ABC News investigated US preparedness for an Avian Flu pandemic, God forbid. It found that US stockpiles of Tamaflu, the only drug known to work against Avian Flu, are very low and that the US is far down on the first-come-first-call list established by Roche Pharmaceuticals. For example, Australia has 3.5 million doses on hand. The US? 2 million. Australia has a population of 20 million. The US population is 296 million, almost 15 times greater. Experts from both sides of the political aisle predict that, if the pandemic hits the US, God forbid, we will see scenes much worse than New Orleans, deaths in the hundreds of thousands, quarantined cities and terrible suffering. So why is the US so unprepared? Michael Leavitt, our Secretary of Health and Human Services has an answer: He does not know:
"Do we wish we had ordered it sooner and more of it? I suspect one could say yes," admits Leavitt. "Are we moving rapidly to assure that we have it? The answer is also yes."
When asked why the United States did not place its orders for Tamaflu sooner, Leavitt replied, "I can't answer that. I don't know the answer to that."
Even leading Republicans in Congress say the Bush administration has not handled the planning for a possible flu epidemic well.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., says the current Tamaflu stockpile of 2 million could spell disaster.
"That's totally inadequate. Totally inadequate today," says Frist, who is also a physician. "The Tamaflu is what people would go after. It's what you're going to ask for, I'm going to ask for, immediately."…
"You know, I was down in New Orleans in that crowded airport now a couple weeks ago," Frist says. "And this could be not just equal to that, but many multiple times that. Hundreds of people laid out, all dying, because there was no therapy. And a lot of people don't realize for this avian flu virus, there will be very little effective therapy available early on."
Combined with the Bush administration's shaky response to Hurricane Katrina, the inescapable conclusion is President Bush is not fit to lead.