Bush Administration Plan for Flu Outbreaks
On May 3, 2006, the George W. Bush White House "unveiled a foreboding report on the nation's lack of preparedness for a bird flu pandemic, warning that such an outbreak could kill up to 2 million people and deal a warlike blow to the country's economic and social fabric. It urged state and local governments to make preparations beyond the federal efforts," James Gerstenzang reported for the Chicago Tribune May 4, 2006.
"In the government's first detailed look at the potential impact on public health and U.S. society, the report said a full-blown pandemic could lead to travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, massive absenteeism, an economic slowdown 'and civil disturbances and breakdowns in public order," Gerstenzang wrote.
According to Gerstenzang,
- The report "warned that the health-care system cannot meet the country's needs in a flu pandemic."
- "In the event of multiple simultaneous outbreaks, there may be insufficient medical resources or personnel to augment local capabilities."
- The report said "state, local and tribal governments should 'anticipate that all sources of external aid may be compromised during a pandemic,' ... meaning 'local communities will have to address the medical and non-medical effects of the pandemic with available resources.'"
- "The strategy is built around three elements: preparation, surveillance and detection, and containment. And the report listed more than 300 steps it said the administration would take, had already begun to take or would recommend that state and local governments pursue."
"The document includes the White House Homeland Security Council's plan to implement a national strategy in the face of a flu pandemic, for which Congress appropriated $3.8 billion," Gerstenzang wrote.
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-Massachusetts), "the senior Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, issued a report of his own that chastised the [Bush] administration for what it said was a failure to prepare the country for a flu pandemic," Gerstenzang wrote. "Speaking on the Senate floor, Kennedy said the administration suffered from 'competence-deficit disorder.'
"'The United States is at the back of the line in ordering essential flu medicines, and we're at the bottom of the international league in having a coordinated national strategy'," Kennedy said.
- 1 The Bush "Plan" 2005
- 2 Flu Wiki
- 3 Flu Watch
- 4 Bush Administration Announcements & Documents
- 5 U.S. Preparedness: Articles & Commentary
- 6 Quarantine: Articles & Commentary
- 7 Supply of Vaccines & Prescriptions: Articles & Commentary
- 8 SourceWatch Resources
The Bush "Plan" 2005
In an October 4, 2005, Rose Garden press conference, President George W. Bush said that the United States is "preparing for a possible outbreak of bird flu." Bush said that he had "urged other world leaders during meetings at the United Nations in September to be aware of the dangers posed by avian influenza and to have 'rapid reporting' to the World Health Organization (WHO) in order to 'deal with a potential pandemic.'"
- "U.S. officials, the president said, are 'doing everything we can' to deal with the issue.
- "'We're watching it. We're careful. We're in communications with the world. I'm not predicting an outbreak. I'm just suggesting to you that we better be thinking about it. And we are. And we're more than thinking about it; we're trying to put plans in place,' he said."
The November 2005 381-page plan, officially called the Pandemic Influenza Strategic Plan — "which has been years in the making" — "developed by the Bush administration to deal with any possible outbreak of pandemic flu shows that the United States is woefully unprepared for what could become the worst disaster in the nation's history," Gardiner Harris wrote in the October 8, 2005, New York Times. (emphasis added)
The plan "calls for quarantine and travel restrictions but concedes that such measures 'are unlikely to delay introduction of pandemic disease into the U.S. by more than a month or two.' ... [A] large outbreak that began in Asia would be likely, because of modern travel patterns, to reach the United States within 'a few months or even weeks.'
"If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply, according to the plan, which was obtained by The New York Times." (emphasis added)
Super Strategy: Insufficient
In his Tuesday, November 1, 2005, speech delivered at the National Institutes of Health, Bush asked Congress "for $7.1 billion in emergency funding to prepare the United States for a possible pandemic of avian influenza," Reuters' Maggie Fox and Caren Bohan reported. "The total includes requests of $1.2 billion to make 20 million more doses of the current vaccine against H5N1 avian influenza, $2.8 billion to accelerate new flu-vaccine technology and $1 billion to stockpile more antiviral drugs."
