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Scarborough Country with Healy & Gorman

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  • Scarborough Country with Healy & Gorman

    (Good for them. Mellie)

    CARBOROUGH: Turning now to bird flu, could it pose a catastrophic threat, on the magnitude of the 1918 flu? That pandemic killed more than 20 million people across the world and close to 700,000 people here in the United States alone.

    There's no doubt that the bird flu is spreading. Forty-eight countries now have confirmed birds infected by the virus. So far, only nine countries have reported human cases of bird flu. And 105 people have died over the past three years.

    With me now to talk about it, former Director of the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and Christine Gorman. She's senior science writer for ?TIME? magazine.

    Doctor, let me begin with you.

    As I told you before, my wife has been trying to get me to do this segment for some time...


    SCARBOROUGH: ... but, just like I said when Hurricane Ivan was coming to hit Pensacola, it's like, oh, you have nothing to worry about.

    But the more I read about this, though, the more concerned I get. Is America in danger of facing a new deadly pandemic?


    Well, the first thing, Joe, is listen to your wife.


    HEALY: The second thing is...

    SCARBOROUGH: Of course.


    HEALY: The second thing is, the answer is yes. And it certainly is the most serious threat we have had facing a pandemic in the past 50 years. And where I say the risk is something we should really sit up and pay attention to is that we are looking at a virus which seems to disproportionately affect people in the ages of the teens, 20s, early 30s. We are talking about not just our children, but our nation's seed corn that is at risk.

    SCARBOROUGH: Are we ready? Is the government ready? Is America's medical community?community ready for a pandemic like this?

    HEALY: We are?we are?we are not ready at all. And I'm not the only one who is saying that. The secretary of HHS has said it repeatedly. We have a long way to go, in terms of community preparedness, our hospitals' readiness, and, also, within our families, whether or not our families are ready. And there are things that each one of those components must do.

    SCARBOROUGH: Christine Gorman, I saw an ad?I believe it was in ?The Wall Street Journal? yesterday?as we were preparing for this segment, where you?you had a broker saying that their clients needed to prepare for the economic impact of this pandemic.

    I mean, that's pretty serious stuff. What would the impact of a 1918-style pandemic be on America's economy?

    CHRISTINE GORMAN, SENIOR SCIENCE WRITER, ?TIME?: Oh, I think it would be devastating on America's economy.

    I think, you know, when you look at the fact that we have a just-in-time economy, you have all kinds of disruptions in, let's say, chlorine water supply, you know, the chlorine being trucked into water treatment plants, in?in the drugs that are delivered. If you don't have a three-month supply of certain heart medications or whatever you are dependent on, that?that could be disruptive, because so much?I mean, for example, Laurie Garrett at?at the Council on Foreign Relations has talked about masks, simple face masks that are mostly made in China.

    If there is a?a disruption there, you?you won't be able to even get them in?in the United States.

    SCARBOROUGH: I'll tell you what. Stay with us, because we are going to have more on this when we come back.

    We will be right back with more SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.


    SCARBOROUGH: Dr. Healy, what do people like my wife and others who are so concerned about this, what do they need to do?

    HEALY: Well, first of all, we have to realize that you have catch this. And, usually, it's respiratory contagion, so, simple things?hand-washing.

    Have a lot of those little alcohol bottles available that you keep in

    your purse or your pocket. Get into the habit of washing your hands,

    keeping your hands away from your face and your nose. Masks will probably

    be in order at the time, and normal preparedness, stockpiling a supply of -

    ? of food and water, future medicines, because there may be problems in transportation.

    And?and some of the economic issues, like pharmacies that maybe have empty shelves, are to be considered. So, there are things you can do. The government has to do its thing, but every family needs to think about what it is going to do.

    SCARBOROUGH: Christine, I will ask you the tough question. What's the likelihood that we get hit by the bird flu in the United States on an epidemic or pandemic level?

    GORMAN: Well, I think it's?it's clear there will be a pandemic at some point in the future.

    What we don't know is if it will be mild or severe. Most people alive in 1968 weren't even aware that they were in the middle of a pandemic. But you were aware of, certainly, if you were alive in 1918. I have a friend who caught the flu in?in 1919. And?and she tells incredible stories about it.

    Whether or not it's severe or mild, we don't know. Whether or not it's the H5N1 virus, we don't know. But it certainly pays to prepare. It's a topic that has been very popular when I have written about it on?on my Global Health Blog on

    I think it?it?as Dr. Healy was saying, it pays to prepare.

    SCARBOROUGH: Dr. Healy -- 15 seconds left?do you agree that this is inevitable?

    HEALY: I think it is inevitable. We don't know the timeline.

    But I think the key thing is, public health officials shouldn't hide the facts because they're afraid the population?population will panic. The reality is, we have to be honest. We have to get people thinking about this, and, when it occurs, handling it in a smart way.

    SCARBOROUGH: All right.

    Thank you so much, as always, Dr. Bernadine Healy, and Christine Gorman.

  • #2
    Re: Scarborough Country with Healy & Gorman

    "I think it is inevitable. We don't know the timeline."

    "But I think the key thing is, public health officials shouldn't hide the facts because they're afraid the population?population will panic. The reality is, we have to be honest. We have to get people thinking about this, and, when it occurs, handling it in a smart way. "

    My thoughts... the WHO and CDC control are hiding the facts to prevent panic. By hiding the facts, they are also causing research to be delayed. Each day that relevant facts and research are delayed, it causes delays that will cost some people their lives.

    An informed public is the best thing I would ever want. They aren't as stupid as some people think.

    An informed public would be more apt to prepare and seek solutions. They would also be less likely to take up arms against their friends and neighbors.... they are prepared.

    The answer to this pandemic problem may come from a seventh grade science student who looks outside the box... or someone else who has been empowered to look outside the box.

    My opinion is that the answer will not come form the WHO or the CDC... it will come from someone outside of the box who is looking inwards... just my humble opinion.
    "Predictable is Preventable" by Safety Expert Dr. Gordon Graham.