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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Family faces hate related charges after finding teen daughter’s boyfriend in closet

first_imgThree people are currently facing hate related charges among others after they allegedly held a teen against his will, yelled racial slurs at him, and beat him after they found him hiding in their 15-year-old daughter’s bedroom closet.The incident was reported, Thursday afternoon in California.Officials say the family identified as girl’s mother, 46-year-old Haydee Arguello, 46-year-old her stepfather, Wilfredo Amaya, and her biological father, 49- year-old Luisandor Suarez, came home around 2:30 am that morning to find their daughter’s 17-year-old boyfriend hiding in their daughter’s closet.The teen says the family “became irate and started assaulting” him. The family was said to have used rope to tie up the teen for several hours while they hit him and reportedly yelled racial slurs at him.The family’s older daughter’s told reporter, however, that it was the teen that attacked their family and that the family was forced to use a rope to restrain him but never harmed the victim.“They were so scared because they found someone in the closet,” Belkys Gomez told ABC San Francisco affiliate KGO. “They jumped because everyone was sleeping and this guy started kicking my stepfather and trying to kill him.”“He punched her and then my stepdad, of course, is not going to let anyone hit his wife. They tried to stop him and he was acting very violent so they grabbed a rope to try to tie him down and ask him why he was at the house,” Katherine Gomez said.While the family members of the suspects maintain that they did not abuse the victim and that was the victim, neighbors told investigators that they could hear the victim repeatedly scream out in pain.The suspects have each been charged with multiple felonies relating to committing a hate crime, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats and are currently being held without bail.The 15-year-old daughter has since been placed into the care of Child Protective Services.last_img read more

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