Bush said that "we must have emergency plans in place in all 50 states, in every local community. We must ensure that all levels of government are ready to act to contain an outbreak." Although several groups "praised Bush for making a start," they "said the requests were nowhere near enough," Fox and Bohan wrote.
"The president also said the United States must approve liability protection for the makers of lifesaving vaccines. He said the number of American vaccine manufacturers has plummeted because the industry has been hit with a flood of lawsuits," Lauran Neergaard reported for the Associated Press.
Getting the Excuses Ready
"[O]ne would think that any government would make preventing and preparing for this potential catastrophe a major priority. It's therefore nice to see that, for the Bush administration, avian flu is a priority. However, the priority isn't preparing for it but preparing to spin the government's failure to prepare," Stephen Soldz wrote October 19, 2005, in CounterPunch.
"After wandering amid cages of birds and rabbits at an open-air market in Hanoi, after watching the gutting of a freshly slaughtered chicken, and after visiting a Haiphong family sickened by bird flu," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, "the United States' top health official came to a grim conclusion: Preventing the start of a global flu outbreak is just about impossible," Associated Press Medical Writer Margie Mason, wrote October 15, 2005.
War on Bird Flu
"Whenever the world is not to his liking, President Bush has a tendency to turn to the military to make it better. The most prominent example is the country's response to 9/11, complete with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After Hurricane Katrina, Bush belatedly called on the military to assist in securing New Orleans, and has since suggested that Congress should consider empowering the military to be the first responders in any national disaster," George J. Annas wrote in the October 8, 2005, Boston Globe. "On Tuesday, the president suggested that the United States should confront the risk of a bird flu pandemic by giving him the power to use the US military to quarantine 'part[s] of the country' experiencing an 'outbreak.'"
- "So we have moved quickly in the past month, at least metaphorically, from the global war on terror to a proposed war on hurricanes, to a proposed war on the bird flu."
Another Michael D. Brown in Charge?
The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) leads the response to a health crisis, such as a flu pandemic, through the Assistant Secretary for Public Health Emergency Preparedness (ASPHEP). 
Stewart Simonson was appointed in 2003 as ASPHEP. "Like Michael Brown at FEMA, Simonson is a lawyer who was close to a political benefactor," in this case former DHHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, with whom Simonson has served since Thompson was governor in Wisconsin. 
Congressman Henry A. Waxman has "recently pointed to Simonson as an example where Bush has 'repeatedly appointed inexperienced individuals with political connections to important government posts, including positions with key responsibilities for public health and safety.'" 
- Flu Wiki at fluwikie.com. Frequently updated information.
- "The National Flu Surveillance Network maps flu threats at the state and zipcode levels. They also have an animated map of previous seasons. The CDC also has a map of activity included in the weekly updates at their site." 
Bush Administration Announcements & Documents
- "Bush Says U.S. Developing Response to Potential Avian Flu Outbreak. President urges global awareness, speedy reports to World Health Organization," U.S. Department of State, October 4, 2005. Includes text of President Bush's Rose Garden Press Conference, October 4, 2005.
- News Release: "President Meets with Vaccine Industry Representatives to Discuss Avian Flu," October 7, 2005: "Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt and Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases discuss the meeting."
- "HHS Pandemic Flu Plan," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, November 2005. (396-page pdf).
- News Release: "President Outlines Pandemic Influenza Preparations and Response," William Natcher Center, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, November 1, 2005.
- News Release: "Fact Sheet: Safeguarding America Against Pandemic Influenza," November 1, 2005.
- News Release: Press Briefing by Scott McClellan and Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, White House, James S. Brady Briefing Room, and Fact Sheet: "Advancing the Nation's Preparedness for Pandemic Influenza," May 3, 2006.
U.S. Preparedness: Articles & Commentary
- Henry A. Waxman, Fact Sheet: Flu Vaccine Crisis: The Administration’s Response to Recommendations and Warnings, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, October 18, 2004.
- Jim Ritter, "FDA promises quick review of flu plan," Chicago Sun-Times, October 26, 2004.
- "Flu Pandemic Coming, U.S. Not Prepared," Science Daily, April 1, 2005.
