Federal officials made a formal announcement about providing Illinois and Chicago with additional financial assistance to the tune of millions of dollars, for executing plans to combat influenza pandemic. Health officials have been perturbed about cases of bird flu in Europe and Asia, which has also raised concerns of an impending worldwide pandemic.
The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said "The funds will build on the work begun at the summits and help local, tribal, territorial and state public health officials as they undertake critical preparedness planning that communities must do themselves."
Mock exercises conducted to gauge the extent of preparedness for pandemic, revealed loopholes that included shortages in vaccines, ventilators, coroners and such other essential supplies. The funds allocated will be utilized to plug the loopholes and take care of money for health departments, for sprucing up the facilities in hospitals, and even hiring more people to augment the staff, and train them to face up in case of an eventuality.