Not that it was ever gone but it dropped off the radar as a news story. Once it was clear people wouldn’t be dropping like flies the interest by the media in the story went completely away. Now that kids are heading back to school it has come back into the news.
Also there’ve been all sorts of meetings and pronouncements on the flu by the medical community. 100 million people could be get sick from Babe Flu. Up to 90,000 people could die. Hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed by people seeking treatment. 20 to 30 percent of the work force could be at home either sick or taking care of a sick child.
The news media ate it up. Dire predictions of disaster. Except the problem is no one really knows how bad the outbreak will be.
I had a dinner with a friend on Friday and we wondered why more information wasn’t being put out to the public. If Babe Flu is supposed to overwhelm hospitals wouldn’t it make sense to launch a campaign to have people get the regular flu shot. If there’s a bad regular flu season, hospitals can be overwhelmed, so it seems prudent to take steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. That means making sure as many people as possible get the regular flu shot.
The regular flu shot is available now. So there should be a big push for people to get the shot now. That would include offering free flu shots as soon as possible. The free flu shot offers seem to start in late September or October. They should be starting now. The more people that you can prevent from getting the regular flu, the more help this will be if Babe Flu takes off.
Also there should be public service announcements about how to prevent the spread of flu. I remember Bill Cosby doing public service announcements about what to do in case of a fire. These should be made now about the flu. They should then start running on TV. And they should be seen during prime time not a 6 am when the Cosby commercials seem to show up.
Another question that’s been raised is the ability of the medical infrastructure being able to handle giving out two shots for Babe Flu. Because two shot are needed are there enough trained professionals to give them out. Is there going to be a need for volunteers to help give out shots? If that’s the case then shouldn’t the push to find these volunteers be now so they can be trained and ready when the Babe vaccine is finally available. I don’t understand why they’re waiting on this one.
I guess the bottom line for me on Babe Flu is this. The government needs to be doing a great deal more to inform people about what to do and what will happen.
In a quick update I learned this afternoon that Elmo will be helping the government spread the word on Babe Flu.
Here are the PSAs