Friday, May 20, 2005

Warning: idiots loose in Pennsylvania

Thanks to a reader (hat tip, James) we became aware of the most bizarre biodefense nonsense yet. The Pennsylvania pandemic flu plan is a state secret (very annoying registration required):
Pennsylvania officials say their decision is necessary to keep terrorists from gathering sensitive information with which to harm the public.


But Pennsylvania officials say their pandemic plan includes sensitive details - such as phone numbers and vaccination storage sites - that could devastate response efforts if the information got into the wrong hands.

"We are walking on a knife's edge," said Adrian R. King Jr., director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency. "We want to act in good faith to give information. At the same time, we have an obligation for operational security."
Let's be clear about this. Mr. King and anyone else who had anything to do with this are idiots. And incompetent. And dangerous. If there is an influenza pandemic, the response will be local because the disease will be happening in many localities at once, not like a disaster or an attack where federal or state authorities can send outside help. Every "outside" location will also be "inside" some other locality. Response to a pandemic requires cooperation and coordination from a wide set of actors: hospitals, clinics, emergency medical techs, pharmacies, nurses, doctors, public health authorities and many, many more. In Pennsylvania only 25 copies of the plan are available and are closely guarded. What happens if most of those people become ill? If there are antivirals available, who will get them? If there is some vaccine, who will get it? If there are a limited number of critical care beds or respirators, how will they be rationed? These and many others are public questions and require public debate. And buy in. And advance planning.

I won't go on and on about this. It is just too, too stupid. This is one of the most moronic things I have heard in a long time. Even in a time where moronic things are becoming commonplace, this is beyond belief. These guys only have a couple of neurons firing and they are using one to breathe and another to drink coffee. If there is a flu pandemic, the one they use to breathe may not do them much good if their lungs are stuffed with a hemorrhagic pneumonic infiltrate. That just leaves coffee drinking.