October 21, 2009
Flu could strike up to one-third of U.S. population

There are now nearly 400,000 confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.

Dr. Martin Blaser, the chair of the department of medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, joins Daljit Dhaliwal to discuss the latest developments in the H1N1 pandemic. He says that as many as 100 million Americans may become infected with the flu this season and explains why the United States has lagged in vaccination distribution.

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5 comments

#5

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11/12/09
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#4

Our government has completely bungled this by not instituting any sort of travel restrictions last spring or closing the borders to Mexico. Doing so would have slowed the spread of the disease and given us, and the rest of the world more time to develop a vaccine.

We were in the middle of an economic crisis and our President was more worried about economics than this virus. It has proven itself to be a huge blunder. The U.S. and Great Britain also put pressure on the World Health Organization not to institute travel restrictions. I believe U.S. policies have caused this to come back at us much harder than it would have had we instituted travel restrictions or at least recommended that people travel as little as possible. China was aggressive about quarantining people and their experience with respect to the number of deaths and total cases has been much better than ours.
I live in Stamford, CT and during the heart of the outbreak in New York Stamford and the surrounding cities sent around 10,000 children into New York City on field trips. It turned out that at the same time there was an estimated 500,000 cases in New York City. It came to New York City because of a field trip. I wrote many emails to the school district in my town begging them not to send our children into one of the epicenters of the disease but my emails fell on deaf ears. Doing so violated their own published recommendations which were to avoid crowded places where there is a known outbreak, but they would not stop the field trips. The local and state health departments were completely incapable of applying any sort of common sense, stating that the CDC didn’t recommend travel restrictions. Of course the CDC left it up to local jurisdictions to deal with local issue. Ours was unique in that we have quite a bit of travel in and out of New York City.
We are now behind the curve on the production of the vaccine and it is coming back at us strong. Had travel restrictions been instituted it would have bought us more time. This is not hindsight on my part it was predictable by anyone who could use a little common sense. Economic concerns overruled our sensibility. There is nothing we can do about that now except reconsider the use of travel restrictions in any areas where it may help. If we get it under control in one area then restrict travel in and out of that area and go on to stamping it out in the next.
As a nation we have also failed to come up with a method to quickly diagnose H1N1, although such methods do exist. There is non-profit hospital in Utah that can return 98% accurate testing in 24 hours. Tamiflu is most effective if administered within the first 48 hours. This testing would give our doctors a huge weapon to combat the disease. Intermountain Medical Center in Utah is one of the few labs in the country that can do this. Accurate and quick testing allows doctors to prescribe Tamiflu or Relenza if necessary and not prescribe it if not necessary. The side effect profile for Tamiflu for children is huge so pediatricians are reluctant to use it unless they can confirm novel H1N1. They are right in that decision. Meanwhile other doctors are using QuickView and other rapid test that have false negatives 50% of the time. We are already at 86 pediatric deaths and we have barely gotten into the flu season. We are nowhere near the peak. Our doctors need support to develop testing facilities and they need it quick. This should have been part of our preparedness planning but it was overlooked. Quick and accurate testing allows children to get back to school and adults to get back to work quickly if they have symptoms but don’t have H1N1. Again we don’t have this because the obvious was not dealt with. The obvious was that we would be hit hard this fall and we would not be able to produce enough vaccine in time. Our second line of defense is anti-viral drugs.
I would recommend that the entire U.S. take note of what is being done at Intermountain Medical Center in Utah. The amazing thing is that the ability to diagnose quickly was developed through good old fashioned, hard work and a Can Do attitude by the lab Supervisor, Debbi Bennion and her staff. I don’t think she is a doctor. She is just getting it done, where others are failing. I called her today. She told me that the equipment cost was about 100,000 to set up a high volume testing process and takes less than a month to put it into operations. Her biggest obstacle in getting it done was the FDA. Why hasn’t the CDC and other hospitals taken note of this?
This is a link to an article describing their work. http://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/imed/about/news/Pages/home.aspx?NewsID=232
We having nothing like this in our area so our doctors are flying blind, sending kids back to school when they shouldn’t, prescribing Tamiflu when the shouldn’t and not prescribing it when they should. They are also using QuickView and other rapid tests that have false negative 50% of the time to o.k. people to go back to work and to school. WE have completely failed in our diagnostic procedures.
Between October 3rd and October 10th we had almost 500 deaths nationwide. That is the approximately the same number of deaths we had from April to September in the Spring. So we are now having as many people die in a weak as we had die in four months in the spring. Again we are nowhere near the peak of the season

#3

Our government has completely bungled this by not instituting any sort of travel restrictions last spring or closing the borders to Mexico. Doing so would have slowed the spread of the disease and given us, and the rest of the world more time to develop a vaccine.

