WASHINGTON — Federal officials declared a health emergency on Sunday, as they confirmed 20 cases of swine flu in five states, mobilized medicine stockpiles, and warned the public that the number and severity of incidences were likely to increase.
The officials urged calm, saying the declaration was largely meant to free up resources and precautionary in nature. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, appearing with other officials at a news conference at the White House on Sunday, compared it to the kind of alert that goes up before officials know how severe a gathering storm might become.
Officials said they didn’t believe the outbreak is related to bioterrorism.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan warned that the virus had the potential to cause a pandemic, but cautioned that it was too early to tell whether it would erupt into a global outbreak. On Sunday, she held teleconferences with staff and flu experts around the world but stopped short of recommending specific measures to halt the disease beyond urging governments to step up their surveillance of suspicious outbreaks.
The scary thing about all of this is that it’s the what…fourth such “potential pandemic” that’s broken through our borders in as many years. An Arlingtonian — home to the Pentagon, a major CIA training site, parts of Walter Reed, part of the FBI training group, and at least one gigantic military base, not to mention yours truly — need only drive to the corner of Glebe and Route 1 to see that Arlington’s water supply sits there vulnerable and uncovered, clearly denoted as the aquifer for all of Arlington county. If the tagline on every “potential pandemic” article will from now on clarify whether or not this is a terrorist attack, shouldn’t we at least consider covering our water?
Source: WSJ (link)
Still, this seems more worrying than SARS was, and SARS was pretty worrying. And if it gets much bigger, it will deal a heavy blow to an already struggling world economy, because this will have deep impacts on global trade flows.
and finally, nothing more needs to be said:
When Pigs Flu
But…but…Mexico has socialized medicine!