Yesterday's announcement that an influenza pandemic was the greatest global health threat of the 21st century comes as no surprise when you look at the list of warnings issued over the past year or so.
A refresher course of sorts; featuring world leaders, scientists, and public Health and Safety officials.
“Everything you say in advance of a pandemic seems alarmist. Anything you’ve done after it starts is inadequate."
- Michael Leavitt, Secretary of HHS
This is a bomb that will impact the world.
-- Thommy Thompson, Former Secretary, US Health and Human
[A pandemic] is an absolute certainty. When it comes to a
pandemic we are overdue and we're under-prepared.
-- Mike Leavitt, Secretary, US Health and Human Services
The number of people infected will go beyond billions because between 25 and 30% will fall ill.
-- Klaus Stohr, Director, WHO Global Influenza Center
This is a very ominous situation for the globe. It is the most important threat we are facing right now.
-- Julie Gerberding, US Centers For Disease Control and Prevention
We don't know what the fatality will be but we can expect it to be very high. There will be enormous economic dislocation. Stock markets will close, international travel and trade will be limited.
-- Peter Cordingley, WHO regional spokesman
The best we can do is try to survive it. We need a Manhattan Project
-- Paul Gully, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer, Canada
Short of thermonuclear war, I have a hard time imagining anything in my lifetime that would be as horrible.
-- Laurie Garrett, US Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow for Global Health
We're dealing here with world survival issues -- or the survival of the
world as we know it.
-- David Nabarro, United Nations Senior System Coordinator for Avian and Human Influenza
There would be no mutual aid, we'd have to take care of this ourselves.
-- Florida Governer Jeb Bush February 15, 2006
If a pandemic hits it's going to be very, very serious for the whole world -- not only the deaths that will occur, but the world economy will tank. People will go and lock themselves in closets. They won't shop, they won't go to movies, they won't get on airplanes, they won't stay in hotels.
-- J.W. Marriott Jr, head of Marriott International Inc. February 15, 2006
It is no matter if the flu pandemic will occur or not, it will occur. What we don't know yet is when.
-- Joxel Garci, deputy director, Pan American Health Organization
The arrival of a pandemic influenza would trigger a reaction that would change the world overnight. A vaccine would not be available for a number of months after the pandemic started, and there are very limited stockpiles of antiviral drugs. Foreign trade and travel would be reduced or even ended in an attempt to stop the virus from entering new countries. It is likely that transportation would also be significantly curtailed domestically, as smaller communities sought to keep the disease contained.
-- Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, Associate Director of the Department of Homeland Security's National Center for Food Protection and Defense, and Professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Public Health
"You're going to be staying home for one year. There will be no school, there will be no work. All we'll be doing is trying to keep ourselves alive."
-- Richard Canas, Director of the New Jersey State Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness
And you thought I was an alarmist.