First draft: Storms trump flu

May 4, 2009

Flu mania seems to be winding down a bit. At least on the morning U.S. television talk shows CANADA/and the front pages of the major newspapers.

Is it complacency? A feeling that it can’t hit you? Or just plain flu fatigue? Whatever the case, the slowdown of interest in the deadly new strain of flu comes just as global health officials gear up to declare a full-stage pandemic.FLU/

The morning news shows focused first on the severe weather pummeling the United States, and only after went on to talk about flu. The acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Richard Besser, said the spread of the deadly influenza is not much worse than the average seasonal flu.

But he urged against complacency: “The bottom line though is that people need to stay the course in terms of hand washing, covering their coughs and staying home if they’re sick,” he said on NBC’s “Today Show.” “We are by no means out of the woods.”

President Barack Obama, who spoke to his Mexican counterpart about the flu over the weekend, will likely discuss the issue with Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan before a Cinco de Mayo event the White House today.

But Obama’s main event of the day is to announce a new set of proposals on international tax policies aimed in part to crack down on international tax avoidance.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Mark Blinch (Woman walks through financial district in Toronto)

Photo credit: REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (Microbiologist tests samples for H1N1 flu virus at the Dallas Department of Health and Human Services laboratory)

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