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It's official! Obama declares an H1N1 swine flu national emergency. So what?


President Obama declared an H1N1 swine flu national emergency today. (Full text below.) It even uses that scary word "pandemic."

With the potentially serious illness spreading rapidly around the country, people who are not occupied being sick in the bathroom expect the government to be on the case. Officials say 46 states now have widespread cases, about 20,000 hospitalizations since April and 1,000 U.S. deaths.

Actually, the president declared the national emergency last night with his official signature. But who's paying attention to anything but high school football on fall Friday nights? In politics and public communications, timing is crucial, and Friday nights are a time to release bad news.

So the White House held the announcement for release Saturday, usually a slower news day when a simple piece of proclamation paper will get more media attention like this, spilling over to the Sunday talk programs and possibly accomplishing two good things:

1) Perhaps persuade more skeptical Americans to get the vaccine that's late making its way around the country (only some 11 million doses have been shipped so far) and that so many seem to have serious doubts about.

A new poll -- see link below -- shows that 62% of adult Americans have no intention of getting the protection because they don't believe the danger, don't trust the government's urgings or its assurances of safety.

2) Show through strategic political communications that the Obama White House is right on top of the case from the very start.  (Do the names Hurricane Katrina and George W. Bush ring a bell here?)

It looks and sounds good. And, therefore, it is good.

But the practical effect of the Democrat's declaration has little effect on regular folks. It authorizes federal health officials to authorize hospitals to set up emergency healthcare operations in nonstandard ways and places (i.e. off-site treatment places to keep infected folks from infecting others). And it also waives certain federal bureaucratic yada-yada rules.

So, wash your hands again and go back to the game or waiting in line for the vaccine and sneezing into your arm instead of your hands.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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On April 26, 2009, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the "Secretary") first declared a public health emergency under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. 247d, in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus.

The Secretary has renewed that declaration twice, on July 24, 2009, and....

...October 1, 2009. In addition, by rapidly identifying the virus, implementing public health measures, providing guidance for health professionals and the general public, and developing an effective vaccine, we have taken proactive steps
to reduce the impact of the pandemic and protect the health of our citizens. As a Nation, we have prepared at all levels of government, and as individuals and communities, taking unprecedented steps to counter the emerging pandemic.

Nevertheless, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve.

The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the Nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities.

Thus, in recognition of the continuing progression of the pandemic, and in further preparation as a Nation, we are taking additional steps to facilitate our response.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and consistent with section 1135 of the Social Security Act (SSA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5), do hereby find and proclaim that, given that the rapid increase
in illness across the Nation may overburden health care resources and that the temporary waiver of certain standard Federal requirements may be warranted in order to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans, the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic in the United States constitutes a national emergency.

Accordingly, I hereby declare that the Secretary may exercise the authority under section 1135 of the SSA to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements of the Medicare, Medicaid, and State Children's Health Insurance programs and of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule throughout the duration of the public health emergency declared in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

In exercising this authority, the Secretary shall provide certification and advance written notice to the Congress as required by section 1135(d) of the SSA (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5(d)).

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

/s/ Barack Obama  

Related items:

Forget the rush on that H1N1 swine flu vaccine; 62% of Americans don’t intend to get it anyway

Photo: Virginia 3-year-old Katie Alms enjoys getting H1N1 flu vaccine Saturday. Credit: Jose Luis Magana / Associated Press
Comments () | Archives (31)

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more people have died from teh reggular flu at this point last year than have died from h1n1 this year.

THAT'S why so many of us don't care - this is an obvious case of "justify the healthcare debate" and a classic case of "look over here - NOT over there at the war, deficit, etc."

Never let a "crisis" go to waste.......
Just another "crisis" to divert media and public attention like a dog with ADD from the health care bill problems, Socialist Czars, Mao admirer's, dithering with Afghanistan...etc..

Again?! Ok, it should be OBVIOUS at this point that the h1n1 was created, manufactured and spread by the US Government. Anyone remember the 'Pork Odor Research' in the stimulus? Not long after, we had the first strain show up as a test in Mexico, but it backfired and made it's way back to the US. The paranoia lasted about a week or two, right? Now what's the topic? Frikkin healthcare. They're releasing it so all the uninsured will go nuts and be like "Oh if only I could afford healthcare to fight this monster flu!" I'm not making this up.. I'm already starting it to see that among comments on news sites. Of course, the H1N1 isn't much different than the normal flu, which on average claims lives in the thousands, but since Obama is declaring National Emergency, the ignorant masses are thinking this is the black plague.

Just tell us what you need Big O , we're here for you .

National Emergency!

