Thursday, April 30, 2009

Economic Impact of Swine Flu

Stephanie Flanders writes an economic blog for BBC News. I was thinking about the economic implications of the swine flu but my efforts would have paled compared to Stephanie's piece.

The news is saturating all of their air time and print with stories about swine flu and it easy to begin to tune it all out. I don't think the current outbreak will become as widespread as the 1918 outbreak, I do think some planning is in order.

Any pandemic illness is indiscriminate on who and when it strikes. An outbreak may spread quickly or burnout. Regardless, the impact to a community can manifest in many different ways.

Workers may stay home if they become sick but are certain to stay home if a child becomes sick. There is no way to predict when a particular employee may have to stay home or for how long. Avian flu models predicted at the height as much as 40% of the workforce may be stricken.

Imagine the impact if 40% of airline crews or truck drivers had to stay home. Deliveries of critical supplies would be delayed impacting countless businesses. In turn those businesses ability to provide goods and services would also be impacted.

We use the current outbreak as a reminder to review any plans that were created for the avian flu. If your business or agency hasn't prepared a plan, now would be a good time to start.

No comments: