President Barack Obama signed an order last night declaring that the swine flu is a national emergency. This allows the implementation of emergency plans. So, what is an emergency plan?


For one thing, it is now possible to skip over parts of the federal regulatory process that slow things down. This may help in increasing the rate of production and delivery of vaccine or anti-virals. Also, hospitals and health departments have emergency plans that would now be implemented as needed.

A PDF version of the presidential proclamation is here. The text of the proclamation is here:

Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

October 24, 2009

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Pursuant to section 201 of the National Emergencies Act
(50 U.S.C. 1621), I hereby report that I have exercised my authority to declare a national emergency in order to be prepared in the event of a rapid increase in illness across the Nation that may overburden health care resources. This declaration will allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services, if necessary, to temporarily waive certain standard Federal requirements in order to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans to deal with the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States. A copy of my proclamation is attached.

Further, I have authorized the Secretary of Health and Human
Services to exercise the authority under section 1135 of the Social Security Act to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children’s Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule as necessary to respond to the pandemic throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

BARACK OBAMA
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 23, 2009.

The Replicans are going t have a field day with this. Obama has single handedly implemented the public option. Obama has socialized medicine. Obama has declared marshal law. And so on.

This should get interesting, as the Republicans scream and yell that responding to the flu is part of Obama’s Muslim Kenyan Anti-American plan, as kids continue to die of the flu. We will rename the “Swine Flu” the “Republican Flu” because they prefer to have the flu spread rather than contained.

Comments

  1. #1 Treppenwitz
    October 24, 2009

    Martial law, even.

  2. #2 Katharine
    October 24, 2009

    While I am not TOTALLY sure this was the right thing to do (am not totally wise on the statistics and the severity of cases, etc.), I, uh, do think perhaps whoever’s making vaccines ought to be making more.

    115 million? Not enough. 200 million, perhaps.

  3. #3 Xtine
    October 24, 2009

    Have mine.

    Doctors have often said I “need” a flu shot and when I tell them I’m allergic, they laugh. I protest, but in their condescending wisdom, they don’t believe it until I recount in repulsive detail the symptoms which last 6 weeks.

  4. #4 george.w
    October 24, 2009

    Don’t worry, Xtine, there’s always a few people who legitimately can’t take a vaccine for one reason or another. Not ideal but each person who does get the vaccine removes one node from the infectious network by which you might be infected. So we’ll do our best to protect you by being vaccinated ourselves.

  5. #5 NinjaElf
    October 24, 2009

    They laugh when you tell them you’re allergic? I just got a flu shot, the first thing they asked was whether I’m allergic. Get a new doctor.

    As far as this blog post… excessive knee jerking should be checked out by a doctor. If all the Republicans were to somehow die out, it’s encouraging to know we’ve got Laden here to remind us what ridiculous things they would’ve said. Phew.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    October 24, 2009

    NinjaElf: Are you predicting that they are NOT going to react to this as suggested?

    Do you gamble? … let’s talk…

  7. #7 OmegaMom
    October 24, 2009

    Oh, yeah. Just get onto Twitter and search for H1N1 and tcot together. It’s divided into three: “This is the first step towards martial law”/”Test run for FEMA takeover”; “it took Obama 1000 deaths to declare an emergency?!”; and “Wow. 1000 deaths. Seasonal flu causes 35,000 deaths a year. Some emergency.” And lots of re-tweets thereof.

    The last one gets me. After all, seasonal flu does those 35,000 deaths over the course of six months, *starting* the beginning of October. That “1,000” is only laboratory-confirmed deaths, and if you count ILI/pneumonia deaths total, you get about 3,200 so far. The numbers so far are above what normal year *peaks* are, in February. I’m hoping it goes down.

    And will be getting H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible, as will my daughter and husband.

  8. #8 Miko
    October 24, 2009

    So, you’re saying that hospitals won’t implement their emergency plans as needed unless the president tells them to do so? Talk about a stupid system.

  9. #9 NewEnglandBob
    October 24, 2009

    They just closed a high school in this state Friday because on-third of the students and one-half of the faculty has swine flu.

    Obama’s emergency action IS the right thing to do. Fuck the RepubliCANTS who would rather see more deaths.

  10. #10 libertybreakdown
    October 24, 2009

    H1N1 vac contains thimerasol; a mercury-based preservative. Which is worse, be sick or be poisoned?
    The socialist in the white house is maneuvering to implement his socialized medicine.

  11. #11 Paul D.
    October 24, 2009

    libertybreakdown: As the kids say these days, you are one dumb mo’fucker.

  12. #12 Sirutka
    October 24, 2009

    Antivax and “Obama’s a socialist” in the same post? Everyone chug!

  13. #13 Erin
    October 24, 2009

    On the plus side (if you could call it that) there’ll be a few Darwin awards shared amongst the anti-vax groups. If only it didn’t take dead or severely ill kids to tell them “I told you so”.

  14. #14 Erin
    October 24, 2009

    On the plus side (if you could call it that) there’ll be a few Darwin awards shared amongst the anti-vax groups. If only it didn’t take dead or severely ill kids to tell them “I told you so”.

  15. #15 Cath the Canberra Cook
    October 24, 2009

    Xtine, either US medicine is way worse than I ever imagined, or you need a new doctor. I’ve always been asked about allergies and never ever laughed at. (My main allergy is sulpha drugs, so it doesn’t affect very much.)

