"...it was about the diseases the survivors are going to have to deal with from the water and what's running through it. Have you heard that they're worrying about cholera?"The answer is here:
"4:03 P.M. - (AP) Michael Leavitt, secretary of Health and Human Services, announced he had declared a public health emergency in the area stretching from Louisiana to Florida. "We are gravely concerned about the potential for cholera, typhoid and dehydrating diseases that could come as a result of the stagnant water and the conditions," he said."Later, there was a tad of backpedalling:
"However, officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health experts said cholera and typhoid are not considered to be high risks in the area. CDC officials suggested Leavitt was simply mentioning examples of diseases that could arise from contaminated food and water."Thousands are becoming ill or developing complications from untreated pre-existing conditions, and are unable to get to hospitals or health facilities. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas is reporting that FEMA and other federal responders are nowhere to be seen. FEMA's head, Michael Brown, is weaseling out of it by saying no one expected anything this bad (remember those weather forecasts? The predictions that Katrina would be a Cat 5? No broadcast access in DC, Mike?).
Scumbag cost-benefit analysis wonks are explaining that precautions beyond a Cat 3 storm were considered unnecessary due to the diminishing expected returns of number of greenbacks per human life. And George Bush is already lowering expectations by telling the country "This recovery will take a long time. This recovery will take years." More on Bush's hand in this mess later.
This is the age of the the CEO approach to government: cut loose what doesn't make a buck, and if it all falls apart around you, cover your ass and keep a golden parachute under the desk. Too bad the folks in the Gulf didn't have any.