Flu Outbreak Threatens to Slow Economy

Flu Outbreak Threatens to Slow Economy

This year is one of the worst flu seasons in a decade is putting further strains on an already sluggish U.S. economy as companies get slammed with increased health care costs and lower productivity from widespread worker absences.

 Seasonal flu outbreaks cost U.S. employers $10.4 billion in direct costs of hospitalization and outpatient visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That doesn't include the indirect costs related to lost productivity and worker absenteeism.

But this year, that figure is expected to go alot higher, as the flu virus has shown up in some 41 states with 29 of them reporting high or severe levels of sickness as thousands are flooding into hospital emergency rooms and doctor's offices.

Hopefully  this is not like the  major influenza outbreak, like the Spanish flu of 1918, it could have a very significant effect on economic growth," said Timothy G. Nash professor in Free Market Economics at Northwood University. "If GDP is projected to be be 2 percent this year, the flu could cut that back to one half percent growth rate."

The  flu costs the U.S.economy with roughly 36,000 lives and causes more than 200,000 people to be hospitalized and costs our economy," Nash said. "We don't know if this is a like 1918 but we can't ignore the serious nature of what's going on."

"This is the  last thing we need in a slow economy is a major flu epidemic," said Paul Paul Mangiamele, CEO of the Bennigan's restaurant chain located throughout the U.S. "It's bad enough as it is without the flu taking even more customers away."

 

 

 


Play Video
 
Boston Declares Flu An Emergency
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner experienced brake problems today, with CNBC's Larry Kudlow; and Boston's Mayor is declaring this year's flu season and public health emergency, with Alysha Palumbo, NECN.

This devastating flu season started five weeks earlier than usual and caught many people off guard. Flu season usually peaks in late January or early February but by November the flu was already severe and widespread in some parts of the South and Southeast, and now in the Northeast and Midwest.

 

 



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