Prepare for a pandemic

Mar 262006

GOP Gov. Bill Owens says that each Colorado family should make their own preparations for a possible pandemic. (The possibility of a germ-war attack must be combined with the avian flu possibility, to assess the danger.)

Owens correctly notes that the government alone cannot handle this emergency. But neither the state nor the federal government have done anything near what they could.

Already we face an urgent shortage of nurses; one Colorado hospital was paying $20,000 to lure a nurse from another hospital. The big problem with both pandemic dangers is quick diagnosis, so infected people can be quarantined (by force if necessary). But neither state nor federal government is subsidizing nurse training (nurses won’t volunteer as trainers, because they’d have to take a pay cut).

And the big pharmaceutical companies won’t invest in quick development of new vaccines – this is not as profitable as, say, new diabetes medicines. The feds have invested relatively tiny amounts in this emergency effort.

All of this is one more sign that the GOP White House and Congress don’t really give a damn about protecting our homeland. Each day they shovel more than $1.5 billion to the Pentagon, whose snazzy bombers and missiles are of no use against terrorist individuals – like the 19 men armed with box-cutters on 9/11 or the four men with backpack explosives in London.

Actually, Owens sounds more reasonable now than he did years ago when he told us that the way to protect Coloradans from terrorists was to invade Iraq!

Dan Lyons

Fort Collins resident

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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