Last fall, Seven Days ran a cover story evaluating Vermont's level of preparedness for the next flu pandemic. As I discovered at the time, there was a wide spectrum of awareness in Vermont on this issue, from the "Yes, we're on top of it," to "the pan-what now?" Some organizations and businesses, such as public utilities, banks and major corporations, have spent considerable time and money on their planning, in large part because the feds require them to. Meanwhile, others in Vermont, such as many small businesses and, shockingly, Vermont's funeral industry, seemed woefully ill-prepared for it.
Unfortunately, the story was poorly timed, as it hit the streets on November 5, just as another pandemic was sweeping the globe: Obama-mania. Sadly, the story didn't make much of a splash at the time. In fact, several loyal 7D readers wrote to bitch us out for dropping a monstrous turd in Obama's inaugural punchbowl. "How could you run such a bummer of a story," they wailed, "on the day after the most jubilant and historic election of our lives?"
Sorry to bust your bubble, readers, but sometimes the truth hurts. As Dr. Christopher Grace, director of infectious disease at Fletcher Allen Health Care, pointed out, "The longest time period in the last 300 years between pandemics was 42 years. Our last pandemic was 40 years ago. You do the math."
It's worth checking out the article again — or for the first time, if you missed it. And, FYI, if you're interested in tracking the coming plague in real time, here are a few interesting links for bypassing the mainstream media's coverage and getting your info straight from the swine's mouth.
Now cover that mouth when you sneeze, and for God's sake, wash those hands!
- The World Health Organization's Epidemic and Pandemic Alert and Response (EPR)
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Notices
- Vermont Department of Health's swine influenza info page
- Google flu trends (including a flu shot locator function)
- Twitter's CDC Emergency
And, for the truly obsessed...
- Google Map's H1N1 Swine Flu locator
- Geek.com's swine flu map and real-time tracking
- Flu wiki
- H1N1 Timeline
- Healthmap Global Disease Alert Map
Please feel free to send us some of your own.
[Ed. note: The video shows Ken discussing the story on Inside Seven Days.]