President Barack Obama walks down the stairs of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency. The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements. Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall.
* Disaster proclamation intended as proactive measure
* CDC said swine flu widespread in 46 of 50 states (Adds details on new antiviral drug)
WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has declared 2009 H1N1 swine flu a national emergency, the White House said on Saturday.
The declaration will make it easier for U.S. medical facilities to handle a surge in flu patients by allowing the waiver of some requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs as needed, the White House said in a statement.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected.
Obama signed the statement on Friday night.
The White House statement said the declaration was intended to prepare the country in case of “a rapid increase in illness that may overburden health care resources.” It was similar to disaster declarations issued before hurricanes hit coastal areas.
“It’s important to note that this is a proactive measure — not a response to a new development,” an administration official said.
“H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected. By the time regions or healthcare systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly,” he said.
Seasonal flu normally peaks sometime between late November and early March and kills about 36,000 Americans in an average year.
Swine flu has hit young adults and children the hardest, while seasonal flu normally is more dangerous for people over age 65.
H1N1, declared a public health emergency earlier in the year, has killed more than 1,000 people in the United States and put more than 20,000 in the hospital since it emerged earlier this year, the CDC said. But health officials are quick to note that the actual number of cases cannot be measured.
The new declaration clears the way for waivers of federal requirements that, for example, could prevent hospitals from establishing off-site, alternate care facilities that could help them deal with emergency department demands, the White House said.
The Health and Human Services Department is trying to deliver vaccines against H1N1 but says production is falling short of projections because companies are having trouble making them.
HHS has also moved to make available stockpiles of antiviral drugs oseltamivir, made by Roche AG (ROG.VX) under the brand name Tamiflu, and zanamivir, an inhaled drug made by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) under the brand name Relenza.
On Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an experimental new drug called peramivir, made by Biocryst Pharmaceuticals Inc (BCRX.O) and licensed to Shionogi & Co Ltd (4507.T).
The authorization allows the intravenous drug to be used in hospitalized patients who cannot take pills or inhale Relenza or when Tamiflu or Relenza do not seem to be helping. (Additional reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Eric Beech and Mohammad Zargham)
By Patricia Zengerle
Sat Oct 24, 2009 3:39pm EDT
Information on swine flu and vaccination:
– Flu Vaccine Brainwashing by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
– Doctor, cited on FOX News as expert on infectious diseases, would not give highly toxic swine flu vaccine to his children
– Satire: How to be a swine flu vaccine zealot
– New York judge puts hold on mandatory swine flu vaccinations
– Robert F. Kennedy Jr. – Shocking Vaccine Cover Up
– Junk Science And The Flu Vaccine Scam Revealed
– Dr. Leonard Horowitz: The CDC’s Vaccination Genocide
– Autism Explodes As Childhood Vaccines Increase
– ‘Just get your damn vaccine’ America! (The Swine Flu Conspiracy
– Canada will protect swine flu vaccine maker GlaxoSmithKline from lawsuits
– CDC drafts ‘ISOLATION ORDER’ for swine flu (H1N1)
– Poll: Nearly 2/3 of US parents won’t vaccinate their children against the H1N1 swine flu
– Australia: Nationwide swine flu vaccination
– US: Military to get mandatory swine flu shots soon
– Washington State lifts limit on mercury preservative in swine-flu vaccine
– Forced Swine Flu Vaccination Refused By Nurses In New York
– Long Island nurses to rally against mandatory swine flu vaccines
– Seasonal flu shot may increase H1N1 risk
– First wave of vaccine will be mostly nasal spray, a LIVE FLU VIRUS
– Nanoparticles used in untested swine flu vaccines
– China: Mass Swine Flu Vaccination
– US: Governor Baldacci proclaims civil emergency due to H1N1
– EMERGENCY UPDATE: French government document details forced mass vaccination plans from September 28th: GPs and hospitals to be excluded.
– Study: Causal Connection Between Thimerosal and Autism Established
– Historical facts exposing the dangers and ineffectiveness of vaccines
– Exposed: ‘The Swine Flu Hoax’ by Andrew Bosworth, Ph.D.
– Up to 60% of doctors may refuse swine flu vaccine
– Massachusetts ’swine flu’ legislation: A $1000 fine per day or up to 30 days in prison for each day that you do not follow the emergency declaration rules
– Yes, you will! FORCED vaccinations, isolation & quarantine, health care interrogations and mandatory ‘decontaminations’
– German health expert’s swine flu warning; Does virus vaccine increase the risk of cancer?
– Dr. Russell Blaylock: Harmful Effects of Swine Flu Vaccine
– Swine Flu: The DynCorp ‘COINCIDENCE’
– H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic: October Surprise Prevention
– Dr. Russell Blaylock: How to reduce the toxic effects if force vaccinated
– Poll: Only a third of nurses willing to have swine flu vaccine
– Leaked Government letter to neurologists reveals concern about swine flu vaccine
– Untested swine flu vaccine could be given to your children
– £27,000 swine flu bonus for GPs
– Squalene: The Swine Flu Vaccine’s Dirty Little Secret Exposed
– NVIC on swine flu and the consequences for you!
– US Military To Work With FEMA During Swine Flu Pandemic
– Former Assistant Secretary of Housing: ‘I believe one of the goals of the swine flu vaccine is depopulation’
– US: 12,000 Children To Be Swine Flu Vaccine Guinea Pigs
– Baxter Filed Swine Flu Vaccine Patent a Year Ahead of Outbreak
– UK Government Swine Flu Advisor On Vaccine Maker Payroll
– Swine flu vaccine to be cleared after five-day trial !!!
– Baxter sent out 72 kilos of live bird flu material destined for vaccines confirmed by Austrian Health Minister Alois Stöger
– Baxter: Product contaminated with live H5N1 avian flu virus
– New Zealand orders 300,000 doses of untested and unapproved swine flu vaccine
– Journalist Files Charges against WHO and UN for Bioterrorism and Intent to Commit Mass Murder
– Swine Flu 1976: Reality vs. Propaganda
– Homeopathy Successfully Treated Flu Epidemic of 1918
– Dr. Russell Blaylock on 1976 Swine Flu and Current Outbreak
Swine Flu and the Microchip:
– VeriChip Corp. Granted Exclusive License for Patents Used in Virus Triage Detection System for H1N1 Virus
– Greg Evenson on Microchips and Swine Flu
– Whistleblower: Forced vaccinations – clear warning
Additional information on Tamiflu:
– Canada ignores Oxford University’s warning about Tamiflu
– Swine flu: TV presenter’s daughter almost died after taking Tamiflu
– Study: Tamiflu causes sickness and nightmares in children
– Tamiflu drug made with cocktail of chemical ingredients, linked with bizarre behavior