Who is "essential" during a pandemic?

The Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics published new research on who should be considered "essential" in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak. Of course, medical workers and firefighters are on the list but so are a surprisingly diverse group of other folks who often go unrecognized in keeping us alive and happy. From a press release:

After examining several accepted public health rationing strategies that give priority to all healthcare workers and those most susceptible to illness, the authors propose a new strategy that gives priority to a more diverse group. "Alongside healthcare workers and first responders, priority should be given to the people who provide the public with basic essentials for good health and well-being, ranging from grocery store employees and communications personnel to truck drivers and utility workers," says (Nancy Kass, Sc.D, Deputy Director of Public Health for the institute.)

Rethinking Who Should Be Considered 'Essential' During a Pandemic Flu Outbreak