You Make The Policy Response On Flu Emergency

Suppose you were in the government chain of command that has to deal with the swine flu threat. You have good intelligence from the CDC that this is a new strain of flu, that it’s transmitted from human to human and that it could be deadly but so far not enough data to confirm that. What would you do?

a) Order the borders closed, close all schools nationwide, ask that any sponsors of large gatherings of people (think sporting events) either postpone the events or limit admissions and suggest that citizens take appropriate measures including the use of masks and frequent washing of hands.

b) Advise the populace that this is a serious problem and that the government is on top of things. Declare a “national health emergency” which allows you to preposition antiviral medications around the country and institute enhanced monitoring.

B is the government response and seems rational. Panic is not something you want to incite and that might be a byproduct of a. At the same time if you have misinterpreted the gravity of the situation you might have erred as gravely as the Bush administration did with Katrina.

So again, let me ask you. What would you do?

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