April 26, 2009
White House Briefing: Swine Flu
We expect that we’re going to be changing our recommendations over time based on what we learn. And that’s an important thing. You’ll start to see different activities taking place in different parts of the country, depending on the local outbreak picture — and that’s good. You want people to respond based on what the situation is in their community, based on what situations are in particular countries.
Because of this speed in which things are progressing, you will at find — at times find inconsistent information, and we’re going to work really hard to make sure that that doesn’t stay up for long. But as we’re updating recommendations and they’re going out through various sources, you may find some inconsistency and we will work to minimize that.
This is moving fast, but I want you to understand that we view this more as a marathon. We do think that this will continue to spread, but we are taking aggressive actions to minimize the impact on people’s health.
It’s important that people understand that there’s a role for everyone to play when there’s an outbreak going on. There are things that individuals do, there’s things that families do, communities do to try and reduce the impact. At the individual level, it’s important people understand how they can prevent respiratory infections. Very frequent hand-washing is something that we talk about time and time again and that is an effective way to reduce transmission of disease. If you’re sick, it’s very important that people stay at home. If your children are sick, have a fever and flu-like illness, they shouldn’t go to school. And if you’re ill, you shouldn’t get on an airplane or another public transport to travel. Those things are part of personal responsibility in trying to reduce the impact.
It’s important that people think about what they would do if this outbreak ramps up in their community. We understand that in New York City there’s a cluster of disease in a school and New York City has announced that they’re not having those children come back to school on Monday, so that they can understand better about transmission in that school. There’s a similar situation in Texas. Those are very smart public health decisions. If there are other communities where we saw cases in a school, we would be recommending that they take those actions as well.
So it’s time for people to be thinking — forward-thinking about, well, if it were my child’s school, what would I do, how would I be prepared for that kind of an event. We view the public as partners in the efforts to try and control what’s going on.
There are a number of sources of information. I want people to know that the CDC web site — www.cdc.gov — has our latest information on swine flu. There’s a link from there to very current information and there’s a link there to a Spanish language site as well.