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Study: flu pandemic would hammer Indiana

March 22, 2007

Indiana’s economy would shrink nearly 5.9 percent if a severe flu pandemic broke out, according to a report released today by Trust for America’s Health, a Washington, D.C., not-for-profit.

That would be the 10th-worst impact among states, the organization projected. In dollars, the setback would amount to $14 billion.

The report went on to say that a severe pandemic flu outbreak could spur the second-worst U.S. recession since World War II, decreasing the nation’s gross domestic product by more than 5.5 percent, or $683 billion.

States with economies most heavily based on tourism, such as Nevada or Hawaii, would be the hardest hit, the report said. It deemed Indiana’s manufacturing, transportation, warehousing, accommodation and food-service sectors most vulnerable to major losses, due to likely decline in demand for their products and services.

“The U.S. is not prepared to face an economic shock of this magnitude,” said TFAH Executive Director Jeff Levi.

The report, “Pandemic Flu and the Potential for U.S. Economic Recession,” postulates a flu outbreak as severe as the 1918 pandemic.

In modern terms, that would mean an outbreak in which 90 million Americans become sick and 2.2 million die. In Indiana, the report estimates, 1.9 million Hoosiers would likely become ill and 49,000 would die.

The report is available at www.healthyamericans.org.

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