DID THE Obama Administration’s response to the swine flu yield mixed results?
The Obama Administration’s response to the swine flu (H1N1) was based on a plan developed by the Bush Administration. Obama praised his predecessor for it. (Read the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan here.)
But was it a success? “We’re not declaring victory over the H1N1 flu,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano yesterday on NPR. “We also know … that this flu could come back, particularly in the fall, and, so, now were moving into ‘let’s get lessons learned’ from the last 10 days and then move forward.”
One product of the Administration’s response was widespread fear. On Thursday, I offered a list of five reasons why we overreacted.
“Many in my area of Chicago are panicked about the swine flu,” OurValues.org reader “ebo” commented yesterday. “After 9/11, I think we’re all little on edge, not quite knowing what could happen. We’ve all been warned about ‘the big one.’ But, you’d think this was the Black Plague! I’ve gotten recorded phone calls, email updates and my kids came home with daily memos from their schools on how the district is working closely with the health department, so ‘they’re ready’.”
The Obama Administration is working with drug companies on flu vaccine development and production, but Secretary Napolitano made it clear in her NPR interview that they haven’t planned for what happens if thousands of schools are closed and a third of workers stay home:
“I’m not sure many in the private sector really are prepared and have thought through what do you do if you have a 30% percent absenteeism rate, nor in the government how do you make sure the basic functions of society continue even at the high point of an epidemic. So, that’s the kind of planning now that we need to work on over the course of the summer.”
OurValues.org readers pointed out the need for this sort of planning. Bob Luedke said, “I just think it ridiculous that whole school systems have closed down here in Texas for a week. I looked at the BBC map off the OurValues.org link and I believe the whole state only had 40 cases confirmed. My daughter’s district closed for a week, after 1 case had been confirmed in our district! And the kids will not make up this missing week of curriculum.”
Up north in Michigan, David Crumm said, “Lots of American families are finding the pandemic a significant jolt to their lives. I live in a school district of 19,000 children where the whole system shut down for 2 days due to one suspected case. That’s a whole lot of families suddenly changing plans.”
Thankfully, the H1N1 virus wasn’t deadlier than the usual flu. But how to do you rate the Administration’s response? Was it overdone? Or the proper response?
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