Plan Warns Of Up To 1.9 Million Us Dead In Flu Epidemic: Report
The United States is woefully unprepared for a possible outbreak of pandemic flu which could kill up to 1.9 million Americans, according to a draft official plan reported in the New York Times on Saturday.
The plan developed by the administration of President George W. Bush warns that hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics and power and food supplies would be disrupted, the report said.
The outbreak, which could spread from Asia to the United States within a "few months or even weeks", could rapidly become the worst disaster in the country's history.
The 381-page plan calls for quarantine and travel restrictions but concedes that such measures "are unlikely to delay introduction of pandemic disease into the US by more than a month or two," the paper said.
The plan suggested specific ways local and state governments should prepare, such as drafting legal documents that would justify quarantines.
In a worst-case scenario, the report warned that more than 1.9 million Americans would die and 8.5 million would be hospitalized with costs exceeding 450 billion dollars, the paper said.
It also called for domestic vaccine production capacity of 600 million doses within six months, more than 10 times the present capacity, according to The Times.
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Scientists Replicate Deadly 1918 Flu Virus
Washington (UPI) Oct 05, 2005
Scientists for the first time have reconstructed the 1918 Spanish influenza virus strain that caused the deadliest flu outbreak in history in an attempt to ward off another worldwide pandemic.