The poll also suggested the importance of telecommuting: an 85% majority agreed strongly or somewhat that employees would be reluctant to come to work in a pandemic. The survey was taken in the afternoon, after the attendees had listened to several presentations about the pandemic threat posed by the H5N1 avian flu virus and the potential effects of a pandemic on business. Not surprisingly, the results showed that the companies take the threat of a pandemic seriously. Thirteen percent of the attendees expressed the view that a pandemic is imminent. Another 44% expect one within 2 years, and 38% expect one within 10 years. Feb 15, 2006 (CIDRAP News) A large majority of about 300 business officials at a conference in Minneapolis believe that an influenza pandemic would significantly affect their business, but only 18% of the companies have completed a preparedness plan, according to a poll taken yesterday. The group evidenced an ambivalent view of the role of government in coping with a flu crisis. A 53% majority said the federal government is definitely not doing enough to prepare the private sector for the threat, while only 3% said the government is doing enough. Eighty-four percent of the respondents said they “definitely” believed that a pandemic would disrupt their supply chains, and 14% called this outcome probable. Forty-five percent were convinced that national borders would be closed during a pandemic; another 30% thought this was somewhat likely. Fifty-nine percent of respondents to the electronic poll said their companies had started working on pandemic preparedness but did not yet have a plan in place. Another 21% said they hadn’t started planning, and 2% said they would rely on their existing crisis management plan. Twenty-three percent said their company perceived the likely impact of a pandemic on its operations as a “crisis,” 40% viewed the impact as serious, and 25% called it important. More than three fourths76%of the officials were sure that social unrest would be an “important feature” of a pandemic. Three fourths of the companies agreed that information-technology preparedness, especially having secure remote access to their computer systems, would be a “key issue” for them. Close to two thirds said they were already prepared or somewhat prepared to move employees to remote locations or let them work at home, while 29% said they were not prepared. At the same time, a 73% majority thought government interventions would have a major impact on their business during a pandemic, and nearly as many68%thought that impact would be unfavorable. And an overwhelming 92% agreed that developing relationships now with local governments would help them respond to a pandemic. The meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center drew representatives of more than 200 companies with a total of more than 7.5 million employees and $2.6 trillion in annual revenue. The healthcare sector was the most heavily represented, supplying 22% of the attendees, according to the poll. The retail and wholesale trade, manufacturing, professional services, and financial and insurance sectors each accounted for about 15%. The poll was taken during a national meeting sponsored by the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of the CIDRAP web site, and the US and Minnesota Chambers of Commerce. Respondents had 10 seconds to answer each question, and the results were tabulated and reported immediately. Communication was listed as the most important planning area by 52% of the respondents. Smaller groups chose supply chains (28%) and information systems (16%) as most important.
JEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoWhat a difference a week can make.One week after being dominated in virtually every aspect of the game in a 38-7 loss to Penn State, Wisconsin was on the other end of the coin Saturday, in a 44-3 abusing of Northern Illinois.After losing two consecutive games on the road and falling from the fifth-ranked team in the nation to out of the top 25, the Badgers finally played the complete game they had failed to do all season.That was more like it.“It was good to finally put a whole game together — offense, defense and special teams,” tight end Garrett Graham said.The offense scored 44 points and racked up 431 total yards, while the defense bounced back from its worst game of the season to completely stymie Northern Illinois to the tune of 99 yards of total offense.“We had fun today,” cornerback Allen Langford said. “That’s one thing we wanted to get back to. Coach Bielema stressed that all week, to just go out there and play the way we’ve been playing ever since we were little kids.”The Badgers defense certainly didn’t play small.Northern Illinois was held to zero yards of total offense going into the second quarter and didn’t pick up a first down until just a little more than a minute was remaining in the first half.Even more impressive was the job the Wisconsin defense did containing Northern Illinois running back Justin Anderson.Entering the game as the sixth-leading rusher in the nation, Anderson was held to just 14 yards rushing on 13 carries.“We knew we were playing against a great running back and a great rushing attack, and we basically just stood up to the task,” linebacker Jonathan Casillas said. “Our D-line played great today. I don’t know if they played a better game throughout the year. … My hat’s off to them. Those guys hold it down and make my job easier.”Offensively, the Badgers pounded the ball down the Huskies’ throats, rushing 55 times for 331 yards.“We wanted to establish something that we struggled with the last two weeks in the run game,” quarterback Tyler Donovan said. “We tried to get the ball in some different guys’ hands and see what they could do, and things turned out positive today.”P.J. Hill had the break-out play of the game, breaking through and spinning away from tackles at the line before finding some open field for a 72-yard touchdown run on the Badgers’ second drive of the game.“That’s some balancing out there that he did,” wide receiver Paul Hubbard said. “I thought he was going to fall over, but no.“If we keep having sparks like that throughout the game, I don’t think we’ll ever go back down the other path.”Swan”s motivational speechFriday night, as the team gathered in preparation for the following day’s game, senior captain Luke Swan stood up among his peers and urged them all to play with increased effort and tenacity.Swan, who tore his hamstring Oct. 6 against Illinois and will miss the remainder of the season, told his teammates to play as if every play was their last.“He said … ‘This is done for me for a while, and I just ask that you guys go out there and play every play like you know the next one is going to be your last, like you know you’re going to get hurt the next play,’” Hubbard said.That speech, according to Hubbard, was one of the reasons for the improved play across the board.“Everybody went out there and took that mentality to heart. They went out there and played 100 percent every play, and it showed.”Hartmann injuredThursday afternoon, UW head coach Bret Bielema mentioned sophomore Will Hartmann would see time Saturday playing on the punt return unit.Hartmann did so, and had an eventful day — even if he might not remember it.Hartmann nearly blocked a punt in the second quarter, but blocking on a kickoff return following NIU’s lone score, Hartmann was hit hard and suffered what Bielema characterized as a “pretty severe concussion.”“(He) did a tremendous job for us in the punt return game, and unfortunately took on somebody with his head there on that kickoff return,” Bielema said.When the training staff tried to help Hartmann up, he nearly tumbled over and needed to be assisted off the field by two trainers.