Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
By Fred Mogul : Reporter, WNYC News
Twenty-four hours later, two additional clusters have emerged at other schools, and there are five individual cases health authorities are analyzing.
So far, almost all the cases have been mild. All but a couple of people at St. Francis have been improving. Now, however, we've learned of the first hospitalizations: an adult, who was admitted and discharged, and a two-year-old, who is still in an undisclosed hospital. Nation-wide there had been one hospitalization. To date, there are still no deaths in the US. In Mexico, there have been more than 150.
Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden says in many regards the swine flu is following a normal pattern of spreading, except that it's much later than usual. What's troubling, he says, are the deaths in Mexico and the unpredictability of a new strain. But in a city of eight million people, thousands die each year from normal flu. No one should be surprised, Frieden and Bloomberg repeatedly say, if this one leads to more hospitalizations and, yes, even deaths.
'We do not know whether it will continue to spread new strains sometimes fizzle out, over time. And we do not know if it's worse. So far it doesn't appear to be. But it's early.'
Bloomberg and Frieden say they now believe 'hundreds' of people associated with St. Francis were probably infected with swine flu, but they say there's no point in testing them all. Most were mild. Almost all seem to be on the mend.
Whatever practical value there is to NOT testing them in order to focus resources elsewhere, the city will benefit -- if that's the word -- from merely having its 45 confirmed cases pasted on cable news maps (already more than the rest of the country), rather than a number in the hundreds.