By Elizabeth Cohen
Senior Medical Correspondent
So is the swine flu outbreak showing any signs of waning in the United States? Not according to the US Centers for Disease Control. “I believe we are just on the upswing here,” the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat said in a press conference Sunday. “I do expect more cases, more severe cases, and I do expect more deaths.”
This is in contrast to what’s happening in Mexico, where the World Health Organization declared Sunday that the outbreak “is in its declining phase.”
What accounts for the difference? Time, according to Schuchat. The outbreak started in Mexico, and so it’s further along there than in the rest of the world. It’s not entirely clear when H1N1 infections started showing up in Mexico, but health officials there early Monday reported 568 cases and 22 fatalities linked to the flu, with the most active period of infections between April 23 and April 28. In fact, as a result, Mexico lowered its health alert from red or ‘high’ to orange or ‘elevated’. The United States has reported 226 confirmed cases in 30 states, including one death – a Mexican toddler visiting relatives in Texas.
No matter what happens this spring with H1N1, it’s important to remember this: flu outbreaks come in waves. So when it goes away this spring, it could come back in the fall. “In 1918, that pandemic started out as a very mild case of disease in the spring,” says Grogry Hartl, a spokesman for the WHO. “[The virus] almost completely disappeared over the summer, only to reappear in the autumn of 1918 with the vengeance which we all know. So even though we might be only seeing mild cases now, we cannot say what will happen in the future.”
Whether swine flu will come back in the fall “with a vengeance” is open to debate. “I would assume that it would be much worse in the fall,” says Dr. W. Paul Glezen, chief epidemiologist at Baylor College of Medicine’s Influenza Research Center, who based his assessment on how the flu virus behaved in the 1918 and 1957 outbreaks.
But Dr. Peter Palese, chair of the department of microbiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, disagrees. “The swine virus may pter out completely and not return next winter,” he says. “I would be very skeptical making any prdictions as the to recurrence in the next winter. There is no good scientific evidence to suggest that this will happen.”
By the way, last week on Tony’s show, he asked what people think of Dr. Richard Besser, the acting director of the CDC; you’ve seen him on television multiple times talking about swine flu. I told Tony I’d ask his question on my Twitter page. The answer: people seem to love him. Here are a few examples:
- “His calm in the swell of this flu storm is impressive. Professional, personable, and clear in his reports. 2 thumbs up!” – farragounveiled
- “He looks and sounds very confident , educated and informed. That's what we need right now.” – medisort
- “He is completely capable and informative without causing panic. I'm confident he would do very well as Director of CDC.” – davidsbays
- “Besser is doing an excellent job. Perhaps he should be running TARP & TALF too?” – wonkguy
- “He did a great job. He was upfront & to the point. And he formed full sentences, so it's another step up.” – AshleyBartolome
Most of us are smart enough to not vent about the boss on company e-mail. But what about on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter? Probably not too smart either. Just because you’re off the clock doesn't mean the company isn’t watching!
CNN's Alina Cho reports on how some employers are using the Internet to spy on workers.
Share your thoughts about your life, your work and your privacy. Did you feel like that was a violation of privacy? We will have your comments live from 11a-1p.
Today President Barack Obama is expected to announce a crackdown on companies and individuals who use international bank accounts to hide profits from the IRS. The goal is to close loopholes for overseas tax havens and end tax incentives for creating jobs overseas. Kyra is interviewing Vice President Biden't chief economic advisor Jared Bernstein about this in the 1pm hour.
What are your questions for him? Add your questions here.
Happy Monday from your Heidi Show team!
Lots going on today - here's some of the stuff we're working on:
First off, we're wondering what you think:
Swine Flu: Overhyped?
Post your comments below!
Throughout this month, you'll see special "Class of '09" segments on the Heidi Show. For high school graduating seniors, we'll cover topics like financial aid, finding jobs on campus, steering your son/daughter toward a school you can afford. For college graduating seniors, we'll hit things like finding that first job, alternatives if your son/daughter can't find a job, and paying off student loans. We'll talk to parents, students, guidance counselors, admissions officials, recruiters and more.
One particular segment we want to point out: this Wednesday at 10:30am ET, 2 financial aid experts join us to answer YOUR questions. Confused about financial aid, grants, loans, scholarships, 529 plans, work-study, and non-work-study jobs? Post your questions below and we'll try to answer them on the air!
At his 100 days press conference last Wednesday, Pres. Obama praised the Bush administration for preparing the U.S. to respond to a pandemic. One of the key players in developing those plans? Tommy Thompson, Secretary of Health and Human Services from 2001 to 2005. He joins us live at 9:00am ET to talk about the H1N1 swine flu, U.S. preparedness, vaccine stockpiling...and we'll get his advice for Kathleen Sebelius, the brand new Secretary of Health and Human Services. Make sure to watch – 9:00am ET
(And if you didn't get to see the interview, here it is):
From producer Sara Rudolph and copy editor Mary Acosta