Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Now that the corporate media and the federobble gummint have gotten around to noticing the danger of an influenza pandemic, with the additional inspiration of the Gulf Coast hurricane debacle, everybody is all of a sudden interested in preparedness. Others are all over the quarantine and martial law thing, which certainly tells you a lot of what you need to know about the Chimpoleon administration's world view and ambitions.

Meanwhile, I decided to look up my own state's bio-disaster plans. Of course they're all under the label of bio-terrorism preparedness because terrorism was the only conceivable threat to the U.S. until a couple of months ago, but what the heck, it's all we've got. It's probably not directly relevant to an influenza pandemic until and unless we have the means to vaccinate the population or hand out Tamiflu to everyone (and don't take Mike Leavitt's word for it that the vaccine is on the way, unless you want to be as gullible as Daniel Schorr), but I started out by downloading the Massachusetts state plans for emergency dispensing.

It all sounds great. Every city and town in the Commonwealth is supposed to be all set and ready to go on 24 hours notice to set up emergency dispensing sites that can throughput 5,000 people per day. Each community needs to establish as many sites as it takes to process their entire population in 2 days. Then they're supposed to clean up the shut-ins and social outcasts on day 3. Meanwhile, at each of these sites, all 5,000 people are filling out questionnaires, being vetted for counterindications for whatever pills or vaccines they're supposed to be getting, and evaluated for already having symptoms in which case they're to be transported to the hospital . . . All this without a riot.

Now just think about this. The radio and TV interrupt this program to bring you the following news bulletin. Go immediately to your local junior high school or the YMCA to get a shot or you will die. Not that there is parking there for 5,000 people, but the second 5,000 don't wait until tomorrow anyway. It's impossible to get a motor vehicle within 4 miles of the place. Some of the people in the mob decide that they and their kids need to get to the front, others disagree with that proposition. The first people who manage to get through the process have no way to leave because their cars are boxed in. There's no food, no water, and forget about sanitary facilities. People are fainting, panicking. Some people in the mob have the sniffles. Maybe some of them really do have influenza and now here they are nose to eyeball with the entire town. The ambulances can't get in or out. Realistically, they're lucky if they can process 1,000 people a day anyway. You get the idea.

How about Plan B?

You can check out the rest of the state's rad plans here.

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