A pandemic caused by a mutated form of the avian-flu virus could cause a $675 billion hit to the U.S. economy, the Congressional Budget Office reported Thursday.
“A nearly $700 billion hit to the economy — almost half of which is brought on by fear and confusion — gives us every reason to begin preparing a prescription and implementing a course of action,” Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, said in a speech unveiling the report.
As I estimated a while back, this is a trillion-dollar problem (the $675 billion is U.S.-only) that we need to be spending much more aggressively to address. Being ready for any pandemic is necessary, let’s use this one as the foundation for a global solution. The Bush Administration has under-invested in global participation.
As Reuters reports, the U.S. is not preparing, but trying to figure out how poorly prepared it is: Global Coverage Article | Reuters.co.uk:
The White House on Wednesday planned an exercise to see just how poorly prepared the country is to cope with a avian flu pandemic, even as lawmakers in Congress debated how much to spend for U.S. preparations.