Minnesota Star Tribune
Tuesday, Sept 1, 2009
Dr. Ruth Lynfield knows the numbers sound terrifying: 30,000 dead. 170,000 hospitalized. More than a million people infected — all in Minnesota alone.
But she doesn’t want people to get the wrong idea. As state epidemiologist, it’s her job to lay out all the possibilities for the next wave of swine flu, including the worst-case scenario. Now, with summer winding down and students returning to school, she’s out to make sure that Minnesota avoids the worst case and gets safely through the first worldwide flu pandemic in 40 years.
In endless meetings, they chew over the details of one possibility after another.
What about the infected person — could the state force him to stay home? “If they’re quarantined, yes,” Lynfield tells colleagues at one planning session. “That’s the point of quarantine.”
What if the patient doesn’t cooperate? Well, she replies, they could post a police car outside his home. “They ended up doing this in one or two cases in Toronto” during the SARS outbreak, Lynfield adds. “But we’re optimistic it won’t come to that.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:57 am