Friday, May 1, 2009

The Swine Flu Continues

A public health disaster is not like a tornado or a hurricane. They don’t just hit and leave you with a bunch of debris to clean up. They are insidious. Sneaky bastards.

This is my analogy of where we are today. I am standing on the beach, with scores of other public health workers standing along side of me. In the distance, off in the ocean, we see a hurricane. At least, we think we see a hurricane. It is hazy, and we are not 100% sure about what we are seeing. Nonetheless, we are all blowing as hard as we can, hoping to turn the hurricane back out into the ocean, where is will fizzle into nothingness.

More schools have closed. It is a tremendous burden on those who make that decision.

Many schools have cancelled extracurricular events for the time being. Several mothers left messages on my phone yesterday demanding to know why I would cancel prom and who was going to compensate them for the $800 they spent on their daughter’s dress.

First off, I didn’t cancel prom. I recommended people consider cancelling large gatherings. The school did not cancel prom. They rescheduled it. Second off, I would rather have your daughter not go to prom and be alive than go to prom and be dead in a week. Is it that dire? I don’t know, but I am not going to take that risk with your child.

It is so hard to work so many hours and then be criticized at every turn for over-reacting. Maybe we are. Honestly, I hope we are. I would love nothing more than for this to turn out to be nothing.

Remember Katrina? Remember how everyone criticized the government for not doing enough? Remember all the complaints, the fears, the people dying on the roofs of their houses? We learned a few lessons from that. One was don’t hesitate.

Friends of mine worked 50 hours straight on the ground in New Orleans. Their thanks was a big slap in the face for not doing enough.

Please know that the underlying philosophy, the guiding principal here is that WE DON’T WANT YOU TO DIE. That is why we do what we do.

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