Watch for the false flag manufactured pandemic, they need something to blame the result of the economy being looted on.

Can anyone say 911? Just what this country needs, a big event to bring us together again. And round up some of the more peskier patriots, who it just so happens, won't take the poison vaccines. They can take em off to the quarantine facilities, and poof...what happened to some of those people that were effectively criticizing the government?

Oh, they just died from the swine flu.

That or Obama's just trying to sell some vaccines.

If global warming isn't going to get you, the pig flu will. Unless that is, we have a public option and cap and trade.
Instead of "Never let a serious crisis go to waste"; We now have "If you don't have a crisis handy, create one!"


A Chicago pol declaring an emergency.

It is like water telling fish water is wet.

At least Jimmah Cahtah was halfway entertaining. hehehe

Creepy. I think Obama needs to check in with the real infectious disease specialists of this country who actually know what they are talking about. The "swine" flu is not as big as a deal as Boho would like you to believe. Nice try though. The flu is just another TOOL to be used. "The sky is falling, the sky is falling---maybe they will focus elsewhere and not see what I am doing." Idiot.

Also--Obama opted not to inoculate his girls---what does that tell you. Gosh--nuff said.

Will left wingers ever let go of Bush? I posit that the failure was more due to the Democratically controlled state & local governments in Louisiana rather than due to the federal government. See Florida in 2004 which had 4 hurricanes that year & managed well.

So the President's staff released a proclamation which will have no effect as stated by the author. Yup, I guess they're on top of it... whatever that means. I guess as long as you release proclamations about the problem of the day, you don't actually have to 'do' anything.

What does it matter when the vaccine is so late in coming? By the time it is literally distributed will most of us either have it or have been exposed? Even with receiving the vaccine, it takes several weeks for the immune response to kick in.

There was no way to have it by the end of the summer, but that is when we needed it. To me, this program is like closing the barn door after the horse has been stolen.

Btw, I dont give a crap about the Obama Administration being politically 'on top' of it. There is the political world and then there is the real one. You cannot really be 'on top' of a contagious disease that is already in all 50 states. On top of the message? If you're sitting there with swine flu, what does that mean to you in real terms?

Zilch point nada. Set it up so that no on in government gets blamed? Call that leadership? I call it posturing. Again, so what.

It is not an emergency.

I'd read somewhere that children shouldn't get both the regular and the swine flu vaccinations. My grandson had to go to the doctor last week because he was ill, wanted to be safe. Just a cold. She told my daughter in law she wants to see all her boys in her office in a couple weeks for their flu vaccine. She asked about the swine flu vaccine and she said more people will die of the regular flu than the swine flu. It's more important they get that one. She is only going to give those to patients with underlying health conditions the swine flu vaccine. My daughter said her peditrician told her the same thing. So who do you follow/believe? I tend to think the doctors who are actually treating patients with it know a little bit more about this than the government. People panicked over the bird flu less than two years ago and Bush's dire predictions. As far as this new health care bill, I still say if it's good enough for us, it's good enough for them as well. If they're unwilling to accept it as their insurance don't try and force it on us. They work for us, not visa versa and if they don't care enough to protect their own future generations that probably will not serve a public office, that tells me all I need to know about what they think about mine or anyone elses family. Health Care in this country needs reform, not an overhaul.

Let's see:
Bush gets the vaccine out for 50% of the population for the bird flue and is two weeks late with the other 50%. The L.A. Slimes goes ballistic.

Obama gets the vaccine out for 20% of the population for the swine flue and is months late with no coordinated plan for delivering the other 80% of the vaccine (think government run healthcare under this guy). The L.A. Slimes writes an article about his obami's due diligence.

What a joke! Mr. hopey and changey, vaccinate your own kids first with that nasal spay that actually has the live virus in it, and televise it on CNLSD, you know for the "regular folks"

God, I miss the Herald Examiner, but at least we have FOX....until the fascist in the whitehouse tells one of his czars to close it down.

The U.S. president, Barack Obama, has signed a decree establishing a national emergency in light of the current status of the swine flu.
The question is if it is a ploy to simply push through the health care reform through a federalization of the health care centers or if its all just a question of too little too late. Here we take a close lookat it in more depth.

My daughter is on antibiotics for the bacterial infection this flu creates in the lungs. She is very ill. I am also ill now too. It is highly contagious. My daughter had fevers in the 104's last night - that with alternating Tylenol & Motrin, and sponging her continuously with water + the tub, and also taking Tamiflu. This flu is not your average variety. I still don't understand why LA's public schools have opted to not tell parents about their outbreaks. To me, it's a crime that they're keeping it a big secret. God forbid they should lose income for mass absences. It shows where their priorities are - not the children. My best advice at this point, is that if you have a child with Asthma, immediately pull your child out of public school now. It's not worth risking these kids lives.

