In 1918, a mutated, lethal pressure of the “Flu” (or Influenza), swept around the globe to trigger the third deadliest plague in recorded human historical past. Printed analysis suggests the ultimate international loss of life toll could have arguably been as excessive as 100 million. But, regardless of twenty years of biologic occasion preparedness at the price of effectively over $80 billion, the U.S. stays unprepared to deal with a flu pandemic of an identical scale if one ought to happen, contends Dr. Steven Hatfill, a specialist doctor and virologist with coaching in mass casualty administration and emergency response.
His view is supported by a Nationwide Intelligence Estimate, a number of Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) reviews and testimony, and the lately launched new International Well being Safety Index by the Johns Hopkins Middle for Well being Safety.
After greater than a decade of examine, Dr. Hatfill and his crew have printed a complete e book, “Three Seconds Until Midnight” which revisits the challenges of the 1918 pandemic and highlights the restrictions of the present U.S. public well being system whereas providing some doable options. With an introduction written by the well-known virus-hunter C.J. Peters, MD, the e book additionally delves into the causes and issues brought on by the persevering with emergence of latest human infectious ailments beforehand unknown to science.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans assume that the CDC and public health authorities will rapidly detect a new outbreak of a lethal infectious disease and quickly respond with a vaccine, drugs, and other measures to contain the event. In reality, none of this is guaranteed,” Dr. Hatfill emphasizes.
The most recent Division of Well being and Human Providers (DHHS) paperwork present that in a 1918-type pandemic Influenza occasion, a minimal of 123 to 125 million People won’t obtain any anti-viral medicine or vaccine till after the height interval of infections and deaths. As these people watch a few of their neighbors, co-workers, or members of the family turn out to be ailing and a few die round them, all there might be is authorities recommendation to often wash their fingers, cough or sneeze into their sleeve, and if sick, to remain residence from work.
Within the e book, Dr. Hatfill and his crew level out how the U.S. has an inadequate public well being workforce and lacks the “surge” medical capability wanted for a deadly pandemic state of affairs and that no packages are at present in place to coach volunteers on how one can safely work in an infectious illness surroundings.
To lower hospital overcrowding throughout a 1918-type pandemic, the DHHS will advise communities to arrange Neighborhood Emergency Assist Facilities to triage which sufferers may be nursed at residence. But most adults are uninformed on how one can take care of ailing members of the family in the event that they contract a contagious and probably deadly an infection, and full households will turn out to be ailing, Dr. Hatfill says. Traditionally, the poor, socially deprived city communities may have the best an infection, hospitalization, and loss of life charges.
The most important issues in pandemic preparedness happen with the native metropolis authorities who’re largely unprepared to handle an outbreak of a severe deadly infectious illness on a 1918-type scale. This consists of growing strategies to handle important employee absenteeism, pre-planning alternate care websites, gross fast enlargement of mortuary capabilities and educating non-pharmaceutical interventions to the general public.
“There are worse viruses in nature than another 1918-type influenza strain. These viruses are simply waiting for the right conditions to adapt and jump species into man,” says Dr. Hatfill. “We are the only large mammal to have ever achieved such a high-density global population level and we have no precedent to indicate if we are nearing a threshold or not.” As a consequence, we’re all collaborating in an enormous on-going organic experiment.”
His book outlines the urgent need for a universal flu vaccine and more effective antiviral drugs. It also describes a disaster train concept for improved military support to disadvantaged communities acting in a disaster response mode, similar to the role played by the Armed Forces after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
For extra info, go to www.threesecondsuntilmidnight.com.