Feds get high marks for pandemic handling

Jan. 2, 2010 at 12:33 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The U.S. government did many things right in responding to the 2009 swine flu pandemic, medical experts said.

The government deserves "at least a B-plus" for its handling of the first pandemic in 40 years, Dr. William Schaffner, head of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University's medical school, told The New York Times.

While luck played a role, quick but conservative decisions contained the pandemic with minimal disruption to the U.S. economy, medical experts told the newspaper in a story published Saturday.

Misinformation was kept to a minimum due to frequent updates from numerous officials ranging from the Public Health Service to President Barack Obama.

The pandemic also highlighted weaknesses in the federal response system, including outdated vaccine technology, a reliance on foreign vaccine companies and a need for more hospital beds in some areas.

Overall, however, the government's response was "excellent," said Dr. Peter Palese, a leading virologist at Mount Sinai Medical School.

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