Rick DeLotto here—with apologies in advance for sounding like a broken record on a subject you are all probably tired of already, pandemic planning.
There has been some serious bad news recently that should be worked into your response scenarios, though they just haven’t drawn much press:
On July 13 researchers at the University of Wisconsin reported shifts in the H1n1 virus giving it a greater ability to infect the lungs than common seasonal flu viruses, increasing the risk of causing pneumonia.
Resistance to Tamiflu has recently been encountered in 3 “isolated” cases, San Francisco, Japan and Denmark.
Britain, already the third major locus of the disease behind the US and Mexico, reports cases are doubling every week, and could exceed 100,000 cases per day by the end of August, 2009. Currently, officials plan to inoculate their entire population against H1N1 by the end of 2009.
You should quietly investigate a “worser case” scenario than the ones you have now using a more infectious, harsher, drug-resistant influenza strain. Make sure you factor in things like the suddenly-limited resources of local health departments and hospitals, which may make mass-inoculation programs problematic. Have you checked your supplier’s plans? I have yet to speak with any clients who had factored in what the potentially high worker absentee rate would do to the supply chain for things like food and fuel… what happens to your plans if your healthy staff has hungry dependants and an empty fuel tank in their car?
Finally—keep an eye open for overstretched resources. Almost everyone we have spoken with on pandemic planning is preparing to implement some degree of telecommuting, which is going to place tremendous stresses not only the bank’s infrastructure, but internet providers themselves. Have you checked with the engineers at your local broadband suppliers to see if they have tested for everyone trying to work from home at once? What is your personal experience with your internet supplier and service during “hot” high bandwidth-demand events?
Preparedness is a moving target—you need to keep adjusting your expectations and preparations as the situation changes around you