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The Flu and the New Administration

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Given the worldwide concerns, and the facts that the new flu has shown up already in California, Texas, Kansas and New York, when will the president go into crisis mode? Given the criticism that President Bush absorbed over the federal government’s response to Katrina, expect the new president to err on the side of overreaction.

The flu has crossed the globe in record time:

New Zealand said that 10 students who took a school trip to Mexico “likely” had swine flu. Israel said a man who had recently visited Mexico had been hospitalized while authorities try to determine whether he had the disease. French Health Ministry officials said four possible cases of swine flu are currently under investigation, including a family of three in the northern Nord region and a woman in the Paris region. The four recently returned from Mexico. Tests on two separate cases of suspected swine flu proved negative, they said.

Spain’s Health Ministry said three people who just returned from Mexico were under observation in hospitals in the northern Basque region, in southeastern Albacete and the Mediterranean port city of Valencia.

Mexico closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in a bid to contain the outbreak after hundreds were sickened there. In the U.S., there have been at least 11 confirmed cases of swine flu in California, Texas and Kansas. Patients have ranged in age from 9 to over 50. At least two were hospitalized. All recovered or are recovering.

New York health officials said more than 100 students at the St. Francis Preparatory School, in Queens, recently began suffering a fever, sore throat and aches and pains. Some of their relatives also have been ill.

Some St. Francis students had recently traveled to Mexico, The New York Times and New York Post reported Sunday.

Thousands of students travel to Mexico on spring break, either to party or to do service projects, so the flu’s rapid criss-crossing of the U.S. is almost guaranteed. Time to open the Tamiflu stcokpile.

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