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November 21, 2005

NYT: Bush plan inadequate

The New York Times has blocked off most of its content from Web surfers, but here's an editorial you can access: The Perplexing Pandemic Flu Plan. It confirms Leavitt's warnings (see below) about national unpreparedness:

Local health departments and hospitals would have to rely on isolating infected people to limit spread of the disease and using standard medical care to reduce death and suffering. Yet this is precisely where the plan is at its weakest. The voluminous document is mostly a laundry list of things state and local health agencies and hospitals should consider in getting ready. Professional groups and academic experts who have pored over the details find them disturbingly incomplete as a guide to action.

The chain of command is unclear, with myriad agencies and multiple levels of government playing a role. Medical or public health interventions are sometimes suggested without enough information to judge their likely effectiveness or downsides. Liability protection for health workers and compensation for those injured by vaccines are not addressed, nor is the issue of how the United States would respond to requests from other countries for vaccines and medicines. Health departments and medical institutions would be left to scramble for extra vaccines or drugs from private suppliers once stockpiles have been exhausted, setting off a race that should be averted by centralized purchases.

Posted by dymaxion at November 21, 2005 11:25 AM

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