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When Do You Advise People to Do Pandemic Planning?

The earlier the better. Don't be waiting for the WHO to do its job.

Personally, I think the presidential administration's reluctance to use the word "pandemic" and start stressing what business and individuals can do has more to do with the stock market and the presidential election year, than public health messaging. 

The current United States strategy of containment of the spread of the virus will eventually fail. At what point will the president and his public health officials decide that enough is enough and they have to start taking additional measures to counter the virus? This will entail talking more about preparedness and response than keeping the virus out of America?

In an era of "alternative facts" this is going to be a difficult challenge for spokespersons supporting the administration's "all is well" position. Much was made about the four Department of Justice prosecutors resigning over the political interference in the Roger Stone case. I can imagine a day when, if there is continued stonewalling from the political leadership, that Centers for Disease Control (CDC) staff could "fall on their needles" and also resign due to "political/medical malpractice" by this administration. 

My last thought on this is that a natural disaster or pandemic is not something you can wave your hand at and make it go away. When you have been in office for three years plus and the "you break it, you own it" rule applies, it will be hard to blame Woodrow Wilson for your failures. But — nothing will stop you from trying!

Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.