So I'm reading this from the Washington Post
this morning (my emphasis in bold):
U.S. Plan For Flu Pandemic Revealed
Multi-Agency Proposal Awaits Bush's Approval
By Ceci Connolly
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 16, 2006; Page A01
President Bush is expected to approve soon a national pandemic influenza response plan that identifies more than 300 specific tasks for federal agencies...
The document is the first attempt to spell out in some detail how the government would detect and respond to an outbreak, and continue functioning through what could be an 18-month crisis, which in a worst-case scenario could kill 1.9 million Americans.
Many critical decisions remain to be made. Administration scientists are debating how much vaccine would be needed to immunize against a new strain of avian influenza, and they are weighing data that may alter their strategy on who should have priority for antiviral drugs such as Tamiflu and Relenza.
The new analysis, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that instead of giving medicine to first responders and health-care workers, as currently planned, it might be wiser to give the drugs to every person with symptoms and others in the same household, one senior administration official said.
The approach offers "some real hope for communities to put a dent in the amount of illness and death, if we go with that strategy," a White House official said.
Each year, about 36,000 Americans die from seasonal influenza. A worldwide outbreak, or pandemic, occurs when a potent new, highly contagious strain of the virus emerges. It is a far greater threat than annual flu because everyone is susceptible, and it would take as much as six months to develop a vaccine. The 1918 pandemic flu, the worst of the 20th century, is estimated to have killed more than 50 million people worldwide.
Alarm has risen because of the emergence of the most dangerous strain to appear in decades -- the H5N1 avian flu. It has primarily struck birds, but about 200 people worldwide have contracted the disease, and half have died. Experts project that the next pandemic -- depending on severity and countermeasures -- could kill 210,000 to 1.9 million Americans.
However, even an effective containment effort would merely postpone the inevitable, said Ellen P. Embrey, deputy assistant secretary for force health preparedness and readiness at the Pentagon. "Unfortunately, we believe the forest fire will burn before we are able to contain it overseas, and it will arrive on our shores in multiple locations," she said.
AND HERE'S THE KICKER:
Homeland Security's Runge has a different concern: "One of the scariest thoughts is, if this country has successfully developed a vaccine within six months of an outbreak or our supply of antivirals is greater, there may be a rush into the United States for those things."
And even if those fears do not materialize, officials have warned that the federal preparations go only so far. Much is left to the states, communities and even individuals.
"Any community that fails to prepare -- with the expectation that the federal government can come to the rescue -- will be tragically wrong," HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a speech April 10. The administration is posting information on the Internet at http://www.pandemicflu.gov
I want to know what the government plans to do about the hordes of illegals that will cross our borders from the south in the event of a avian flu pandemic?? I want any "plan" to contain measures that will safeguard vaccinations and healthcare for AMERICAN CITIZENS AND LEGAL immigrants to our country.
Given the lack of basic medical care and inoculations against ordinary diseases, the less than hygienic living conditions and standards of care, Mexico and the countries south of it are more likely to have major outbreaks of the bird flu. The masses may be uneducated and illiterate in the traditional sense, but they know that they can not possibly get the care and treatment that they need if they are sick in their own Third World countries and will swarm over the border looking for the free handouts to illegals for which the U.S. government is known in the name of "compassion".
How does the government plan to keep out those that are already sick so that they do not bring the disease HERE? How does the government plan to ensure that hospital services are not overwhelmed by illegals (as they are now?) and that vaccinations and treatment go to Americans and legal residents FIRST?? How do we protect American??
If you think this can't happen, you should do a little research on the state of healthcare in the areas that border Mexico... Hospitals and healthcare centers have been going bankrupt at a rate that is 10 the national average (and 25x the average in some locations). Why? Because illegal immigrants streaming across the border are injured and ill and have no means of paying for their care - but the Feds say that you can not turn them away (or turn them in!!) and the hospitals have to eat (absorb) the cost of the treatment... and IF your hospital can remain in business, the cost of treating 10 million illegals is passed on to those with insurance or a means of paying.
