2007 SUMMIT COVERAGE: Businesses must overcome ‘fog’ of pandemic preparedness

first_img See also: Adding to that miasma is the state of US healthcare. In part because of a shortage of workers and the physical limitations of medical centers, the system has little “surge capacity” for the huge influx of patients a pandemic would cause. “We have basically taken [the healthcare] system and sucked it to the bone,” Osterholm said. Maintain flexibility. Osterholm recognized the uncertainty involved in pandemic planning and stressed that plans need malleability so they can adapt to the elusive realities of a pandemic. “Anyone who develops a concrete plan is making a mistake,” he said. “Be capable and be flexible. Another layer of mist comes in the form of making decisions about vaccines and antiviral drugs. Osterholm lauded companies like Roche for increasing production of antiviral drugs like osteltamivir (Tamiflu), but said it remains unclear how effective these drugs will be against H5N1 if it becomes the pandemic strain. How high mortality rates will be Overcome pandemic fatigue. Recognize that some executives may see pandemic planning as no longer important, Osterholm said, calling the phenomenon “pandemic fatigue” and saying, “Acknowledge, accept, and plan around pandemic fatigue.” Osterholm spoke at CIDRAP’s “Business Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza: Second National Summit,” held this week for hundreds of leaders in business, government, and academia. How effective and plentiful antiviral drugs and vaccines will be—and when they’ll be ready Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), publisher of CIDRAP News, said that several factors cloud the preparedness landscape: Even if companies stockpile antivirals, they face another dilemma: when to use them. If they were to withhold them during a first pandemic wave anticipating a more severe second wave that didn’t happen, people would question the decision, Osterholm said. Likewise, leaders could decide to distribute stockpiled drugs during the first wave, only to discover that the second is more severe. “When do you blow your wad?” he asked. How our communities will mitigate damage “Pre-pandemic” vaccines can be stockpiled in the hope that they may provide some protection against the influenza strain that ultimately causes a pandemic. However, as pointed out by vaccine expert Gregory Poland, MD, in a separate summit presentation Tuesday, a vaccine targeted to the specific pandemic strain would take months to develop and distribute. Feb 7, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Orlando, FL – As businesses develop pandemic preparedness plans, they need to cut through a “fog” of uncertainty about exactly what pandemic influenza will look like and how their companies will be able to respond to it, infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm, PhD, MPH, said at a summit in Orlando Monday. The result, said Osterholm, is that “the availability of protective vaccine during the first wave of a pandemic just won’t be there.” He added, “For most of the world’s population, a vaccine will never be available throughout the duration of a pandemic.” Work around “just in time.” “Don’t try to change the global just-in-time economy,” he said. “That’s like swimming up Niagara Falls. Forget it. You’ve got to work around it.” And with estimates of the mortality rate in a pandemic ranging widely, Osterholm surmised, “We don’t really have a clue” about how many people will succumb. How many waves of the pandemic will occur, and how severe they’ll be Pandemic planning can produce its own haze as planners grapple with issues like ensuring their supply chain or determining government’s role. “We talk about what we might do or can do, but we really don’t know,” Osterholm said. “There are so many uncertainties.” This extends to experts’ estimates of how a pandemic might behave. “We have only a general sense of what the next pandemic influenza strain is capable of doing in terms of human illness or subsequent collateral damage,” he said. Add to that today’s just-in-time economy, in which supplies arrive as they are needed so that companies minimize storage costs. “It is the reality of today’s economy,” Osterholm said. “It’s what MBAs are made of.” That reality, though, means that “even a hiccup” of disruption will mean serious shortages, he predicted. Full text of Feb 2007 HHS report on community mitigation measureshttp://www.pandemicflu.gov/professional/community/community_mitigation.pdf Other steps businesses can take, according to Osterholm, include: “You’re not stuck to a plan,” he said. “You’re stuck to a process.” In addition, said Poland, director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minn., drug companies—even at maximum worldwide production—could deliver only enough vaccine to inoculate 1% to 2% of the world’s population. Shining some light into the pandemic cloud, however, is the recent document on community mitigation measures by the US Department of Health and Human Services (see links below). “You don’t want to have a [pandemic planning] policy inconsistent with this document,” Osterholm said. How our overloaded healthcare systems will cope How our global just-in-time economy will affect access to goods and services He took his “fog of pandemic preparedness” concept from the theory of the “fog of war,” a state of ambiguity soldiers can find themselves in when they doubt their own capabilities and feel unsure of their adversary’s capabilities and intentions. Feb 1 CIDRAP News story: “HHS ties pandemic mitigation advice to severity” Learn from veterans. We need to look at those in the military who have studied the fog of war to explore what to do when unsure about what steps to take.last_img read more

