Writer’s Notes: Emergencies Magnified

By Janet Greger

Public safety workers — police, fire fighters, EMTs — face emergencies daily. They must go home with headaches lots of days. However, one problem that few have faced (except in practice drills) is solving problems after the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act has been invoked.

This law allows states to invoke legally enforceable quarantines to control epidemics and to respond to acts of bioterrorism. This legal quarantine would only be invoked in the U.S. when there are no effective treatments or preventative measures, e.g. vaccines, for a contagious disease or organism released by a bioterror attack.

Basically, the rights of a few individuals are lost (They’re isolated.) to protect the larger population. Pretty scary and a real headache for public safety workers. They can’t enter the isolated area (except with extensive gear) unless they’re willing to be isolated, too. Thus, I thought a quarantine was the perfect situation for my new novel — The Flu Is Coming.

In The Flu Is Coming, a new type of flu — the Philippine flu — kills nearly half of the residents in an upscale, gated community in less than a week. A quarantine is invoked. It makes those who survive virtual prisoners in their homes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recruits Sara Almquist, a resident of the community, to apply her skills as an epidemiologist to find ways to limit the spread of the epidemic. As she pries into her neighbors’ lives, she finds promising scientific clues but unfortunately, she also identifies the criminal past of several of her neighbors. Violence erupts when they try to escape the quarantine.

The Flu Is Coming has an exciting plot and sympathetic and villainous characters. It will also make you think about the limits of modern medicine and what can occur when those limits are reached. Why not read it now during flu season?

The paperback version of The Flu Is Coming is available at: https://www.amazon.com/Flu-Coming-Science-Traveler/dp/0578423251. The Kindle version at:

Bio: J.L. Greger is a scientist and research administrator turned novelist. She likes to include tidbits of science in her award-winning thriller/mystery novels: Murder: A Way to Lose, Riddled with Clues, and others. To learn more, visit http://www.jlgreger.com

JL Greger
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