One in four Americans believe they or a household member would lose their job or business if they had to stay at home for seven to 10 days during a severe flu pandemic, according to a Harvard School of Public Health study released last week.
Although the survey found that more than three-fourths of Americans would cooperate if public health officials recommended that they stop some activities for one month, such as using public transportation and going to the mall, a substantial number of people surveyed also said they would have no one to care for them if they became ill. Many of the 1,697 adults surveyed also said they would face serious financial problems, such as loss of pay and health care, if they had to stay home from work for a week or more. More than four in 10 people living in one-adult households and about a third of low-income adults said they would not have anyone to take care of them if they were sick and had to remain at home for seven to 10 days.
When asked about their current employers plans for dealing with a flu pandemic, only 19 percent of respondents said they were aware of any preparedness plan at their workplace. Fifty percent of employed Americans believe that their workplace would stay open if public health officials recommended that some businesses in their community should shut down.
The full survey results may be found at http://www.cq.com/flatfiles/editorialFiles/healthBeat/reference/20061026-flusurvey.pdf.