What Can We Expect and How Do We Plan?
Pandemic flu planning is based on certain assumptions. Most importantly, experts expect that a vaccine for pandemic flu will not be immediately available, perhaps for as long as six months into a pandemic situation.
Other assumptions that guide our national, state and local planning efforts include:
- Everyone will be susceptible to the pandemic.
- 30% or more of the population will become ill.
- In a severe pandemic, absenteeism may reach 40% during the peak of the infection. Absenteeism will be due largely to illness, the need to care for ill family members, and fear of infection.
- Certain public health measures (closing schools, voluntary isolation and public closures) are likely to increase rates of absenteeism.
- A pandemic outbreak will last about 6 to 8 weeks.
- Multiple waves (periods during which community outbreaks occur across the country) of illness could occur. Each wave could last 2-3 months.