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Asia Unbound

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Uncommon Cold War: U.S.-ROK Cooperation to Battle the Flu

by Guest Blogger for Scott A. Snyder Thursday, October 1, 2009
A man and his daughter wear masks as they wait for a H1N1 flu check-up at a temporary H1N1 flu treatment center at a hospital in Seoul (Choi Bu-seok/Courtesy Reuters).

James L. Schoff is associate director of Asia-Pacific studies at the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis (IFPA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Since the outbreak of the new influenza virus H1N1 (swine flu) six months ago, it was clear that this year’s flu season would be unlike any other in recent memory. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared in June that the new virus was the first global flu epidemic in forty-one years, and a WHO official later suggested that over one billion people worldwide could become infected within the next one to two years. Although a U.S. presidential panel warned in August that the swine flu could infect up to half of the U.S. population this fall and winter, the potential lethality of the new virus is still not clear. Government leaders are trying to prepare prudently without overreacting, recognizing the high public health and economic stakes involved if they get it wrong. Read more »