3 years ago, the threat of an H5N1 avian influenza pandemic motivated the federal government to undertake pandemic preparedness initiatives. The fruit of that labor is the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza Implementation Plan issued by the Homeland Security Council in May 2006 http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/pdf/fluplan.pdf.
This plan makes it clear that it is the responsibility of individuals, leaders, and representatives at all levels of society and government to ensure that their communities are adequately prepared.
The World Health Organization recently issued a Phase 5 pandemic alert signaling that an H1N1 swine influenza pandemic is imminent and that the time to complete preparations is running short.
Given the fact that viruses mutate rapidly and behave unpredictably, it simply isn't possible to determine the ultimate virility or severity of this particular virus with any degree of certainty.
In his contribution to the National Strategy, President Bush observed, “Preparing for a pandemic requires the leveraging of all instruments of national power, and coordinated action by all segments of government and society.”
So informed, we have a choice. We can either choose to yield to the nearly universal temptation to leave this responsibility to others and to wait until confronted by crisis to act or we can proactively pursue the challenges of protecting and securing ourselves. If we choose the former, we will likely take our rightful place alongside the residents of Louisiana who continue to suffer from the devastation that resulted from choosing to disregard advance warning of impending catastrophe, assuming that others would protect them when/if the predictions came true, and hoping for the best.
While there is a great deal of uncertainty, what is known is that if a pandemic does strike, it will take several months for a vaccine to be developed and deployed. In the interim, the plan relies principally on 'social distancing' to prevent and contain infection. The physical characteristics of our community place Quadomain residents at increased risk. With 810 households sharing 12 elevators and 8 stairwells, and rotating lobby attendants, the benefits of ‘social distancing’ are significantly denied to all who must share those confined spaces in the normal course of their daily activities.
Some in the media have chosen to hype and alarm rather than inform and motivate people to prepare. The Association has begun the process of developing its plans in concert with critical service providers and our neighboring Associations. Many of the relevant documents are provided here. It will require some effort to become informed and prepared; there is a large and growing body of information available. We have made much of that information available here. Please take the time to take advantage of this valuable resource; inform yourself; inform your neighbors, family and friends; and, most importantly, prepare. The time to act is now.