Letter Re: The Rush Has Begun for Flu Prep Logistics

Aloha James,
To confirm your take on the need to prepare ahead of time, I realized last weekend that this current event (Mexican Flu) would be a good opportunity to actually measure public reaction to an emergency. Thus, once the government announced a health emergency on Saturday, I began watching the shelves at three local drug stores and Amazon. Here’s what happened in Honolulu, Hawaii (a city of 800,000 and an international airport hub).

Saturday – all shelves full of flu meds & masks
Sunday – masks half gone, some in the back of the store, shelves full of flu meds
Monday – masks half gone, none in the back of the store, shelves half full of flu meds
Tuesday – masks gone, back ordered, shelves half full of flu meds
Wednesday – while I was sitting in my kid’s dentist office, two employees of other businesses in the mall came by and asked the receptionists for masks. Both said they looked everywhere and couldn’t find any. The receptionist could only spare one each. Stores still running half full shelves of flu meds.

Watching Amazon – on Saturday you could buy the surgical N95 masks (green ones), by Monday they were sold out and white N95s were $13.98 for 20. By Wed, the white ones went up to $15.99, and other merchants were selling theirs for $59.99 for 20, with one merchant advertising their “last box” of 20 for $299!

If this doesn’t convince people to stock up and stock up early, I don’t know what will. Three days; that’s all it took for the city to run out of masks, and I can only surmise by this, that it would only take a few more days to run out of flu meds if the news reported someone locally had the Mexican Flu. I hope fellow readers get the point.

Thank you for your excellent blog. I’m on the June waiting list for my copy of Patriots and look forward to reading it. Keep up the great work! – KJ in Honolulu, Hawaii