Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Gesundheit

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Democrats accused the Bush administration of botching the job of acquiring enough flu vaccine to protect high-risk groups, such as the elderly and young children. Given that the US relied on only two manufacturers of flu vaccine, any screw-up could cause a problem. And it did.

Recently, lots of people have been worrying about the spread of avian flu. Yet once again, the Bush administration seems to be, shall we say, less than fully engaged. This is despite the fact that no one in America has immunity to avian flu and, thus far, it has killed approximately half of those humans unfortunate enough to catch it. The last time America was hit with a similarly new variant of the flu virus, 675,000 people died. Perhaps 40 million people died worldwide.

But don't worry. The Bush Administration has a plan. Let's hope it works better than FEMA's response plan for a hurricane hitting New Orleans. Hurricane "Pam" was an exercise performed LAST YEAR to prepare for a disaster in New Orleans.
"We made great progress this week [July 2004] in our preparedness efforts," said Ron Castleman, FEMA Regional Director. "Disaster response teams developed action plans in critical areas such as search and rescue, medical care, sheltering, temporary housing, school restoration and debris management. These plans are essential for quick response to a hurricane but will also help in other emergencies."
My advice: Stock up on surgical masks. You're going to need them.