Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 24, 2009 5:30 PM GMT
    Obama declares swine flu a national emergency
    By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer Philip Elliott, Associated Press Writer
    7 mins ago

    WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency and empowered his health secretary to suspend federal guidelines at hospitals and speed up how infected people might receive treatment in a disaster.

    The declaration that Obama signed late Friday means Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules when opening alternative care sites, such as offsite hospital centers at schools or community centers, if needed.

    Hospitals could modify patient rules — for example, requiring them to give less information during a hectic time — to quicken access to treatment, with government approval.

    The declaration, which the White House announced Saturday, allows HHS in some cases to let hospitals relocate emergency rooms offsite to reduce flu-related burdens and to protect noninfected patients.

    Administration officials said the declaration was a pre-emptive move designed to make decisions easier when they need to be made. Officials said this was not in response to any single development on an outbreak that has lasted months and has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States.

    It was the second of two steps needed to give Sebelius extraordinary powers during a crisis. On April 26, the administration declared swine flu a public health emergency, allowing the shipment of roughly 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications from a federal stockpile to states in case they eventually needed them. At the time, there were 20 confirmed cases in the U.S. of people recovering easily. There was no vaccine against swine flu, but the CDC had taken the initial step necessary for producing one.

    "As a nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic," Obama wrote in the declaration.

    He said the pandemic keeps evolving, the rates of illness are rising rapidly in many areas and there's a potential "to overburden health care resources."

    Because of vaccine production delays, the government has backed off initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million doses would be available by mid-October. As of Wednesday, only 11 million doses had been shipped to health departments, doctor's offices and other providers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

    The government now hopes to have about 50 million doses of swine flu vaccine out by mid-November and 150 million in December.

    The flu virus has to be grown in chicken eggs, and the yield hasn't been as high as was initially hoped, officials explained.

    Swine flu is more widespread now than it's ever been. Health authorities say almost 100 children have died from the flu, known as H1N1, and 46 states now have widespread flu activity.

    Worldwide, more than 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic, the World Health Organization said Friday. Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate.

    ___

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 24, 2009 7:53 PM GMT
    National Emergency? Isn't this a bit much? What outbreak?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 24, 2009 9:15 PM GMT
    Although only 1,000 people in the US have died from the flu, Obama is taking a preventive measure, so it doesn't spread any further and become an epidemic like hiv.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 12:16 AM GMT
    I'm no scientist, but I think I'm pretty safe in saying that the mortality rates for HIV/AIDS and H1N1 differ slightly.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 12:17 AM GMT
    the regular flu kills that many people a year i think, the media just wants to distract from bigger problems
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Oct 25, 2009 12:32 AM GMT
    I work in Public Health. The flu season started early this year and a majority of the cases, particularly requiring hospitalization, have been due to H1N1 (Swine flu). We're many weeks away from when the normal flu cycle would peak, and yet we're already exceeding those numbers. ERs are already overwhelmed by people showing up for treatment, and those numbers are only going to rise. Deaths or not, our health system is already taxed and things are only going to get worse, but deaths attributed to the flu are also well exceeding normal numbers. It's going to be a really bad flu season. If you're feeling the least bit sick, stay home. Researchers have shown the H1N1 virus can infect someone from 10 feet away, so carpools, airplanes, hallways, classrooms, locker rooms, are all extremely vulnerable places.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 12:34 AM GMT

    More than likely, one of Obama's friends or a close acquaintances came down or died from the H1N1 flu....so he declared it a national Emergency. He tends to do things like that. Now to get him some gay friends.



