Progress for tomorrow: Preparing for the next disaster
HEALY: Right, we're trying to be very practical. We're in the trenches. We want to
BENJAMIN: Let's try to give the public some perception of what that means. They may not know influenza. But for every parent, think about the last time you heard about some kid in a college or a school who got meningitis one case and all of the activity around that one case. Now imagine 1.9 million of those. That's the scope we're talking about.
Think about what you did when you had one case and how you worried about whether you're going to send your kid to school, about the notices you got back to school, and then multiply that by thousands to millions. People haven't quite connected those dots.
But again, think about what they did when some kid in school got measles, and all the activity around that, or head lice - big event in schools. Not a lethal event, but think about all the activity around that. And then imagine a contagious disease. I mean, people get - haven't put the practicality around that.
You know, when your kid gets sick and you have to take off work and provide alternative care arrangements for that child and all of the things around that activity, that's a big event. Now imagine closing the school for three months. Now, we do that every summer and the world doesn't come to an end, but we send our kids to camp; we send our kids to other places. We have an alternative care arrangement that allows us to do that. But we haven't connected the dots and we haven't done all the out-of-box thinking to figure out what we would do if we had to close the schools for three months. I mean, that's the kind of thing we need to do if we want to try to get people's attention around this problem.
HEALY: And of course and for younger children, that means our communities, right? If you're on the PTA - anybody on the PTA?
Okay, would you take this is that at issue, this being discussed at the PTA?
ATKINSON: It's not. But I think you can get a good
HEALY: Why isn't it?
ATKINSON: Well, it's a good question. And I think there are things around parents, for example. And I am a parent with three relatively young children, one in grade school all the way up through a college student freshman and when we look at that scenario, you are aware of the children who are killed in automobile accidents, and you become even more sensitized to seeing the kids that don't come home. You become aware of all those types of things that very much are in your life, and you're thinking about where your children fit in that context. We all know people who have been victims of cancer or other diseases that clearly come from causes such as smoking and other things in the public health arena that we have become more sensitized to. And I think this is just one of those examples of something that is a relatively new phenomenon, bearing in mind that most of the caregivers that are actively practicing today were not practicing in 1918, so people haven't seen it firsthand. They may have read about it; they know something about it; but they've not experienced this firsthand.