I will not get this swine flu shot. If I get sick I will go to my doctor. I trust what Obama and his administration say about as much as I trust me living after having an arrow shot through my head. Obama seems to be at war with everything and everybody.

So when are Obama's daughters getting the h1n1 national emergency vaccine shots? We're still waiting.

Some emergency, since the first daughters have not been vaccinated.

Why aren’t we getting the H1N1 flu shot? Because we already have had the flu! It’s coming too little, too late. Our concierge doctor insisted my youngest son (in his 20s) go to the ER immediately when his fever went up to 103 over the weekend, and the medicine the ER doctor prescribed made his a light case. My oldest son has a chronic, life threatening medical condition, and could have died from H1N1. But our concierge doctor was ready when his fever developed, prescribed the needed medication, and my son had a rough few days, too weak to sit up in bed without help, but survived. What’s needed at this point for most of us is not prevention, or standing in a line several miles long for the immunization. It’s too late for that. It’s to get treated as soon as the fever develops. Our doctor explained that if one waits 2-3 days, the medicines can’t help.

I'm inclined to suspect that a great many of the folks who posted comments here lambasting the administration smiled with approval a few years ago while George W. Bush was drooling over the potential opportunity to use avian flu as an excuse to impose martial law.

No supportive data for the claims of 1000 deaths. No further testing done since August to determine if it is actually h1n1 that caused the infections. Nothing like a false flag to scare people into submission. Already in Europe there are reports of people who have been vaccinated who have died right afterward. Something to look forward to, isn't it? Why didn't the Obama children get vaccinated as well? Children are more susceptible to it you know..

Obama and Bush are nothing more than puppets. The "powers that be" will do anything to keep the populace in a state of fear and increase control/power. Set limits. Say no. Push back at every opportunity.

It would appear the US GOV is at it again. Put major fear and panic in the people so we are subjected to the US GOV. There has been NO research in this vaccine. WHY would anybody receive this vaccine if they rarely get sick anyway or sick from other things??? DO NOT GET THIS VACCINE PEOPLE! Read online on the chemicals that are put into this, it's a money scam between the US and their pharmaceuticals! Don't BUY into it!

p.s. I wonder when "they" will stop calling it the "Swine" flu...or is it a new way to push a drug into the US people - H1N1 - the similarities for the shot?? NONE! Don't do it people - you won't know "which" you're being vaccinated for! (population control...sounds like to me)

If Obama is so keyed up about this vaccine He must show that he and his family are taking the shots. Bona vide shots not pretend with saline.
Perhaps to hget his medical insurance for all he must kowtow to big pharma
M Chambers

declaring a national emergency gives the government the right to quarantine if they want to.

Why is it that the tiny minority of malcontents finds a way to diss our President at every opportunity. Thank heaven their numbers are much smaller than their megaphone. Back to Rush and Glenn and Bill and Sean for your convoluted view of reality.

The vaccine, which the Obama Administration is pushing, is genetically engineered just like Obama-Vilisack is allowing most of agriculture to become genetically engineered. The latter is genetically engineered to withstand more toxic herbicides and other unregulated pest controls. The result of this potentially toxic agriculture may be more damage to the immune system, which makes one susceptible to pathogens, viruses, bacteria and other such illnesses. Additionally studies are coming in from around the world linking Monsanto's herbicide Roundup to various cancers.

Just as genetically modified agriculture is not proven safe and is not regulated by any stretch of the imagination, I don't believe the genetically modified vaccines are safe. Sorry, but I don't want to be another lab rat. I'd rather take my chances.

Obama promised not to bring agro business into his White House, but he's appointed another agro-biotech promoter from Monsanto and petrochemical agriculture to be in charge of the trade policy . Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa, and a leading advocate for Monsanto, genetic engineering, and factory farming, bring more uncontrolled pollution to the nations waterways, soils, and food.

They put big business who puts their bottom line ahead of public health, in charge of the nation's food.

So I googled H1N1. Why because I can't get a shot anywhere. No practices had them and my 6 year old got the first half of the vaccine second in 2 weeks. I have been exposed to the H1N1. I cannot urge that you get the vaccine. The more emotional worry that you get your family sick does not help you recover. If it was an emergency then we should have access to buying it. I live in WLA and called several places -none. How much I have learned about this..I finally paid for the expensive Tamiflu. At least I can fight the fight. And for 64+ folk who cannot get it is even sadder.
Called Public Health & CDC. It'll be to late by the time you get the shot. Hope know one gets sick especially ones children.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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