New Flu - A SWAT (Simple Way to Attack Transmission) Plan for Parents and Other Prudent People

11 Pages Posted: 22 May 2009 Last revised: 25 Jul 2009

See all articles by Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Barbara Pfeffer Billauer

Institute of World Politics; International Program in Bioethics, U. of Porto; Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc.

Date Written: May 19, 2009


During this chaotic time before the full impact of the emerging flu is clear...glaring inadequacies of our flu preparedness program have come to the fore. Notably amongst these are the failures in school readiness. The lack of a systematized matrix or decision-making tree for local officials, most without scientific training, to address before taking action - whether proactive or defensive - is manifested by ad hoc closures, delayed data, and conflicting information, all of which engenders additional confusion and needless alarm.

Students and teachers will be the most directly affected by our blindsighted approach to pandemic preparedness. However, parents are being saddled with undue additional responsibilities, not to mention emotional burdens, as they plow through the rapid-fire information, wondering if local officials are acting in the best interests of their children. While mindful that the “correct” decisions will need to encompass a balancing of the need to educate, with the mandate to avoid exposure, such decisions become impossible without good data properly understood, and constantly reevaluated - against measurable objectives - as new data emerges.

This article documents the exact type of data parents (and politicians) need to have to wage an effective battle with this nascent and ongoing outbreak in order to make informed and prudent decisions. The article also discusses methods of data presentation to enable maximum understanding of this information, as well as enabling pattern recognition for maximization of accurate predictions.

Finally, the article lists ten real-time, doable, things parents (and politicians) can implement or recommend right now for their school districts, (and consider for homes) that will make a difference in reducing the transmission of this disease (and others).

Keywords: flu, influenza, H1N1, epidemic,pandemic, pandemic preparedness, pandemic prevention, transmission, pandemic, prophylaxis, schools, age, demographics

JEL Classification: C42, C44, C67, C61, D71, D74, K32, I100, I118, I129, I112

Suggested Citation

Billauer, Barbara P., New Flu - A SWAT (Simple Way to Attack Transmission) Plan for Parents and Other Prudent People (May 19, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Barbara P. Billauer (Contact Author)

Institute of World Politics ( email )

1521 16th St NW,
Washington, DC
United States
+1 202-462-2101 (Phone)

International Program in Bioethics, U. of Porto ( email )

Rua Dr. Roberto Frias
4200-464 Porto

Foundation for Law and Science Centers, Inc. ( email )

1020 16th Street NW
Suite LL1
Washington, DC 20036
United States
972 54 344 6055 (Phone)

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