The main problem, as I see it, is the cooperation of the international community. Since Bush Co. squandered any and all goodwill the U.S. has enjoyed in previous administrations, we are in deep trouble. Indeed, Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, "Our preparedness is only as strong as its weakest link." There are two weak links: no political will to really confront and pay for preparedness, and, at this moment, Indonesia. From DemfromCT on Daily Kos:
Indonesia, the world's most populous Moslem country, and the epicenter of H5N1 infections in humans...has decided that the H5N1 virus should be owned by Indonesia, and sold to whomever they deem worthy. In the meantime, Indonesia has stopped reporting human cases in a day-to-day basis, rebuffed WHO requests for a shared approach, and condemned humanitarian assistance fro the US by demanding NAMRU-2 (a Navy health lab stationed in Jakarta for many years) leave the country and let Indonesia manage its own internal problems.There are two smaller threats as I see them: the naysayers (the same folks who think global warming is a myth, abstinence only education works, and birth control = abortion) and complacency. Again, DemfromCT,
The pandemic threat has not gone away just because other stories supercede it in the media. Alas, it sees that it will take a crisis to break through the indifference, and in that, we are no different than we ever were. And that is a public health problem and an international shame.Goddess help us all.
What can you do? Track the flu, find out how prepared your city and state governments are, and find out ways to protect yourself and your family. And, always get a flu shot and practice diligent hand hygiene. In 1918, pregnant women and infants were hit hardest. Next, the most healthy and robust of the population: 20-40 year olds. One flu researcher at the time called the victims "doubly dead because they died so young."
Oh yes, and do all you can do to elect Barack Obama in November. Only 84 days until the election.