As the media broadcasts feeds about the fast spread of Swine Flu, many concerned Washingtonians wonder if the virus is deadly epidemic or an over exaggerated common cold.
Over the past week, the recorded number of Swine Flu confirmed cases in the United States have flew from 64 to a staggering 109 reported by Center of Disease Control on Thursday. No vaccines have been found but most of the cases in the United States were considered mild.
Some District residents are taking extra preventive measures.
“How do you fight something that is in the air,” said Paige Finnely, 32, Northeast resident. “I won’t even use public bathrooms…I can’t risk it.”
“I told everyone I know to carry antiseptic and to be extra careful in the metro,” said Nikkole Williams, a Northwest mom and caretaker.
According to a Center of Disease Control press release today a vaccine is being formulated through research and information gathering. They urged people to watch for possible symptoms.
The Center of Disease Control believes that Swine flu symptoms include fever that is above 100, sore throat, or cough. If sick, people should stay home and call their health provider.
“The best precautions you can take are washing your hands frequently, staying home if you are sick and covering you coughs a tissue or your arm,” said U.S. Secretary of Health Alfredo Vigil, M.D. in the press release.
“At work I wash my hands like every half an hour,” said Koleena Reeves, 18, a server at Union Station. “I don’t feel safe. I work at a restaurant that’s in the same facility as a major train station.”
“Just continue to wash your hands, takes vitamins and drink lots of orange just, you’ll be fine” said Madison Shaw, 22, medical student at Howard University. “When people hype it up they make themselves sick.”
President Barak Obama addressed public concern in a CNN News feed Tuesday. ” Concern is especially good if it drives planning and action,” he said.
Nationwide many people are taking extra precautions. Nearly 300 schools have closed in communities across the country. On Tuesday Carnival Cruise and Princess Cruise lines canceled stops to Mexican destinations. According to Associated Press, federal officials are reassuring the public that it is safe to fly and ride public transportation after Vice President Joe Biden said he wouldn’t recommend it to his family.
Nationally, other countries are taking drastic approaches to prevent the spread of swine flu. According to CNN on Wednesday, Mexico city ran out of surgical masks after giving the mask to one of every five patients.
Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Craig Vanderwagen told lawmakers that 600 million doses of a possible vaccine can be achievable in a “six-month time frame.” Citizens remain very cautious to possible infections.
Still many citizens express concerns.
“Are they serious? Are they really serious with this?” said Camille May, 21. “I think that people are scared now. Even a sneeze or a cough is causing people to stay home because they might have something. …I mean for goodness sakes its allergy season.”
The Center for Disease Control confirmed 109 cases Thursday and state officials confirm 22 more. Cases now are confirmed in New York, Texas, California South Carolina, Kansas, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, Maine, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, and Maryland and Virginia.