Imagine that a flu pandemic hits the United States and approximately 20 percent to 40 percent of your work force is ill in waves lasting two to six weeks. Those employees able to come to work must practice social distancing by staying far apart from coworkers, and emergency medical supplies such as face masks and hand sanitizers must be immediately available. One of your critical suppliers is hit so hard by the pandemic it shuts down its operations. Is your supply management organization ready to handle all of this?
Health officials say it is not a matter of "if" but "when" there will be a severe pandemic outbreak. The 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates infected about 61 million people from April 2009 through April 10, 2010, was not as severe as expected. A flu pandemic is an outbreak caused by a new human flu virus that spreads around the world. Because it is a new virus, few people have immunity, and it can spread easily from person to person. Influenza also is unpredictable and can occur in waves, lasting for a year or more.
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