This week brought another milestone to the human-influenza history book. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday declared that the novel H1N1 influenza pandemic is over, that it has "largely run its course."
The nature of our response to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic has moved from urgent to watch-and-see. This is the ideal time to take stock of what happened during the last 14 months and to make decisions about how we prepare for and deal with what comes next. We know that pandemics are a fact of life; another will emerge at some point unknown.
(CIDRAP News) More than half of workers without paid sick days went to work when they had an infectious illness such as the flu, compared with 37% of those with paid leave, according to a report today from a nonprofit group that also found strong support for legislating paid sick days.
(CIDRAP News) – In its efforts to establish apreparedness certification process for the private sector, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today said it has adopted final standards, which it claims represents a major milestone toward the program's implementation.
I'd like to address a misconception that seems to be gathering traction. I'm sure it's one you, too, have encountered. People, including ones who sign your paycheck, are asking whether H1N1 was just another Y2K. You need an answer based on fact, not conjecture.
Daily headlines and newscasts this past month remind us that Mother Earth can be a risky place to live. I'm referring, of course, to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Icelandic volcano, and a botched vehicle bombing, and while these phenomena are not connected by any obvious plot line, they are vivid teachable moments for our governments and organizations.
What have we learned during the past year regarding our encounter with novel H1N1 and the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century? How much will we remember of what we learned? And will the lessons learned make any lasting changes within our organizations?
In a few weeks, we will have lived through the first year of the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century. For many of us who have spent a great deal of our professional (and personal) time responding to this pandemic, the anniversary of its recognition will likely result in mixed, if not contradictory, feelings. Where did the last year go?