Einstein Epidemiologist Suggests CDC Guidelines For Pandemic Flu Are Doomed To Fail
In particular, the guidelines acknowledge but do not provide any means to account for the great social inequalities that exist based on race and class," he said.
In the event of a major pandemic (Category 4 or 5 according to the new, hurricane-based, classification scheme) workers who are sick with flu symptoms should stay home.
"Many workers have little or no paid sick time and those who live paycheck to paycheck will not be able to do this. The government proposal that employers voluntarily provide pay to workers who stay home is not serious."
"Similarly, the idea that workers telecommute or avoid public transportation shows that the planners are not sensitive to the fact that lower paid workers have jobs that make this impossible and that many don't have access to alternate transportation."
Dr. Cohen pointed out that the New Orleans approach to rely on voluntary evacuation directly led to the disaster of people without the means being stranded.
"It is ironic," he said, "that the government's main stated public health goal is the elimination of health disparities by 2010 and yet these guidelines completely ignore the social disparities."
Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University
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