up" or not is not related to the seriousness of this matter. If the media posted no stories on it, or posted headlines on it every day, the matter would be just as serious.
Link Posted: 10/8/2005 12:18:02 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Troy:

Originally Posted By migradog:
We cannot expect the government to be prepared for every possible emergency.

No should we depend on them to be!



Correct.

The problem is that an ever-growing majority feels that it is the government's job to protect and care for them, and they are vocal about it.

-Troy



Not that simple...

Are we going to make and distribute flu vaccine in our basements?

Sure everyone should prepare and sure the Government cannot take care of everything BUT there are things that government can and should do AND it sure as hell should plan for possibilities and take care of the things it should do.
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