Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sleepwalking toward the next disaster?

In the tragic event of a nuclear strike on a major American city, hundreds of thousands of people could be saved by a highly successful drug, Neumune. 60 Minutes just aired the story, which you can read about here. It concludes with former 9/11 Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton placing the blame squarely on the low priority this administration has placed on keeping Americans safe.

(CBS) The chairman of the House committee overseeing Project Bioshield — the government’s project to create drugs to respond to possible terrorist attacks — wants the program’s director taken off the project.

Rep. Tom Davis, R.-Va., tells 60 Minutes correspondent Ed Bradley that Assistant Secretary Stewart Simonson, a political appointee who is in charge of Project Bioshield at the Department of Health and Human Services, shows the same kind of "arrogance" and "lack of experience" as former FEMA director Michael Brown.

Davis talks to Bradley about a possible radiation sickness drug the Pentagon endorses and deems worth developing, but that critics say Simonson has now slow tracked, this Sunday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Bioshield was created to prepare the United States for terrorism by developing and stockpiling drugs to treat the effects of chemical, biological and nuclear attacks.

"I would transfer (Simonson) out of (Bioshield). I wouldn’t have him handling this program," Davis tells Bradley. "This is a serious job at this point and I think we need to have a professional filling it, not political appointees."

Davis likens Simonson, a lawyer who previously worked at Amtrak, the national railroad, to Brown.
Read the drug companies results. Mortality rates drop by 22 percent with a full dose of this drug. Mortality rates drop from more than 32 percent to 10 percent. In an affected population of 100,000, that could mean 20,000 lives.

This administration, however, is more interested in half measures and good fortune than smart, life-saving precautions.

4 Comments:

Blogger Bassizzzt said...

"A proactionary response much outdoes one that is reactionary."

That's one of the mantras that I live by with the nature of my work on a daily basis. I wish the government would share in that belief.

12:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this drug is purchased and given out by the government it might cripple the economy or force us even further into debt. A collapse of our economy is just as bad as another 9/11 with NUCLEAR weapons. This drug is obviously most helpful in large urban areas and that is where terrorists will strike and so taxes should be raised on the inner cities by the federal government or whoever buys this drug. If those people don't want to pay for it, too bad! That way it won't be there fault when an attack happens. They should have voted to make America safer by getting rid of terrorists instead of telling the government to give them drugs and wait to be attacked.

2:51 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

I was irritated but not surprised by the incompetence and ineptitude displayed by our current govt and the anonymous poster above. Only a fool would believe that hospitals would survive a nuclear attack and that people would be able to get to a hospital. If Katrina and the movies have shown us anything, it is that responders are affected by tragedy also and that maybe there should be another plan. The previous poster doesn't use any common sense and is trying to bring two separate point together to show stupidity. If my aunt had balls, she would be my uncle.

7:43 AM  
Blogger copy editor said...

bassizzzt, I could not agree more. I take this issue personally, as I have a number of friends in New York City. It is the most terrible irony that Karl Rove is willing to harp on security, but they are not willing to take all practical steps possible. Basically, this story pissed me off.

debra, I take it you saw the broadcast as well. I am surprised that the talking head was not bitterly rebuked for the hospital comment.

As for anonymous, I believe he is one of my friends who enjoys making farcical comments late in the night. He doesn't think this way, it's just what he does for fun. sad, huh?

10:59 AM  

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