[Premed-talk] swine flu study group with white house communications director

André Pineda apineda at fas.harvard.edu
Mon Nov 2 14:06:19 EST 2009

  Hey all, hit up this very special study group with special guest Anita
Dunn, one of the closest advisers to the president.

A Study Group with IOP Fellow Stephanie Cutter
The Swine Flu Crisis:
Controlling a Flu Pandemic without fear or panic in the Modern Media
GUEST: White House Communications Director Anita Dunn

IOP FDR room

join us on



Federal officials have been working around the clock to put plans in place
to prevent a flu pandemic that could cost hundreds of thousands of lives.
Equally important is an effort to prevent panic among the American public in
the modern media environment that documents with great detail every
outbreak, hospitalization and death by the virus.

This summer, more than a million Americans were infected with H1N1, the
deadly strain of the flu virus, more than 5,000 were hospitalized, and more
than 300 died. The H1N1 flu virus continues to circulate in this country and
in at least 100 other countries around the world – especially in the
Southern Hemisphere, where flu season is underway. Scientists and public
health experts forecast that the impact of H1N1 could worsen this fall, when
the regular flu season hits and with the start of the school year.

According to the New York Times, seasonal flus kill an estimated 250,000 to
500,000 people worldwide each year. However, with the H1N1 strain, officials
are concerned about greater lethality given the pace of contamination, the
strength of the virus and potential shortfall of vaccinations. With
questions about adequate supplies of flu vaccines, experts believe it may
not be vast enough to avert an epidemic and high rates of death if the virus
starts to spread widely and become more virulent.

This Wednesday's study group we will hear from Anita Dunn about all the ways
the White House has attempted to control the flu outbreak as well as keeping
panic and fear low. Hope to see you all there!


*Basic H1N1 Timeline*

   - *March 17: Mexico -* Earliest known onset of a case that is later to be
   confirmed as Swine-Origin Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Infection. *
   - *March 28:* * United States* Earliest known onset of a USA case later
   confirmed as swine flu, that of a nine-year-old girl residing in *Imperial
   County, California*<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_County,_California>
   . *http://www.webcitation.org/5jiAdcpUZ*<http://www.webcitation.org/5jiAdcpUZ>
   - *April 27:  WHO -* The Emergency Committee meets for the second time.
   The * WHO* Director-General issues a statement that containment of the
   outbreak is not feasible, and elevates the pandemic alert from Phase 3 to
   Phase 4. *
   - *July 29:*  *United States - * The U.S. military wants to establish
   regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the
   event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to
   Defense Department officials. *
   - *Sept. 21:* * U.S.* The U.S. government orders a total of 251 million
   doses of H1N1 vaccine from manufacturers, up from the long-planned total of
   195 million.
   - *Oct. 16:*  * U.S. “*An initial shortfall of swine flu vaccine is
   predicted shortly after the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and
   influenza goes above the epidemic threshold in some states, with flu
   activity widespread in 41 states. It is also announced that the number
   cases, hospitalizations and deaths are unprecedented for this time of year,
   with flu-like illnesses accounting for 6.1% of all doctor visits, itself an
   unusually high number.” *
   - *Oct. 23:  * Obama declares flu emergency to ease restrictions for
   hospitals -


*Political side of the Flu

   - “Families say flu scare comes with a dose of craziness,” *

   - “Shortage of Vaccine Poses Political Test for Obama”

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