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Japan businesses reopen as govt eyes end to emergency measures in some regions

first_imgTopics : As Japan prepares to ease coronavirus restrictions in some parts of the country, a growing number of the country’s businesses are planning to resume operations despite concerns that isolation guidelines were being lifted too early.After a month-long shutdown brought economic activity to a grinding halt, Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Friday that the government was looking at ways to bring some parts of the country out of lockdown measures as the rate of infections has slowed in several outlying regions.”The number of new infections of the coronavirus is significantly falling,” he told reporters. “There are more prefectures with no new coronavirus cases, so lifting the state of emergency is within sight.” Japan this week extended its nationwide state of emergency but said it would reassess the situation on May 14 and possibly lift the measures earlier for some prefectures.Too early?So far, 27 of Japan’s 47 prefectures have lifted some or all requests for residents to remain indoors as much as possible, or are planning to do so in the coming days.About 15,500 coronavirus infections and 590 deaths have been confirmed in the country as of Friday.Businesses were permitted to reopen in Iwate Prefecture in the country’s northeast, which has yet to report any infections, but some local shop owners were wary of resuming normal operations.”It feels like it’s too early to reopen. People have done a good job of keeping infections in the prefecture at zero,” said Mana Takahashi, owner of Clammbon cafe in Morioka City in the prefecture, who has been relying on coffee bean sales for revenue since closing the cafe’s dining area in April.”It would be unfortunate for an infection to occur just as rules are being loosened,” she added, adding that the streets outside her shop have remained largely empty even after the shutdown request was lifted.Across town, sports clubs and karaoke bars were opening for the first time in weeks.”We’ve had a few groups of students, and also single customers have come in so far,” said an employee at a karaoke bar shortly after it reopened at noon on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not permitted to speak with media. “We’re expecting our regulars back tonight.”center_img After lockdown measures led to a record contraction of Japan’s services sector last month, businesses including cafes, bars and sports clubs have been resuming operations even as the coronavirus epidemic has sapped demand.Casual clothing chain Uniqlo reopened 48 stores in Japan on Thursday, including several large stores in Tokyo and Osaka, said its owner, Fast Retailing, while Aeon Co, the region’s biggest supermarket operator, said it was reopening its Aeon Mall shopping centers.A queue of more than 100 people snaked in front of Tokyo’s famed Kinokuniya book store in the Shinjuku district when it reopened on Thursday for the first time in three weeks, local media reported, with most customers waiting to purchase the latest manual for the video game “Animal Crossing.”But Tokyo Disneyland operator Oriental Land on Friday said that the park, one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, would remain closed through May amid the state of emergency in the city and neighboring Chiba Prefecture.last_img read more

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FlyQuest becomes first esports partner for Fathead

first_imgFlyQuest, an esports organisation that competes in multiple titles, has entered a strategic partnership with Fathead, LLC, a company that sells licensed and custom decor. This is Fathead’s first venture into esports, and this deal will see the company offer licensed FlyQuest gear.Specifically, FlyQuest wall decals, wall murals, and big head cutouts will be made available through Fathead and its third party retailers. These items will be available on FlyQuest’s website and at events, too. Fathead predominantly deals in traditional sports, so FlyQuest becoming the first officially licensed esports organisation partnered with Fathead is a positive step for the scene.Scott Pogrow, Head of Business Development for FlyQuest discussed this partnership in a statement: “We are extremely excited to welcome Fathead into the FlyFam. Fathead is a market leader in creating life-size wall decals and big heads for major sports and entertainment properties, which now includes esports. Their vision aligns closely with ours of being leaders in providing fans the ability to show off their passion. Our partnership with Fathead allows us to do just that.”Robby Hogle, CEO of Fathead also had his say: “Fathead thrives on providing fans with opportunities to express their team pride in a BIG way, so we are thrilled to partner with FlyQuest, an outstanding organization that cares deeply about their fan base. We love FlyQuest’s approach to fan-inspired activations and feel we can further enhance the fan experience. Fathead is committed to the esports space and will continue to grow our presence, and we are excited to take our first step with FlyQuest.”FlyQuest has added Fathead as a partner alongside Snickers and 5-Hour Energy. Fathead is partnered with the likes of Quicken Loads, Amrock, Rock Ventures, and Cleveland Cavaliers, among many other companies.Esports Insider says: Seeing an esports organisation such as FlyQuest in the company of the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL is always welcome. Fathead’s offering is a tad out of the norm, we’re definitely looking forward to seeing some big head cutouts of the organisation’s players.last_img read more

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