  • cowboyathlete

    Posts: 1346

    Oct 25, 2009 12:56 AM GMT
    EricLA saidI work in Public Health. The flu season started early this year and a majority of the cases, particularly requiring hospitalization, have been due to H1N1 (Swine flu). We're many weeks away from when the normal flu cycle would peak, and yet we're already exceeding those numbers. ERs are already overwhelmed by people showing up for treatment, and those numbers are only going to rise. Deaths or not, our health system is already taxed and things are only going to get worse, but deaths attributed to the flu are also well exceeding normal numbers. It's going to be a really bad flu season. If you're feeling the least bit sick, stay home. Researchers have shown the H1N1 virus can infect someone from 10 feet away, so carpools, airplanes, hallways, classrooms, locker rooms, are all extremely vulnerable places.
    Well said on all points.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 12:58 AM GMT
    Leonidus saidthe regular flu kills that many people a year i think, the media just wants to distract from bigger problems


    Yea the regular flu has killed more, though I think its been the White House that's been doing the distractions especially with the whole going after FNC.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 1:39 AM GMT
    EricLA saidI work in Public Health. The flu season started early this year and a majority of the cases, particularly requiring hospitalization, have been due to H1N1 (Swine flu). We're many weeks away from when the normal flu cycle would peak, and yet we're already exceeding those numbers. ERs are already overwhelmed by people showing up for treatment, and those numbers are only going to rise. Deaths or not, our health system is already taxed and things are only going to get worse, but deaths attributed to the flu are also well exceeding normal numbers. It's going to be a really bad flu season. If you're feeling the least bit sick, stay home. Researchers have shown the H1N1 virus can infect someone from 10 feet away, so carpools, airplanes, hallways, classrooms, locker rooms, are all extremely vulnerable places.


    I know what you are saying. We already have schools closed here due to an unusually large number of ill students due to the swine flu, so the schools are taking preventive measures by closing the schools, so that it doesn't get any worse. They will reopen the schools when they feel the epedemic has subsided which at this point they don't know how long that is going to be.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 1:45 AM GMT
    hockeynick79 saidI'm no scientist, but I think I'm pretty safe in saying that the mortality rates for HIV/AIDS and H1N1 differ slightly.


    That may be true now, but if this swine flu does spread and get worse as it seems to be doing, we could be facing a more serious threat to our health than HIV in the not too distant future. HIV can only be spread through sexual contact, but the swine flu is passed through simple casual contact. Little kids even in daycares are getting it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 1:46 AM GMT
    Bahhaha. I had the Swine Flu. It sucked, completely just like any other flu sucks!
    But I'm still alive. Granted I'm also not a medical expert, and I know some people have died from complications of the Swine Flu, but really the only thing that was annoying was my splitting headache, sniffling constantly and the fact that I felt like I was going through hot flashes then really cold flashes. Which, in turn who actually enjoys being sick?

    It's all a fucking joke. Honestly. I was asked if I wanted the vaccination in the beginning of the year, I declined earnestly due to the fact that I do not believe in the shot. First off, the test to see if you have Swine Flu is 200.00$ and it's only 40% accurate and your insurance does not cover you! icon_rolleyes.gificon_exclaim.gif Then the actual vaccination is 83.00$

    At least that's what my nurse informed me at my school.

    I was walking around with it just thinking it was a cold and about a week later my friend who was tested for it said that she had it and I saw her about a week before I started having symptoms. It's stupid and there is no need for panic.

    Fin! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_razz.gif


  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 1:46 AM GMT
    I work in a federal clinic as a dentist and wow, the medical side is busy! the ER has a 6hr wait...schools have closed....good news is people are starting to stay away from public places, at least in Rockford, IL....as a public aid dentist, this is the first time I'm sitting on my A$$ waiting for those dental emergencies!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 1:47 AM GMT
    We've had a number of cases at work, so people are starting to panic.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 1:52 AM GMT
    As was already said, people just need to stay at home, so they don't keep spreading it.
  • Barricade

    Posts: 457

    Oct 25, 2009 1:54 AM GMT
    Here they've placed age restrictions on visitors at hospitals. Some places no one under 14 years of age and some places 18. Plus, only one adult visitor allowed in the patients room, except parents of a sick child. These vary by the hospital but it's been implemented since September pretty much.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 2:04 AM GMT
    No hospital visitors are allowed here, except immediate family and clergy.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 2:18 AM GMT
    This is our latest report on the swine flu here in WI. Vacinations are in short supply, but once we get more vaccinations here, conditions should improve.

