Obama on Swine Flu: Urges ‘Utmost Precautions’ And Advises Schools with Cases to Close

By Caitlin Taylor

Apr 29, 2009 8:54am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: Speaking in the Diplomatic Room this morning President Obama called the H1N1 flu virus a “serious situation” that is “serious enough to take the utmost precautions.” President Obama referenced the news that an infant in Texas died as a result of the virus and said his thoughts and prayers go out to the family as well as the other people who have died or are suffering from this virus. President Obama urged local public health officials to be “vigilant about identifying suspected cases of the virus” and report them to appropriate state and federal authorities in a timely way. “We need your assistance,” President Obama said, speaking to the local communities on the front lines of this virus. The president also strongly urged — upon the recommendation of public health officials — for schools to take an active role in stopping the spread of the virus. “Schools with confirmed or suspected cases of H1N1 should strongly consider temporarily closing so that we can be as safe as possible," he emphasized. Mr. Obama said if more extensive steps need to be taken and should their local schools temporarily close, then parents should start thinking about contingency plans now for their children. Obama said that a plan to send kids to day care as an alternative is “not a good solution.” The president urged people to take individual responsibility, the same steps that one would take to prevent a regular flu: wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth and stay home from work if you are sick. The president made reference to the work his administration is doing and the requested $1.5 billion in emergency funding from Congress to provide an adequate supply of vaccines and the equipment to handle a potential outbreak. “Every American should know that the federal government is prepared to do whatever necessary to control the impact of this virus,” he said. — Sunlen Miller

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