high weir

February 9, 2007

Pre-Pandemic Planning

Filed under: Uncategorized — jstreed1476 @ 4:23 am

Now here is something interesting to the son of an epidemiologist: the CDC’s new guide to pandemic mitigation. I saw it linked in Slate’s Survivalist column, which criticizes the CDC for measures that are either too mild or on the wrong track.

The CDC focuses on community-based, non-pharmacological ways to slow the spread of a pandemic. In dinner-table conversations on infection control that I’ve overheard since childhood, my dad has always stressed the challenge of integrating institutional, social, and pharmacological responses to disease. The CDC seems to put a great deal of emphasis on getting individuals to accept new roles within their workplaces, schools, communities, and even faith-based organizations. In this sense, their report, from my layperson’s perspective, appears to be a good start. David Shenk, the Slate columnist, is probably right in saying that without clear answers to the vaccine supply question, the CDC’s recommendations are less robust than is ideal. But as a citizen-level call to action, their preparations do seem worthy, especially given the fading memory of how disruptive things like polio were.

And oddly enough, I ran across all this stuff just one day before my employer, a community college, began circulating questionnaires about department-level responses to pandemics. Something’s in the wind, anyhow . . .

February 1, 2007

small beer

Filed under: Uncategorized — jstreed1476 @ 6:39 pm

Just a couple of notes:
+ Ken Jennings kindly reciprocated with a link to my post about his apparatus/asparagus puzzler. Thanks, Ken!
+ My sources tell me a sporting event of some significance will take place this weekend. I don’t know if I’ll be able to catch it, though: Mediacom (the local cable company) and Sinclair Communications are in a tussle of what’s gotta be pocket change to Sinclair. The upshot is CBS has been dropped from our cable system. People all over northeast Iowa are dusting off rabbit ears (or plotting an evening at a sports bar). Not sure what I’ll do . . .
+ My job takes me all over northeast Iowa to visit high schools, and lots of them are in very small towns. I often arrive in town with a little time to kill before my visit, so rather than hang out in my car in the parking lot–which might attract the wrong kind of notice in a rural community–I set up a makeshift, traveling office at the town library. I love small town libraries. The librarian is always friendly, they have a regular crowd talking like it’s a coffee shop, and there’s often an idiosyncratic cast to the collection, as though its accessions are guided by just a few personalities. The library is often a kind of showcase building for a town losing population by the year. That’s both heartening and little sad–they’re proud of their library, but it sometimes feels like the last thing they’ll raise together.

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