From USA Today
: The United States' inability to slow illegal immigration from Mexico is fueling a financial crisis in the 24 counties along the 1,951-mile Southwest border, according to a new study. It says the counties are struggling to fund law enforcement, health programs and other necessities because they are spending millions of dollars a year to care for illegal immigrants.
U.S. law requires hospitals to treat anyone who needs emergency care, regardless of their ability to pay or immigration status. The UTEP study found that border counties have some of the nation's highest rates for uninsured patients, and that treating illegal immigrants accounts for nearly one-quarter of the uncompensated costs at the counties' hospitals. In Pima County, Ariz., hospitals reported having to absorb $76 million in treatment costs in 2000, about one-third of it from treating illegal immigrants.
Cochise County, Ariz., reported spending tens of thousands of dollars each year to collect trash left at remote campsites by illegal immigrants. County Board of Supervisors Chairman Pat Call estimates that 13% of the solid waste generated in Cochise comes from such sites.
About 25% of Cochise's budget paid for health care to uninsured people -- most of them illegal immigrants who went to the county hospital's emergency room, he says.
"The border region has some unique hardships," Call says, citing the UTreportst's analysis of the border counties' relatively high rates of uninsured residents and shortages of doctors and nurses. "The immigration issue, because the feds have not moved fast enough or thoroughly enough to deal with it, just exacerbates the panoply of issues we have here."
And from the Center for Immigration Studies
(2002 report): Health Insurance. According to the Census Bureau, since 1989 the population without health insurance has grown by 7.8 million and stood at 41.2 million in 2001. (Figures for 2001 are based on the March 2002 CPS.) This growth has been driven largely by immigration. Immigrants who arrived after 1989 account for 6.9 million or 77 percent of the growth in the uninsured. Moreover, there where nearly 600,000 children born to post-1990 immigrants who lack insurance, meaning that new immigrants and their U.S.-born children accounted for over 95 percent of the growth in the uninsured population. Thus, it is reasonable to say that the nation's health insurance crisis is being caused by our immigration policy.
High levels of unpaid medical bills for illegal immigrants have forced local health care providers to reduce staffing, increase rates, and cut back services. Dozens of hospitals in the counties along the southwest border have either closed or face bankruptcy because of losses caused by uncompensated care give to illegal immigrants. (Source: Health Insurance Coverage: 2001, U.S. Census Bureau.)
67 percent of counties surveyed by the National Association of Counties cite an increase in immigration as a cause of the rise in uncompensated health care expenses. (Source: Uncompensated Health Care Expenses Report, National Association of Counties, 2002)
Federal law requires emergency rooms to provide treatment to anyone seeking emergency care. In 2000, almost $190 million (about 25 percent) of southwest border hospitals uncompensated costs were for emergency medical treatment for illegal aliens, with another $13 million in ambulance costs. Costs for follow-up care were as high as an additional $100 million. (Source: Medical Emergency: Costs of Uncompensated Care in Southwest Border Counties, U.S./Mexico Border Counties Coalition, 2002)
As states cut their health care budgets to try to make ends meet, high immigration is causing a massive drain on health care resources and taxpayer funds, says FAIR executive director Dan Stein. Thanks to lack of enforcement of federal immigration laws, state taxpayers are being forced to fund health care services for illegal aliens at a time when they can t fund all their services for the general population.
Yes they know that we have to treat them and can't collect a dime. I could go on and on... Google "illegal immigrant health care statistics" -- brings you 8,310,000 results for this search...
This is the scenario of B-movie horror flicks... but it is our reality now. And our government needs to address THIS issue -- the issue of protecting Americans first and stemming an influx of sick illegal immigrants seeking healthcare in this country.
I say, put up the wall, and man it with armed citizens. If we can't get the wall up before the pandemic begins, I say let the citizens of this country arm themselves and stand at post. It may be our only hope for survival.