According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are 276 laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 in the state of New York. Most of these have been concentrated in New York City.
This morning the New York Daily News – that pillar of probity – offers the following headlines for your breakfasting and commuting pleasure:
These are the headlines even after H1N1 was cleared as the cause of a widely reported infant death.
Compare and contrast the reality construed by the headlines above to the reality presented by this statement from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: “Seasonal and H1N1 influenza are both present in New York City, but neither is currently causing an unusual rate of severe illness.”
Three more NYC schools are to be closed today. According to the city health department, “Over the last five days, the city closed 15 schools in Queens (I.S. 238, P.S. 16, Q255, I.S. 5, JHS 74, P.S. 107, M.S. 158, Our Lady of Lourdes, I.S. 25, World Journalism Preparatory, Q233, P.S. 209, P9, P.S. 19 and P.S. 32) and one in Brooklyn (I.S. 318) after documenting confirmed cases of H1N1 at I.S. 238Q, and unusually high levels of flu-like symptoms in the other schools. The Health Department continues to work with the Department of Education to assess the situation daily and make decisions regarding school closures on a case by case basis.”
There are 1499 public schools in New York City serving more than 1.1 million students. The New York Daily News also offers this headline: Working parents scramble to find child care as swine flu outbreak closes schools.
Imagine the risk to children, the economy, and more involved in shutting down the entire school system in response to “flu-like symptoms.”