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  • AFD - Osterholm Statements

    Dr. Osterholm At The Vancouver Conference

    # 2105

    Dr. Michael .T. Osterholm, director of CIDRAP (Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy), has never shied away from discussing - in stark terms - the worst ramifications of a severe pandemic.

    This bluntness has earned him some critics along the way, but also a great many admirers.

    Yesterday Dr. Osterholm appeared at a pandemic conference in Vancouver, where he warned that the deadliest danger from a pandemic will stem from a failed infrastructure and the economic chaos that will follow.

    First the article, then some discussion.

    Economic chaos will kill more than pandemic, expert warns

    Katie Mercer, Canwest News Service

    Published: Wednesday, June 25
    VANCOUVER - During an influenza pandemic, freighters will be docked, medications will be scarce and people will starve, a leading international expert told a conference Wednesday.

    "More people will likely die from this than from the pandemic," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

    North American pandemic planning hasn't factored in its dependency on Asian markets, Osterholm told attendees to the "Are You Ready for a Pandemic?" conference.

    The impending pandemic will most likely originate in Asia, the "roulette table" for serious H5N1 flu virus genetic mutations that cause pandemics, warned Osterholm. If that happens, trade supply lines will die along with the influenza's victims, he added.

    Osterholm's apocalyptic warnings have lauded him the "Chicken Little" of influenza pandemics by some. Panicked and angry e-mail responses to his appearance on Oprah last year single-handily shut down his university's computer server.

    But international influenza researchers predict the next pandemic will be similar to the 1918-19 Spanish Flu, which killed more than 40 million people.

    The next pandemic will be global in just weeks and will last 12 to 18 months, Osterholm said, although noting that the economic effects will be instantaneous.

    The problem is that pandemic planning in North America has been based on all other factors such as trade and electricity being normal, but that won't be the case, said Osterholm.

    (Continue reading. . . )

    In the interest of full disclosure, I am an unabashed fan of Dr. Osterholm.

    No, I've never met him, but I do admire his willingness to publicly entertain the possibility of a worst-case scenario, and his ability to do so calmly and professionally.

    Unfortunately, what Dr. Osterholm has been saying for the past three years are things that many people would prefer be left unsaid.
    As a society we like to maintain the fiction that `all's well', and that if a crisis erupts, we will be ready. It's good for morale, it's good for the economy . . . and that's good for politicians.
    But the truth is, a severe pandemic - one with a CFR (Case Fatality Ratio) of over 2% and a moderately high attack rate - would put economic and logistical stresses on our world unlike anything we've ever seen.

    Dr. Osterholm's warnings are not farfetched under that scenario.

    Granted, we could get lucky with the next pandemic. We could see a low CFR, or a low attack rate. It could be a Category 1 or 2 pandemic instead of a Category 5.

    But planning for a mild pandemic is about as smart as taking a knife to a gunfight.

    Like it or not, we need to seriously consider and explore the worst case scenarios. And we need to do so publicly, not just behind closed doors.

    People need to know what they may be facing sometime in the future.

    Not because these things are fated to happen, but because we dare not risk everything on them not happening.

    posted by FLA_MEDIC @ 8:02 AM

  • #2
    Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

    Thread on this subject on FluTrackers here:


    • #3
      Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

      > I am an unabashed fan of Dr. Osterholm

      ahh well. He twists the truth (1830 as bad as 1918) and
      uses tricky,misleading wordings to
      achieve his goal (100%, not if but when). He gives no panflu
      probability estimates.
      The purpose sanctifies the means ?
      I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
      my current links: ILI-charts:


      • #4
        Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

        "Granted, we could get lucky with the next pandemic. We could see a low CFR, or a low attack rate. It could be a Category 1 or 2 pandemic instead of a Category 5.

        But planning for a mild pandemic is about as smart as taking a knife to a gunfight.
        Like it or not, we need to seriously consider and explore the worst case scenarios. And we need to do so publicly, not just behind closed doors."


        • #5
          Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

          Pandemic of 1839-31: high morbidity, low mortality, mostly effecting the elderly (as reported in seasonal influenza, and other influenza pandemics).

          Pandemic and epidemic influenza, 1830-1848. Patterson KD. Soc Sci Med. 1985;21(5):571-80.

          Four major influenza epidemics were recorded between 1830 and 1848. The 1830-1831 epidemic may have originated in China; then and in 1833 influenza advanced westward out of Russia into Europe. In 1836-1837, influenza diffusion was largely north to south, and in 1847-1848 the disease swept through the Mediterranean to southern France and thence elsewhere in Western Europe. Each of the four epidemics spread rapidly and caused very high morbidity rates. Although case-mortality rates were always low, each epidemic killed thousands of people, with most deaths being among the elderly. Many previous writers have described all four outbreaks as pandemics, but true pandemics, presumably caused by major new viral types, are clearly identifiable only in 1830-1831 and 1833. The status of the 1836-1837 outbreak is unclear, but there was no pandemic in 1847-1848.

          "In terms of virulence and lethality, the 1918 to 1919 influenza pandemic was the worst in history. It was unique in its predilection and lethality among young healthy adults." - BA Cunha, Influenza: historical aspects of epidemics and pandemics. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 2004 Mar;18(1):141-55.

          We presume Osterholm is referring to the high morbidity rate when comparing the 1918 and 1830 pandemics.