- "CDC: U.S. ready if avian flu breaks out. Gerberding says pandemic possible but not imminent," CNN, April 1, 2005.
- Todd Zwillich, "U.S. Criticized Over Bird Flu Plans," WebMD (Fox News), May 31, 2005.
- "Experts say Bush administration behind in bird flu plans," News Target, June 15, 2005.
- "A US delegation was visiting Vietnam to explore new avenues of cooperation between the two countries to combat avian influenza, said a press release by the US Embassy on Monday," Vietnam Embassy-USA.org, August 15, 2005.
- Brian Ross, "Avian Flu: Is the Government Ready for an Epidemic? Virus Poses Risk of Massive Casualties Around World," ABC News, September 15, 2005.
- Warren Vieth, "U.S. Rushes to Finish Influenza Pandemic Plan. The Health secretary is leading a drive to boost federal efforts, and funding, to prepare for a global outbreak if avian flu mutates," Los Angeles Times, October 3, 2005.
- Rebecca Carr, "CDC locks up flu data. Critics call policy too restrictive," Atlanta Journal-Constitution, October 3, 2005.
- Lauran Neergaard, "Confining Bird Flu Abroad Key to U.S. Plan," Associated Press (Yahoo! News), October 5, 2005.
- Gardiner Harris, "Fear of Flu Outbreak Rattles Washington," New York Times, October 5, 2005.
- "Unqualified Crony in Charge of Pandemic Response," Transparent Grid, October 5, 2005.
- Joseph Curl, "Bush, advisers meet to develop plan on avian flu," Washington Times, October 7, 2005.
- Gardiner Harris, "Bush Plan Shows U.S. Is Not Ready for Deadly Flu," New York Times, October 8, 2005.
- "Bush plan for flu crisis shows U.S. not ready-NYT," Reuters (Yahoo! News), October 8, 2005.
- George J. Annas, "Bush's Risky Flu Pandemic Plan," Boston Globe (Common Dreams), October 8, 2005.
- Thomas Oliphant, "Bush suddenly wakes up to threat of avian flu," Boston Globe, October 11, 2005.
- Margie Mason, "Official: Preventing Pandemic Impossible," Associated Press (Yahoo! News), October 15, 2005.
- Stephen Soldz, "The Excuses Begin to Fly," CounterPunch, October 19, 2005.
- Lauran Neergaard, "Bush to Unveil Super-Flu Strategy Tuesday," Associated Press (Washington Post), October 29, 2005.
- Maggie Fox and Caren Bohan, "Bush seeks $7.1 billion for flu defense," Reuters, November 1, 2005.
- Lauran Neergaard, "Bush outlines $7.1B flu-fighting strategy," Associated Press (Boston Globe), November 1, 2005.
- David Brown, "Long-Predicted Flu Finally Tops Agenda," Washington Post, November 7, 2005.
- "KFC Prepares Bird-Flu Fear Plan," AdAge, November 7, 2005.
- Adam Entous, "Top Bush aides test bird flu preparedness," Reuters (Boston Globe), December 10, 2005.
- Maggie Fox, "US plan aims to slow bird flu," Reuters (Boston Globe), May 3, 2006.
- David Brown, "White House Plan Defers Leadership In Bird-Flu Fight," Washington Post, May 3, 2006.
- James Gerstenzang, "U.S. sounds alarm on bird flu pandemic," Chicago Tribune, May 4, 2006.
- Lauan Neergaard, "Don't count on federal flu help. Bush report says cities, states must have own plans," Detroit Free Press, May 4, 2006.
Turning Point Model State Public Health Act
- The Turning Point Model State Public Health Act, PublicHealthLaw.net website.
- The Turning Point Model State Public Health Act posted on State of Alaska Public Health website: "The Model State Public Health Act, presented by the Turning Point Public Health Statute Modernization Collaborative, is a tool for state, local and tribal governments to use in revising or updating public health statutes and administrative rules. ... Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its Turning Point Initiative to strengthen the public health system in the United States, the Collaborative is a multi-disciplinary group comprised of representatives from five states and nine national organizations and government agencies, assisted by experts in specialty areas of public health."
