New York Times, 4/29/2009
State and federal officials intensified their response to the swine flu outbreak on Tuesday, with President Obama asking Congress for $1.5 billion in supplemental funding.
The global response included more restrictions on travel to and from Mexico, identified as the likely origin of the outbreak and the only country to have reported deaths from swine flu. Officials there shut down schools across the country and limited restaurant service in Mexico City in an effort to curb transmission of the virus, which is suspected in the deaths of 159 people.
In Washington, Congressional hearings addressed the seriousness of the outbreak. “I really think we need to be prepared for the worsening of the situation,” Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, the C.D.C.’s interim science and public health deputy director, told a Senate Appropriations health subcommittee. “It’s more of a marathon than a sprint,” she said, echoing what Dr. Besser had said on Sunday, when the country first declared swine flu a public health emergency.
Senator Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat who heads the subcommittee, noted that “there’s a lot of anxiety right now across the country.” Still, that anxiety is not on the same scale as in Mexico, where the number of people believed to have been sickened was about 2,500 on Tuesday.