We were in the middle of an economic crisis and our President was more worried about economics than this virus. It has proven itself to be a huge blunder. The U.S. and Great Britain also put pressure on the World Health Organization not to institute travel restrictions. I believe U.S. policies have caused this to come back at us much harder than it would have had we instituted travel restrictions or at least recommended that people travel as little as possible. China was aggressive about quarantining people and their experience with respect to the number of deaths and total cases has been much better than ours.
I live in Stamford, CT and during the heart of the outbreak in New York, Stamford and the surrounding cities sent around 10,000 children into New York City on field trips. It turned out that at the same time there was an estimated 500,000 cases in New York City. It came to New York City because of a field trip. I wrote many emails to the school district in my town begging them not to send our children into one of the epicenters of the disease but my emails fell on deaf ears. Doing so violated their own published recommendations which were to avoid crowded places where there is a known outbreak, but they would not stop the field trips. The local and state health departments were completely incapable of applying any sort of common sense, stating that the CDC didn’t recommend travel restrictions. Of course the CDC left it up to local jurisdictions to deal with local issue. Ours was unique in that we have quite a bit of travel in and out of New York City.
We are now behind the curve on the production of the vaccine and it is coming back at us strong. Had travel restrictions been instituted it would have bought us more time. This is not hindsight on my part it was predictable by anyone who could use a little common sense. Economic concerns overruled our sensibility. There is nothing we can do about that now except reconsider the use of travel restrictions in any areas where it may help. If we get it under control in one area then restrict travel in and out of that area and go on to stamping it out in the next.
As a nation we have also failed to come up with a method to quickly diagnose H1N1, although such methods do exist.

There is non-profit hospital in Utah that can return 98% accurate testing in 24 hours. Tamiflu is most effective if administered within the first 48 hours. This testing would give our doctors a huge weapon to combat the disease. Intermountain Medical Center in Utah is one of the few labs in the country that can do this. Accurate and quick testing allows doctors to prescribe Tamiflu or Relenza if necessary and not prescribe it if not necessary. The side effect profile for Tamiflu for children is huge so pediatricians are reluctant to use it unless they can confirm novel H1N1 (now called 2009 H1N1). They are right in that decision. We are already at 86 pediatric deaths and we have barely gotten into the flu season. We are nowhere near the peak. Our doctors need support to develop testing facilities and they need it quick. This should have been part of our preparedness planning but it was overlooked. Quick and accurate testing also allows children to get back to school and adults to get back to work quickly if they have symptoms but don’t have H1N1. Again we don’t have this because the obvious was not dealt with. The obvious was that we would be hit hard this fall and we would not be able to produce enough vaccine in time. Our second line of defense is anti-viral drugs.
I would recommend that the entire U.S. take note of what is being done at Intermountain Medical Center in Utah. The amazing thing is that the ability to diagnose quickly was developed through good old fashioned, hard work and a Can Do attitude by the lab Supervisor, Debbi Bennion and her staff. I don’t think she is a doctor. She is just getting it done, where others are failing. I called her today. She told me that the equipment cost was about 100,000 to set up a high volume testing process and takes less than a month to put it into operations. Her biggest obstacle in getting it done was the FDA. Why hasn’t the CDC and other hospitals taken note of this?
This is a link to an article describing their work. http://intermountainhealthcare.org/hospitals/imed/about/news/Pages/home.aspx?NewsID=232
We having nothing like this in our area so our doctors are flying blind, sending kids back to school when they shouldn’t, prescribing Tamiflu when the shouldn’t and not prescribing it when they should. Holding kids and adulkts out of school when they shouldn’t. They are also using QuickView and other rapid tests that have false negative 50% of the time to o.k. people to go back to work and to school.
Between October 3rd and October 10th we had almost 500 deaths nationwide. That is the approximately the same number of deaths we had from April to September in the Spring. So we are now having as many people die in a weak as we had die in four months in the spring. Again we are nowhere near the peak of the season

#2

sorry about the typo. I mean “across the country”.

#1

I think that the government, because they are behind on giving the vaccine, should enlist natural health methods of coping with flu, and colds. Informing the public of all of the options would help them to combat these bugs. Vaccines are not the only choice and people can boost their immune systems in other ways. The government can take a stand and educate the people and make these products available giving the natural health industry a boost and even more credibility than they already have. Why should people suffer just because the vaccine is slow to arrive to clinics across the county. Why not educate people about their options and give them some real options instead of creating hysteria. There is great power in knowing what to do. The first line of defense is at home. People are hungry for the truth. It’s time to give them the truth and give them products they can put on their shelf that will help them.

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