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Editorial: False alarm rings bells

March 28, 2007
Philadelphia Inquirer

A report last week from Trust for America's Health, a nonprofit public-health watchdog, found that a pandemic could drive the nation into one of the worst recessions since World War II. Economic losses could total $683 billion. Trade, worker productivity, and demand for goods and services would plummet as people fell ill. States with high levels of tourism and entertainment, such as Nevada and Hawaii, would be hardest hit. Pennsylvania's loss was predicted at $26.9 billion, or 28th worst among states; New Jersey's was $23.4 billion, or 35th worst. The report, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, assumed an outbreak as severe as the 1918 flu pandemic, generally regarded as the deadliest disease in recorded history. People who became ill were expected to take at least three weeks to recover. Others would miss significant work time to care for sick family members or stay home out of fear of infection.

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