    Swine flu vaccine trickles in as more and more contracting virus

    By Ben Jones
    Post-Crescent Madison bureau chief

    MADISON — Swine flu tightened its grip on Wisconsin this week, forcing schools to close and the Department of Health Services to say the disease is widespread and quickly circulating.

    ♦ http://www.postcrescent.com/ic/textalerts.shtml" target="new">Click here to sign up for news, weather and sports text alerts.


    Since Sept. 1, the virus has killed at least 10 people in Wisconsin and hospitalized 53 others. More than a dozen schools were closed, including Mount Calvary Lutheran in Harrison and St. Peter Lutheran in the Town of Freedom.

    Meanwhile, the vaccine that will help stem the flu's spread is just trickling into the state.

    On Friday, Menasha still had not received the vaccine order it placed this week, or the order it placed the week before. And it was out of the injectable form of the virus, the form recommended for high-risk people.

    "It's a concern because we want to get the vaccine out there," said Sue Nett, the city's public health director. "We've been tentatively planning our school-based clinics and this is pushing that back further because we don't have enough vaccine."

    Menasha's experience is typical. Stephanie Marquis, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health Services, said Wisconsin has received 245,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine, although it had not been expecting to receive any vaccine until mid-October.

    "That's encouraging," she said. "However, what the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is also saying is the production, the supply chain, is slower than anticipated.

    "That's going to delay some community vaccination clinics."

    Marquis said the CDC is still shipping the vaccination to states, including Wisconsin, and is shipping it in quantities based on state population.

    She said the CDC has millions of doses available but is not cutting corners on quality control. Marquis said the CDC could have held back and waited to ship drugs when larger quantities were available but opted to start shipping the dugs in smaller quantities as soon as it could.

    Marquis said it's not clear when larger quantities of the drugs will be available. "It's difficult to forecast … right now we are getting small amounts of the vaccine."

    People can help prevent the spread of the flu in the meantime by following good hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing, to help slow the spread of the virus, Marquis said. Those who are ill and have questions should contact their physician.

    In Winnebago County, the health department has been receiving many calls from people asking about the virus and the vaccine. The department has used a temporary agency to bring in additional staff to help with the H1N1 effort. But the department's supply of vaccine is limited.

    "I'm waiting for a shipment but I don't know when it's coming," said Mary Jo Turner, a nurse coordinator. "It's pretty much day by day. I place my order on Monday morning and I wait to see what I get during the week."

    Turner said anecdotal reports indicate the virus is widespread in the Fox Valley.

    "We're busy, but we want people to get the vaccine and we want them to be protected," she said.

    Appleton Health Officer Kurt Eggebrecht said certain people, like first responders and school nurses, have received the vaccine but limited vaccine quantities have prevented the city from vaccinating a wider group of people.

    When vaccines arrive in larger amounts, Eggebrecht said the city will roll out a "pretty aggressive" school vaccination program.

    Consent forms already have been sent to parents.

    Eggebrecht said that pandemics typically happen in waves and it's difficult to say whether Wisconsin has seen the worst of the swine flu. But he said distribution of the vaccine will lead to "herd immunity," which will keep the virus from spreading from person to person.

    "That's when we will really turn the corner," he said.
  • mynyun

    Posts: 1346

    Oct 25, 2009 4:03 AM GMT
    Leonidus saidthe regular flu kills that many people a year i think, the media just wants to distract from bigger problems


    Yeah more like trying to distract from the president and his broken promises. Oh well so it's an "outbreak" now. Means I'll be busier at work.icon_neutral.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 4:07 AM GMT
    IHG84 said
    Leonidus saidthe regular flu kills that many people a year i think, the media just wants to distract from bigger problems


    Yea the regular flu has killed more, though I think its been the White House that's been doing the distractions especially with the whole going after FNC.


    Couldn't say it better myself.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Oct 25, 2009 4:10 AM GMT
    Read the NY Times piece today. It's entitled "Swine Flu Is Widespread in 46 States as Vaccines Lag":

    http://tinyurl.com/yhbjwkk