- Jon E. Dougherty, "Bill would give governors absolute power. Health-emergency proposal has 'little concern' for personal liberties," World Net Daily, January 10, 2002.
- Jon E. Dougherty, "Emergency-powers bill gaining momentum. Measure would grant 'overly sweeping rights to the government'," World Net Daily, March 20, 2002.
- Turning Point Model State Public Health Act (TPMSPHA) published September 16, 2003, and State Legislative Table as of November 10, 2004.
Quarantine: Articles & Commentary
- Seth Borenstein, "Vast quarantine role advocated for states. Plan would let agencies shut roads, cities during a biological terror attack," Detroit Free Press, November 7, 2001.
- "Bush order allows isolation of bird flu patients. Presidential directive authorizes quarantine of passengers," Reuters (MSNBC), April 1, 2005.
- "Bush OKs Bird Flu Quarantine in U.S.," NewsMax, April 2, 2005.
- Todd Zwillich, "Government Steps Up Fight Against Flu. CDC Expands Quarantine Capabilities," WebMD (Fox News), April 6, 2005.
Quarantine: Executive Orders
Federal Register page and date: 70 FR 17299, April 5, 2005: Executive Order 13295: "Revised List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases," April 4, 2003. Amended April 1, 2005, with Executive Order 13375: "Amendment to Executive Order 13295 Relating to Certain Influenza Viruses and Quarantinable Communicable Disease":
- "Section 1. Based upon the recommendation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Surgeon General, and for the purpose set forth in section 1 of Executive Order 13295 of April 4, 2003, section 1 of such order is amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsection:
- "'(c) Influenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic.'"
Use of Military: Articles & Commentary
- "Domestic Military Role Under Review," CBS News, June 20, 2002.
- Army Regulation 210–35. Installations. Civilian Inmate Labor Program, Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, DC, January 14, 2005: "This regulation provides guidance for establishing and managing civilian inmate labor programs on Army installations. It provides guidance on establishing prison camps on Army installations. It addresses recordkeeping and reporting incidents related to the Civilian Inmate Labor Program and/or prison camp administration."
- Jennifer Loven, "Bush considers using military against avian flu outbreak," Associated Press (USA Today), October 4, 2005.
- "Bush military bird flu role slammed," CNN, October 5, 2005: "A call by President George W. Bush for Congress to give him the power to use the military in law enforcement roles in the event of a bird flu pandemic has been criticized as akin to introducing martial law."
- David Brown, "Military's Role in a Flu Pandemic. Troops Might Be Used to 'Effect a Quarantine,' Bush Says," Washington Post, October 5, 2005.
- Mike Whitney, "Martial Law and the advent of the Supreme Executive," uruknet, October 6, 2005.
Supply of Vaccines & Prescriptions: Articles & Commentary
- Stephen Dinan, "Bush blamed for flu vaccine shortage," Washington Times, December 12, 2003.
- Steve Soto, "Bush Flops On Bioterrorism and Flu Vaccines," The Left Coaster, December 12, 2003.
- Anita Manning, "Scientists race to make vaccine before a lethal mutation arises," USA Today, January 29, 2004.
- Ellen Hale, "Proper vaccination campaign needed to stop avian flu," USA Today, February 5, 2004.
- "HHS Orders Avian Flu Vaccine Doses As Preventive Measure," Department of Health and Human Services, September 21, 2004.
- Robert Roos, "HHS awards contract for H5N1 avian flu vaccine," CIDRAP News, September 21, 2004. re Aventis Pasteur Inc.
- Paul Elias, "Project BioShield contracts never materialized," Associated Press (North County Times), October 17, 2004.
- Caren Bohan, "Bush Seeks to Allay Worries on Flu Vaccine Shortage," Reuters (Boston Globe), October 19, 2004.
- Elisabeth Rosenthal, "Unlike U.S., Europe Sees No Shortfall of Flu Shots," International Herald Tribune (New York Times), October 20, 2004.
- "Flu vaccine shortage roundup," Command Post, October 24, 2004.
