Swine Flu Update

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beth Fertig, WNYC reporter, and Tom Skinner, a spokesperson for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, talks about school closures and the latest swine flu news in New York City and the rest of the country. Then, we go live to Geneva, where World Health Organization spokesperson Dick Thompson talks about the global response to the outbreak.


Beth Fertig, Tom Skinner and Dick Thompson

Comments [20]


Has anyone reporter visited a New York City public school bathroom? There is never any decent soap and paper towels to make for appropriate hand cleaning. There is never any luke-warm water. The kids are washing their hands with cold water (obviously it cannot be too hot, but luke warm is productive).

Instead of putting money to the shifts in the Times Square traffic, why not put that money in hand cleaners for kids. And instead of those corn syrup products being handed out for free around that spectacular heart of Times Square why not toss out some hand sanitizers for New Yorkers?

In addition, instead of the mayor cutting apart Broadway and pouring money on the streets, and other streets (that were often just paved only to be uprooted again for "proper turns") he could have put that money into hand sanitizing procedures for the NYC public schools once this flu outbreak broke. I could get more sanitation from the newly paved roads around Manhattan, then I could from the cold, cardboard sanitation devices in the public schools.

Also isn't it ironic that the mayor just started to shut the schools down when his neighboring Upper East Side private school got a few cases. Public and private, differences?
Instead of this emphasis on standardized tests, there should be standardized hand cleaning. Some of those tests are actually more sterile then the bathrooms, and just as unproductive to the real roots of what a New York education should provide.

Well, if schools close, at least we have WNYC from which to learn.

May. 19 2009 04:06 PM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

Lina--anyone in NYC can get good quality pay-as-you can treatment from NYU doctors at Bellevue Hospital. Their clinics are very well-run. good luck and good health.

May. 19 2009 11:05 AM
Douglas L from Brooklyn, NY

This year I had to spend almost
$500 to get my car to pass inspection
in Brooklyn, NY. (1995 Ford)
The garages are clearly taking
advantage of us.

May. 19 2009 10:43 AM

If people with swine flu are going to the doctor, how safe are their offices for kids who are sick with anything but swine flu?

May. 19 2009 10:27 AM
thatgirlinnewyork from manhattan

this requires a sea change in our behavior around illness. americans are long known to continue to go to work while sick, and that behavior extends to their children, who often couldn't stay at home unless the parent was able.

why would a girl need to be pulled out of school with a fever of 101 or more? most likely, she felt badly in the morning, and should have stayed home in the first place.

common sense should tell us that we have a responsibility to others when we are ill. staying home at the onset of symptoms is paramount, for young and old.

May. 19 2009 10:24 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

I really think behind all this Michael Bloomberg is really worried about whether tourism is going to drop.

May. 19 2009 10:23 AM
Nancy Dwyer Chapman from Scarsdale, NY

One of the concerns about this version of the flu, AH1N1, is whether it will re-emerge in fall-winter 2009-2010 slightly mutated and stronger, far more virulent and lethal.

If that hypothesis is correct, and if exposure to specific flu viruses affords a degree of immunity (which has been the case in past outbreaks and was a mortality factor for the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic), is it **almost a good idea** for an otherwise healthy person (the immuno-compromised/underlying conditions population unquestionably being exempt from this consideration) to be exposed to AH1N1 now, in order to develop some immunity against the flu virus that might erupt this fall and winter?

May. 19 2009 10:23 AM
Susan from Manhattan

Dear Brian:
Regarding school closings and swine flu:
As there aren't that many weeks left in the school year, why not just close down the schools now for the summer and start the 2009-10 school year 2 or 3 weeks early? Why "wait to see what happens?" It's better than dealing with the situation case by case, which will breed confusion and potential chaos along with the swine flu virus.

thanks for a great and informative show!

May. 19 2009 10:22 AM
ceolaf from brooklyn

What are the "signs and symptoms of influenza," especially as compared to the common cold?

May. 19 2009 10:22 AM
S.A. from Brooklyn

What is the relationship between HIV infection and influenza deaths? Why aren't you mentioning HIV as one of the conditions that compromises immune system? NYC has one of the highest rates in the country.

May. 19 2009 10:21 AM

Please help... I am feeling sick- low energy, sore throat, I think fever... I do not have health insurance. Where can I get tested for the flu? Thank you!

May. 19 2009 10:21 AM
janis Warren from Hastings on Hudson

My daughter is a type 1 diabetic and always gets an annual flu shot. With this new flu threat, should we just watch carefully and get her anti-flu medication in case of any flu-like symptoms?
Thank you.

May. 19 2009 10:20 AM
Arthur Aptowitz from Forest Hills-Key Food-Queens Blvd and 108th Street

What is the mayor going to do next flu season, when a real flu epedemic hits? Close all the schools for months?

May. 19 2009 10:19 AM
Rachel Thieme from Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Thanks for this segment. I want to know where the kids go during the day once their schools are closed. Surely all their parents can't take this time off of work. Do most of these kids end up in childcare centers with potentially slightly less health standards than the schools?

May. 19 2009 10:19 AM
ceolaf from brooklyn

The guest did not answer Brian's question about whether this is an over reaction to this particular flu.

Can Brian ask, "Is this abundance of caution that you mention too much caution?"

Also, can he ask, "How often do new strains of flu appear and has this kind of reaction to them been the norm?"

May. 19 2009 10:18 AM
Charles Harris from Island Heights NJ

what data are there to substantiate the usefulness of the usual flu shots?

May. 19 2009 10:17 AM
Charles Harris from Island Heights NJ

You cannot stop a flu epidemic without vaccine or specific medications.

May. 19 2009 10:13 AM
David from Queens

One of the neighboring schools to IS 238, IS 237 has has over 200 absentee students with 60 leaving sick, yet remains open. The DOE is flat-footed and dumbfounded. School officials do not have the authority to shut down - it has to be approved from upper levels.

May. 19 2009 10:12 AM
Charles Harris from Island Heights NJ

Previously healthy always die of flu with certain viri

also find out nhow much immunity is coferred by getting flu. If it confers immunity let the mild epidemic run to protectit from severe flu

May. 19 2009 10:11 AM
Greg from Manhattan, Gramercy

I wish someone would clear up the importance of this flu. Thousands of people die each year from the "regular" flu, and schools are never shut down. Why is this flu, such a scare?

May. 19 2009 10:03 AM

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