BIOTERRORIST ATTACK WILL CREATE PUBLIC PANIC
BIOLOGICAL ATTACK WILL CREATE A GREATER HARM OF VAST PUBLIC PANIC
LAURIE GARRETT, Pulitzer Prize -- winning science and medical writer for Newsday January, 2001 / February, 2001 Foreign Affairs SECTION: CHALLENGES FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENT; Pg. 76 HEADLINE: The Nightmare of Bioterrorism //VT2002acsln
In a large urban center, the true costs of a bioterrorist attack might be the consequences of panic, such as a stock market collapse in New York or a commodities market crash in Chicago. At a 1998 Senate hearing on bioterrorism, then Minnesota State Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm warned against underestimating the degree of panic such an event would provoke:
[A] single case of meningitis in a local high school causes enough fear and panic to bring down a whole community. . . . Now imagine you're telling people, "This is going to unfold for eight weeks, and I can't tell you if you're going to die." And with every symptom . . . real or imagined, [people are] going to think, "I've got it! I'm going to die!"
SMALLPOX ATTACK WOULD CREATE HUGE PANIC
MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, School of Public Health, Univ. of Minnesota, 2000; LIVING TERRORS: What America needs to know to survive the coming bioterrorist catastrophe //VT2002acs p. 151
Clearly, fear would sweep the nation after any bioterror attack; keep in mind, though, that the highly contagious smallpox release described in this scenario would cause unprecedented rates of death from a single act of violence.