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November 01, 2005


the flu plan appears to have three elements:

1. surveillance and early detection - so far so good
2. stockpiling of meds and vaccine, with money for a 'crash program' of cell culture techniques and novel (i.e. DNA) vaccine production -also good, but windfall profits to manufacturers give me pause
3. working with state and local authorities -- not everyone likes and trusts the CDC, this will be interesting.

The full plan still needs to be released and studied.

news story is here.

The press conference wsa most remarkable in aht it left out. Who gets the stockpiled vaccines and drugs? First responders first, but then "at-risk" populations. Does this mean old people or children--a legitimate debate. It seems to me that vaccinating children and health care workers and all workers in confined facilities is prefereable to vaccinating all the occupants of a nursing home, for example, even though my mother is one of those.

He also did not say HOW we would confine the virus first in foreign countries and then in localities where it surfaces.

Bush was able to talk about the virus becoming different in a way that would facilitate human-to-human transmission without saying "mutating" or "evolving." On the other hand, he did talk anout "cell culture" techinques of vaccine development, and I wonder if anyone thought that meant stem cells.

Time for a push to revitalize both pub;ic health and science education. I only heard the former.

And the flu-wiki has competion now from flupandemic.gov.

flupandemic.gov would be a welcome addition. Flu wiki still deals with local issues that the feds are not doing.

Apart from the health concerns, there are also the economic effects of a flu pandemic. Businesses would suffer from travel bans and trade interruptions. Poor people would be hit especially hard; they can't always afford to stay home from their jobs, if they or their children get sick. If they're just barely making it financially, an event like this could knock them down completely.

Everything really does come back to the economy. If there is a flu pandemic, it will show us how well the economy is doing for the average American.

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