Nation & World

From nuclear war to flu outbreak, upcoming CDC briefing gets dramatic change in topic

FILE - In this July 25, 1946 file photo, a huge mushroom cloud rises above Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands following an atomic test blast, part of the U.S. military's "Operation Crossroads."
FILE - In this July 25, 1946 file photo, a huge mushroom cloud rises above Bikini atoll in the Marshall Islands following an atomic test blast, part of the U.S. military's "Operation Crossroads." AP

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week posted a notice to the web announcing the planned topic for an upcoming monthly webinar: nuclear war.

Originally titled “Preparing for the Unthinkable” according to The Washington Post, the CDC’s Public Health Grand Rounds session planned for next Tuesday was set to educate on the health implications in the aftermath of a nuclear blast, including information on radiation sickness.

Instead, the CDC presentation has been retooled to focus on the current, devastating flu season.

Now titled “Public Health Response to Severe Influenza,” the current notice online makes no mention of war or nuclear weaponry. Instead, Tuesday’s session will “provide key and timely information for public health professionals on how to reduce the spread of seasonal flu in communities and adjust to spot shortages in antiviral drugs.”

With flu being widespread in every state but Hawaii as of Friday, this flu season surged around the holidays and has already had a severe impact.

Nuclear war, meanwhile, crept to the forefront of the nation’s attention following tweets from President Donald Trump regarding North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and as the U.S. Defense secretary promised “a massive military response” if the U.S. is threatened.

“While a nuclear detonation is unlikely, it would have devastating results and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps,” the CDC’s notice had previously stated, according to Politico.

Planned months in advance, the topic was changed Friday afternoon, and the “mushroom cloud” photo accompanying the CDC’s announcement was taken down, The Washington Post reported.

The CDC said “Preparing for the Unthinkable” will be rescheduled, but did not give a new date.

Tuesday’s flu seminar, held at the CDC’s Roybal Campus in Atlanta, will be free to watch via internet livestream, with the video also being archived. It will begin at 10 a.m. PST.

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