Hospitals need to prepare operationally for flu pandemic, government says

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Federal officials are telling hospitals to plan so they can remain operational if a flu pandemic strikes. Such guidance could trickle into the nursing home sector.

A pandemic could force 40% of the healthcare workforce from their jobs and sicken about 90 million people in the United States. About 10 million of the 90 million flu patients would require hospitalization for at least an overnight stay, in a worst-case scenario.

The United States is not prepared for a pandemic, according to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. One reason is the lack of flu vaccinations, he said. Only 81 million Americans receive a shot annually, a number that should be more than twice as large, he added.
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