Leavitt: We're overdue for a pandemic
So our strategy has been to stockpile Tamiflu and other antivirals to an amount sufficient that we could provide it to 25 percent of the national population if they became ill. Now, why 25 percent? As we have studied previous pandemics, we've identified that as the percentage roughly that every pandemic has in the last 100 years has affected. Some of them have been more virulent than others, but they've always been about 25 to 30 percent. Now, I will tell you that we are at the point of having about 26 million courses that will be in our stockpile by the end of this year, and we will have the 25 percent by the end of '07.
Having said that, it's important to realize that Tamiflu and antivirals does not equal preparedness. It simply is one piece of a comprehensive plan, and I will also tell you that having it isn't the hard part; distributing it is where victory is one. And we're a lot closer to having it than we are having adequate plans to distribute it.
ZUCKERMAN: Mr. Secretary, I have one promised one last very brief question here.
Q: Nelson Jacobson. I'm actually one of the CERT team trainers here in Washington, D.C., and you keep talking about the community level. Are we going to see another push in getting CERT, which is the Community Emergency Response Team, training out, because how we're going to prepare our communities is through this, is my understanding.
LEAVITT: Yes. Recent recommendations coming out of Katrina, for example, would be to have the DMAT or Mobilization Medical Teams that would be going from Homeland Security back over to HHS where we can begin to focus on that effort. We do see that an important part, and the local training and being able to integrate in an efficient way the teams you've spoken of and other emergency teams as well as the revitalization of a wonderful asset in this country called the Commission Corps, which is a literally a 6,000 professionals plus additional medical professionals who are who need to be trained in units.
And that's a major part of the future of our emergency training.
Thank you very much.
ZUCKERMAN: Thank you very much. [Applause.]
Mr. Secretary, you carry the hopes and fears of this country as we go forward and face these kinds of issues. Thank you very much for your talk today, and we wish you well in everything you do.