Letters

Letters 02-15-2016

No More Balloon Launches In the recent Wedding issue, a writer noted a trend of celebratory balloon launches at weddings. Balloon releases are nothing more than a wind-born distribution of litter, not an appropriate way to celebrate a marriage or commemorate cancer victims and survivors...

Plenty Of Blame In Flint Many opinions have been voiced about the Flint water crisis; all have left many questions unasked, such as: Lead is the culprit, and a there is a ban on lead in paint, as well as one on lead in new plumbing materials. There are still many service connecting pipes made out of lead in service. Why? Have any been installed despite the ban?

Stop Balloon Releases I was appalled by the column on the wedding traditions article that suggested making new traditions like releasing balloons at the conclusion of the ceremony! I am the president of AFFEW (A Few Friends for the Environment of the World) in Ludington, and we clean beaches four times a year....

Roosevelt Had It Right 202 years ago the British Royal Navy bombarded Fort McHenry during the War Of 1812. While being held captive aboard the HMS Surprise, Francis Scott Key composed the immortal “Star Spangled Banner” poem. 202 years later I ask, “Oh, say can you see” one of the most appallingly dishonest presidential election cycles since the Adams/Jefferson election of 1800...

Avoid Urban Sprawl In Petoskey I urge Resort Township, the City of Petoskey and Emmet County to dissuade Bay Harbor’s proposal to add new business and residential development along U.S. 31 near the main entrance to Bay Harbor...

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Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic

Harley L. Sachs - May 4th, 2009
Preparing for Michigan‘s Pandemic
Harley L. Sachs 5/4/09


If you think the government has been asleep at the switch regarding a pandemic, be reassured. This year, Michigan’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and the Michigan Department of Community Health mailed an insert to businesses around the state about an expected pandemic.
I’ve written about pandemics before, primarily in my thriller “Scratch—out!” in which a terrorist group tries to kill everyone in the USA with a biological warfare agent. The reason why such a weapon is not used is that it is uncontrollable once it gets loose and causes a pandemic. It’s like the poison gas used by the Germans in World War I. If the wind changes, it blows back in your face.
Swine flu is not a biological warfare agent, but it could be a pandemic, as in the sudden outbreak of an epidemic that affects a broad area, ranging from a region to the entire world.
A pandemic, of course, is one of the worst public health fears. It was a pandemic of smallpox, measles and other European imports brought ashore by Spanish invaders that wiped out the Aztec civilization of Mexico. Now, with air travel, the Swine flu can sweep the world like the Black Death that in the 14th century wiped out whole cities and killed one-third of the people living in Europe.
The Spanish flu that swept the world at the end of World War I killed more people than the war did -- an estimated 4o million to 100 million people. The Spanish flu was so swift that a person could be healthy in the morning and dead in the afternoon.
The response to the Swine flu pandemic is similar to what we did in the 1950s. During the polio epidemic we shut down swimming pools and movie theaters, and kept people afraid of public exposure until the Salk vaccine was developed.
It was a surprise to get the health warning from the State of Michigan. I hadn’t seen anything like that health notice since the 1960s when every town had designated fallout shelters complete with supplies of crackers, candy, and tampons. We were given a handbook on how to build a family shelter in case of nuclear war. Kids in school were drilled to “duck and cover.” That was before Chernobyl, of course, which demonstrated that a fallout shelter is useless. The persistent radioactivity makes a region uninhabitable. Get out or die.
Now we are in the midst of a level 5 flu pandemic. If you want to read the details of Michigan’s plans to deal with it on every level, you can learn visit www.plandemicflu.com or www.michigan.gov/flu. Businesses are instructed to set up an emergency preparedness plan.
The State lists 11 issues to prepare for, including:
• designate a pandemic coordinator or team
• identify essential employees, materials, etc.
• set up and update emergency communications
• prepare for employee absences
• make a policy for flexible worksites
• evaluate employee access to public health services
• encourage hygiene practices, etc.
Details are available at www.michigan.gov/prepare.
The prophylactic procedure to avoid the Swine flu is similar to that of last year’s norovirus, an extremely contagious but not often fatal intestinal bug that had everyone washing hands frequently and wiping down surfaces with bleachy water. It was near panic.
As long as kids in school haven’t experienced any cases, schools will remain open. The Swine flu is not as dangerous as the Spanish flu of 1918. But this pandemic should serve as a warning. Sooner or later something even worse is bound to emerge. Consider this emergency as a warm-up so you will be ready.

 
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