- Robert Kuttner, Editorial: "Bush is idle in flu-shot fiasco," Boston Globe, October 27, 2004.
- "USDA funds avian flu vaccine bank for poultry," CIDRAP News, November 5, 2004.
- Ceci Connelly, "CDC Announces Plan To Ration Flu Vaccine. States to Get Doses Based on Risk," Washington Post, November 10, 2004.
- "Avian flu vaccine tested," Irish Health.com (Source: Boston Globe), February 25, 2005.
- byron Spice, "Speedier vaccine for avian flu threat," Pittsburg Post-Gazette, February 25, 2005.
- "Clinical trial of H5N1 flu vaccine to begin," CIDRAP News, March 23, 2005 (revised March 24, 2005).
- "U.S. launches avian flu vaccine trial," CBC News (Canada), April 5, 2005.
- Fresia Rodriguez Cadavid, "Senate panel questions U.S. bioterrorism preparedness," GovExec.com, April 28, 2005: "Simonson said that the office has negotiated a number of different vaccine development contracts and has not 'put all our eggs in one basket,' adding, 'We're learning as we go'."
- David Francis, "DHHS Retracts Statement About New Anthrax Vaccine," Global Security Newswire, June 17, 2005: "Simonson admitted in the May 4 letter to [Senator Charles] Grassley that the press release touting VaxGen's vaccine as more effective than the licensed vaccine was unsupported by current science."
- "U.S. officials working up new bird flu plan. Government to decide who should be vaccinated or receive antivirals first," Reuters (MSNBC), July 27, 2005.
- "U.S. Buys $100 Million of Bird Flu Vaccine," Associated Press (Fox News), September 15, 2005.
- "Bird Flu Vaccine Set for U.S. Production," Associated Press (Fox News), August 7, 2005.
- Jim Garamone, "Officials Stockpile Vaccine, Drugs Against Avian Flu," American Forces Press Service, October 6, 2005.
- Aaron Smith, "U.S.: Billions to fight avian flu. Government is stepping up spending as fears about new pandemic grow; Roche, Sanofi seen as winners," CNN/Money, October 6, 2005.
- "Bush Presses Vaccine Makers To Prepare For Bird Flu," WESH 2 Boston, October 7, 2005.
- Aaron Smith, "Drugmakers meet with Bush, offer help. Glaxo ramping up facilities to fight bird flu after meeting with Bush, other cos. pledge to help," CNN/Money, October 10, 2005.
- Steven Reinberg, "Avian Flu Vaccine Offers Hope Coupled With Questions," HealthDay (Medicine Net), October 11, 2005.
- "EBay halts bird flu drug auction. Says sale of prescription drugs is banned as price for Tamiflu soars," Reuters (CNN/Money), October 18, 2005. re Tamiflu
- David Dobbs, "Where's My Avian Flu Shot? How to ramp up vaccine production," Slate, October 20, 2005.
- Kevin Freking, "Roche Increasing Tamiflu Production," Associated Press (Yahoo! News), October 21, 2005.
- "Tamiflu Gilead Chair Was ... Rummy," FreeMarketNews.com, October 21, 2005. re Gilead Sciences
- Joseph Mercola, "Who Owns the Rights on Tamiflu: Rumsfeld To Profit From Bird Flu Hoax," Global Research, October 26, 2005.
- "Roche probes Tamiflu outsourcing," Reuters (CNN/Money), October 27, 2005: "Drug company says it will meet with generic producers interested in making the bird flu treatment."
- "Chiron gets $62.5M contract for vaccine. Health official says the biotech firm will further develop vaccine against H5N1 strain of avian flu," Reuters (CNN/Money), October 27, 2005.
- Richard Cowan, "Senate OKs $8 bln to fight bird flu," Reuters (Yahoo! News), October 27, 2005.
- Aaron Smith, "Glaxo pushes for bird flu vaccine by '06. CEO wants Glaxo to be 'most intensive R&D company in the world'," CNN/Money, October 28, 2005.
- Steve McKinley "The Second Coming of Jesus Christ and Bird Flu," Ontic Blogspot (Scoop.co.nz), November 1, 2005.