CDC—Just a Skype Video is Needed to Save a Town

Do you ever wonder what would happen if a hospital is so swamped with an unknown disease that the doctors do not know what to do? To be honest, the possibility that this can actually happen is a little frightening. The movie we watched last week called The Bay got me thinking what hospitals actually do in a crisis like the one portrayed on screen. In the movie the main doctor of the hospital in the small town skyped with doctors and researchers from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Is that what a hospital would normally do in an emergency like the one seen in this movie? The answer is partially yes and partially no.

Yes, the doctor would contact the CDC over phone or even skype. However, once the CDC is contacted about an emergency this serious, the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response would automatically dispatch an emergency response team to the location of the disease outbreak. Their organization states that it would take them less than two hours to contact a dispatch team and less than six hours for help to be administered to the area. It would take less than eight hours for a team to show up for help. Since this particular emergency would be deemed as critical, I suspect the time it would take for a CDC team to get there would be less than eight hours. Therefore the probability that the only help a doctor can receive from a higher power on this particular event through a skype session is small.

Although, you may argue that CDC’s response plan is different now than when this movie was supposed to take place. Yes that is true, but this movie took place in 2009. Not much has changed in the CDC’s plans since then. It may have taken longer or even shorter for a team to respond to the emergency, but all in all, experts and helpers would be there on the scene sometime during the day. According to Maine’s fact sheet in 2009, it would have taken a team 120 minutes to respond to the emergency. Additionally, the public in Maine would automatically be notified about the incident.

Another argument against the CDC’s possible arrival to the scene is that the outbreak in the town was sworn to secrecy. No one can ever know what happened in the small town of Claridge, Maryland. In reality, a disease this massive cannot stay undercover for that long. Word about it would get out somehow during the event. As stated above, the state of Maine has an action plan for letting other residents in the state to know about the disease. Also, since something like this could potentially become a national security issue, I am pretty sure President Obama would get on that and warn the nation about something this dangerous.

The science in this movie may have been surprisingly accurate, but the execution of how the event was handled is not accurate. The CDC would not have been so nonchalant about the ordeal and focus on keeping it a secret. Their main goal is to keep hospitals and doctors prepared for a catastrophe. And when everything seems to get out of hand, the CDC would be there on the scene. After all, it is their job to do so.

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