          • #6
            Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

            Osterholm: The Reality Of Pandemic Planning

            # 2305

            Michael Osterholm PhD, MPH, Director of CIDRAP (Center For Infectious Disease Research & Policy), is widely regarded as one of the leading voices urging action to prepare for an influenza pandemic.

            His credentials are impeccable, and he is both a charismatic and knowledgeable public speaker. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the CIDRAP Business Source.

            Normally access is through a paid subscription.

            Last week Dr. Osterholm wrote a remarkable article for the CIDRAP Business Source called The reality of pandemic planning: I've hit the wall but I'm not giving up.

            Friends and colleagues of Dr. Osterholm felt this article was too important not to be widely available, and urged him to make it publicly accessible.

            Dr. Osterholm has graciously done so.

            I've only printed the opening paragraphs. Please follow the link to read this article in its entirety.

            You will find it well worth the effort.

            The reality of pandemic planning: I've hit the 'wall' but I'm not giving up

            Special feature alert: Welcome to CIDRAP Business Source, a subscription service from the University of Minnesota designed to help businesses prepare for public health threats. This commentary by infectious disease and preparedness expert Michael T. Osterholm, MPH, PhD, Editor-in-Chief, appeared in the Sep 11 Osterholm Briefing. In view of the importance of Dr. Osterholm's message to all organizations and individuals, we're making this column available to the general public. We encourage you to explore our content-rich site for additional context and commentary.

            Michael T. Osterholm

            September 11, 2008 (CIDRAP Business Source Osterholm Briefing) ? Like marathon runners or long-distance swimmers, I hit the "wall" this week when it comes to pandemic preparedness planning?big time. It wasn't pretty. And while I am not giving up, recent events certainly gave me pause. So, I'm changing my strategy?and sharing it with you.

            What brought me to this place

            Yesterday, our presidential campaign devolved into "lipstick and pigs" nonsense, and it became so clear to me that no politician can get elected today by telling the electorate the painful truth: We're not prepared for our future, and we're not going to do much to get prepared. True preparedness requires sacrifice, and, frankly, as a nation we're mostly too "in the moment" to consider sacrificing for the future.

            (Continue reading . . . .)


            • #7
              Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

              SophiaZoe On Osterholm's Open Letter

              # 2309

              Yesterday's publication of Dr. Michael Osterholm's essay from the CIDRAP Business Source called The reality of pandemic planning: I've hit the wall but I'm not giving up has inspired a good deal of comment and conversation throughout Flublogia.

              It would be hard to find a more respected voice in pandemic policy matters than Dr. Osterholm. His frustrations mirrors the frustrations nearly all of us in Flublogia have felt in getting pandemic preparedness on the front burner in our society.

              SophiaZoe, editor of A Pandemic Chronicle (and all around good egg), has written a thoughtful response. While I would echo many of her sentiments, she undoubtedly has expressed them better than I could.

              You can read it here.


              • #8
                Re: AFD - Osterholm Statements

                The "Hitting the Wall" main standingpoints excerpts from post#7 links:

                "during, and of course “the after” of hurricane Ike: Denial of realities and responsibilities at every turn and every level, from residents to the highest officials. If we can’t get our collective acts together to face a threat 600 miles across whose “march” we watched for a week, how much hope is there for a virus so small it takes an electron microscope to see, often hidden behind walls of some nation’s or organization’s idea of ownership?"
                "Until the mainstream news media sees this as “news worthy”, business and community leaders as well as the public at large won’t develop the urgency to make preparation a priority."
                "once the threat level goes up there will be no obtaining the items, and my assumption is Saf T Pak would also not be able to obtain what is not already on hand."
                "an intrinsic difference between a manufacturer delivering a contracted item and a supplier delivering a contracted item. Degrees of control and availability of items being inherently different between manufacturer and supplier. And while one might be sound the other perhaps not so much."
                "No one wants to tell the people and this is a “non-act” against humanity. And it is a crying shame. People should be afforded the opportunity to choose whether or not they want to prepare."
                "Traveling through two huge airports today (Atlanta and of course Las Vegas) I was staggered by the volume of people and the implications for disease transmission and dispersal. Seeing all the people going here and there today served to solidify my own long held belief that there is almost no hope to see a pandemic neatly unfolding according to modeled projections, if it’s gonna happen that is. No wonder measles spread as it did.
                Anyway, again, as we’ve each said previously: We can only do what we can do."
                "If the bells and whistles siren you in remember your hand sanitizer and don’t touch your eyes, ears, nose or mouth when you scoop all that money from the slots into your cup."
                Dr. Osterholm

                "To make matters worse, other national governments and their private-sector enterprises are not making meaningful progress in preparing for the next influenza pandemic, either. In the US, we have a national pandemic influenza plan, but it doesn’t even begin to address the disastrous implications of a collapsing global just-in-time economy.
                Yes, I know that you as planners have tried your best to prepare your organizations—including developing pandemic plans and perhaps even exercising them. But you, better than anyone, also understand the challenges that can’t be addressed because they are out of your control. In many instances, your management hasn’t given you the support you need to move your plans past the first draft. ""


                Now some jokes including the "Wall" word item and the implementation of new ideas,
                to cheer us up after the above dark thema (all communities likes an positive att.).

                For vintage rock music lovers, a classic one:
                (do not open if you are not an Pink Floyd fan)
                Pink Floyd - Another Brick in the Wall

                Kids, don't do that at school or at home for real.
                Just listen to the music.
                And be a br..