14 January 2006

Avian Flu Pandemic Planning Guides Released

Avian Flu Pandemic Planning Guides Released

The continued threat of Avian Flu is once again gaining momentum in the press, and within government agencies. While many continue to warn the public of the impending health crisis, there are a group of people who maintain that the continued threat of a pandemic is remote, even non-existent. The Northeast Intelligence Network's position on the Avian Flu is: "Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst".

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says:
"The avian flu bears the potential for societal disruption of unprecedented proportion. Strong partnerships and smart planning will be our best protection against this threat. At the president's direction, we are tapping every capability and expertise within the federal government and among first responders and public health officials to maximize our nation's preparedness." This does not mean that any American citizen should expect the government to take care of them. Those who follow that flawed line of thinking were most recently (and most severely) disappointed in the wake of hurricane Katrina. Michael Chertoff also says: "Stockpiling supplies and developing family response plans in case disaster strikes not only might save lives - it's also a civic duty."

In the first week of 2006, the United States Government released a planning guide for dealing with the upcoming outbreak of a pandemic. This is located at a highly recommended government web site, which contains the official "What you need to know" information for Americans. Some of the planning guide's topics include:

• Social Disruption May Be Widespread
• Being Able to Work May Be Difficult or Impossible
• Schools May Be Closed for an Extended Period of Time
• Transportation Services May Be Disrupted
• People Will Need Advice and Help at Work and Home
• Be Prepared

Let the above list of topics sink in for a moment. Sounds pretty bad, doesn't it? Once the meanings of those topics are reflected upon, the true scope of pandemic effects begin to be revealed.

Even when confronted with these disturbing facts, and when given this kind of tool for use, some people will not take a pandemic threat seriously. Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel, and Tim Russert were warning about the imminent threat of Avian Flu pandemic on Christmas Day, on MSNBC's Meet The Press. The transcript of this show is located here. During this broadcast, Tim Russert, the host of this program, asked the question: "Ted Koppel, how do you cover a story like that without alarming people and still do your job as a journalist to prepare people?" Perhaps this is the reason that more media and politicians are not sounding the alarm to the American people. Certainly, no one wants to be held responsible for inciting panic or riots over the severity of an Avian Flu pandemic, even though the need remains to prepare people for its eventuality.

All one need do is read the warnings that are currently out there, to know that we are being warned by our own government about the eventuality of a worldwide Avian Flu pandemic. Likewise, one must "read between the lines" to know that this may be all the warning we get, in order to avoid the certain panic, riots, and bare shelves that will face us when the threat of Avian Flu and the necessity of self-quarantine becomes too obvious to ignore.

Government officials urge people to prepare to be on their own for up to six months in the event of a pandemic. There is a government-sponsored planning guide released, that outlines the need to be ready, the need to be able to live in one's home, without services or work or transportation for an extended period. The threat is real. The need to be prepared is real. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

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