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December 11, 2002
I BLOGGED ABOUT THE INTENSITY OF KNOXVILLE'S SMALLPOX PREPARATIONS a while back. Here's more on that:
My wife works as a psychological examiner at [local name deleted] testing and counseling stroke victims and orthopedic patients. Yesterday someone went around handing out sign-up sheets and information about the smallpox vaccine and asking for volunteers for the "smallpox reaction team" or something like that. According to my wife, the same person was going around this morning to collect the signed forms saying that they had to be turned in today! My wife said she sensed some real urgency in the woman's tone. Perhaps the woman was just under pressure from the administrators who have to place an order for the vaccine or something, but my wife said that the buzz is that they will be getting the shots very soon and training the people who get them to also give them. Sounds to me to be more than your ordinary preparedness plan. My guess is someone knows a lot more than we do about the smallpox threat.
That's my sense, too. Perhaps Knox County is just better-organized about this, but usually when you see this degree of activity among lower-level functionaries, it's because the pressure is coming from on high.
UPDATE: It's the same thing in Oklahoma, and, I suspect, all over.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Here are some thoughts from N.Z. Bear. I actually believe, though, that many of the assumptions in the Dark Winter exercise were overly pessimistic.