State health Services director Sandra Shewry says a flu pandemic could disrupt every section of society.
“In California alone, scientists estimate a pandemic could cause 35% of the population to become ill. An influenza pandemic could become the greatest public health challenge of our time.”
That’s why the state is setting up new guidelines for detection, education, and dealing with increased healthcare needs. In the event of an outbreak, the plan suggests so-called “social distancing,” or limiting human interaction to prevent the spread of the virus. State Public Health Officer Dr. Mark Horton says that could include closing schools, canceling large sporting or entertainment events – or other safeguards:
“Recommendations about the wearing of personal masks and general instructions to the public to avoid perhaps public transportation if there are alternatives – those types of things.”
The state also plans to stockpile anti-viral drugs, like tamiflu.