U.S. Earns Low Marks on Bio-Response Report Card

By Carlton Purvis

Many improvements have been made in information sharing and communication, thus meeting most expectations for small-scale attacks and minimal expectations for large-scale attacks. Some of these improvements come from CDC products and CDC capabilities, such as language translation, the “Communicating in the First Hours” initiative, and pre-scripted messages that can be used on TV and radio after an attack. The prescripted messages include alerts about biological, chemical, and radiological events, and suicide bombing. For most attacks, though, it’s still unlikely countermeasures could be dispensed to large portions of the population in 48 hours. Local agencies are working toward making it a reality, though progress has been "slow" and "uneven" (see "USPS Reductions Won’t Affect its Door-to-Door Anthrax Response Capability") .

The WMD Center says focusing efforts on large-scale events rather than worst-case scenario will generate the best return on investment. “These scenarios are more likely, but moreover, it is possible to improve these grades in the relative near-term,” the report states. Plugging these holes will in turn help improve grades for small-scale events as well.

photo by NYCMarines/flickr


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