Thought experiments (which I think was Einstein’s term) or models or exercises — are very important to science and to planning. Unfortunately, we have not had public discussions in our region. In San Jose agencies had this discussion but they don’t seem to have involved the public, too. (Maybe people have been discussing in the newspapers or churches?) Many of us haven’t faced the moral dilemmas that even firefighters or first aiders are trained for. Individuals have certainly asked themselves, “what if….?” whether about false rumors or spring flooding or an infected person. But in remote areas it would be so much better if we thought about contingencies as a community.

Forum Debate Rights in a Pandemic
from San Jose Mercury News

Here’s how a worldwide flu epidemic might start:

A sales manager for a multinational corporation returns to his California office from a business trip to Vietnam, feeling sick.

Within days this otherwise healthy man is near death. Other employees come down with a flu-like illness. A cleaning woman dies.

Tests show he has infected his co-workers with a form of bird flu that originated in Asia. Public health officials fear the worst: an outbreak of deadly pandemic flu.

What responsibility does the multinational corporation have to its workers? Can public health officials make residents stay in their homes to prevent the spread of disease? Can the government commandeer a local doctor’s supply of Tamiflu for people who need it most, or force nurses to be vaccinated? What if frightened nurses refuse to work?

This notice came from the excellent

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