  16. #16 red rabbit
    October 24, 2009

    Xtine: unless you are one of those people who are “allergic” to aspirin, toradol, acetaminophen, all non-narcotic pain killers, but can merrily take percocets, it’s insane for a doctor to laugh at your allergies.

    However, I do chuckle about the people I have described.

  17. #17 NinjaElf
    October 24, 2009

    Perhaps I’m naive, but yeah, I’m hopeful that something that’s nothing but plain common sense won’t be politically manipulated by his opposition.

    And I wouldn’t exactly use Twitter to learn about normal people.

  18. #18 Stephanie Z
    October 24, 2009

    Elf, you’re stretching as usual. Obama’s political opposition is not “normal people.” They’re politicians and pundits, people in high-visibility occupations. They’re exactly the kind of people who have to be on Twitter these days.

    As are many normal people. Just check out the trending topics any time you need proof of that.

  19. #19 Revyloution
    October 25, 2009

    libertybreakdown, I like to troll creationist sites. I like to come in, lay down hard facts that cant be denied, refute a few falacies then run away.

    But at least I offer evidence, and education. At least I read their posts and I can articulate their point of view. Then point out why its false.

    I have no idea what youre doing here. Laden has a blog filled with nice clear facts. You pop in with a statment that shows your ignorance, then bail back out. I doubt you would try to defend your ignorance (its indefensable). What possible reason could you have to come here and spout off?

  20. #20 Paul S.
    October 25, 2009

    This is one thing that I really hate about US politics now – things like vaccination that should be non-political questions of health and medicine end up getting sucked into partisan political debates. The Republicans are definitely the main offenders on this issue.

  21. #21 NinjaElf
    October 25, 2009

    So it’s been out for a day now – did the Republicans attack Obama as predicted?

    I don’t see anything about it on Foxnews.com. Never watch their TV channel, have commentators railed against it? I’m honestly curious – it’s hard for me to comprehend that something this straightforward would be politically manipulated.

    And of course normal people use Twitter – but so do conspiracy theorists and loons of every political breed. If you’re trying to find a crazy viewpoint, it’ll be easy to find on there.

  22. #23 NinjaElf
    October 26, 2009

    Alright, I’ll concede if you actually meant, “Loony Republican Blogger Outrage in 3..2..1..”

    You’re right, the right-wing blogging community will run with ANYTHING… look at the gun sales over the past year, all based on conspiracy theories that “Obama’s coming for our guns!!”.

    I guess I have that community tuned out so much, I forget they exist. And I still think most Republicans are level headed on this issue – I live in a liberal bubble, so once again, perhaps I’m naive to assume the ultra-conspiracytheory-right is a small fringe of our society that mainly gets play on the internet, and every once in a while bleeds over to Fox News (i.e. Kenya birthplace).

  23. #24 Greg Laden
    October 26, 2009

    Ninja, don’t assume that just because I have blogger refs that nothing else is going on. I don’t actually watch Fox! I wait for Rachel to summarize it for me, or other sources. We’ll see.

  24. #25 NinjaElf
    October 28, 2009
  25. #26 JoeDeFig
    November 10, 2009

    I’m a registered republican. I want to get the H1N1 shot or flumist but have been denied because it’s STILL, STILL, STILL unavailable. So who should I blame for this terrible handling of making vaccinations available? If it was simply a democrat or republican issue then I should be blaming democrats since they were in power, both executive and legislative, during this whole process. Oh, I haven’t been able to get the seasonal flu shot either. I was told resources were diverted to ensure the H1N1 vaccine would be available. So the end result is NO seasonal flu shot and NO H1N1 flu shot for me…until maybe the end of November or beginning of December. So, should I hold my breath? Who is responsible for this major F@#$ UP? Is this simply a matter of the government not able to do anything right or something else? Please someone give me a sensible answer and possible solution to this constant incompetence.

  26. #27 Greg Laden
    November 10, 2009

    democrats since they were in power, both executive and legislative, during this whole process.

    No, they weren’t. This is a process that starts quite early, and it is a process that is embedded in a system that takes years to set up. You can totally blame George Bush if you want to.

    It turns out, of course, that you really need to blame Gerald Ford. Seriously. How does that work? Buy me a beer and we’ll talk about it for about a half hour some day … it is a long story.

    Regarding the seasonal flu shot, that is not hard to get because resources have been diverted, as I understand it. It is hard to get because they made the same amount they usually make (actually, one million doses more than last year) but there has been so much attention to the flu that more people than usual have sought that vaccine.

    I, as a rational, skeptical scientist Democratic liberal, got both seasonal and H1N1, so I’m fine. The rest of you, Good Luck!

    There are three ways to increase the ability to produce more flu vax. One is more scientific research on how to do it. There are promising methods that have not been developed, because of insufficient funding. A second way is to increase demand for the flu shot. Too many people don’t get the flu shot. Without the demand, the whole infrastructure is scaled down to below what is should be for a pandemic. Market forces have made the industry the size it is today. Third, there is a chemical that can be added to the vax that makes it two or four times (depending) more potent. If we had that added to the H1N1 vax now, we would be in the same situation that all those European countreis that have commie socialist health care systems are in … there is no shortage there and a much larger percentage of the population gets the shot every year.

    In all three cases, there is one common thread: Rational thinking. Add rational thinking, you get more scientific research on this important technology. Add rational thinking you get more people getting vax, and thus more demand. Add rational thinking and you have a health care industry that is smart instead of soopid, and marginalized the crazies, so better decisions are made about how to augment the shots.

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