From The Washington Post:
“Nearly 300 schools nationwide have shuttered as education and health officials take precautions to avoid the spread of swine flu, the U.S. Education Department reported today.
As of yesterday at noon, the department had counted about 100 school closures. ….
The Fort Worth, Tex., school system closed its 80,000-student district for 10 days after confirmation of one case of swine flu at one campus and the announcement that there are probable cases at three other schools. In New York, where several schools have been hit by outbreaks, such decisions have been handled individually at the schools.
In Maryland, schools in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties with probable flu cases have remained open under advice from health officials.”
At first glance, that all seems a bit excessive. But according to the Post, the U.S. Department of Education is advising that “schools should strongly consider closing if a student or employee is confirmed to have the flu, if there is a suspected case linked to a confirmed case or if there is a confirmed case in the community.”
With advice like that from people who are supposed to know, I guess I’d close school too if I had a case in my school community.
And then, of course, there’s America’s crazy uncle, Joe Biden, who this morning on “Today” went a bit over the top.
“I would tell members of my family — and I have — I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said. “It’s not that it’s going to Mexico. It’s you’re in a confined aircraft. When one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft.” Biden went on to say he wouldn’t suggest that they ride the subway either.
That is emphatically NOT what the experts are advising. The White House tried to deny Biden said what he said, before eventually throwing up their hands and admitting it was just Uncle Joe being Uncle Joe again. You know how he gets.
Others have gotten the bug as well — the overreaction bug, not the flu bug. U.S. Sen. John McCain, for example, says he continues to believe “that all available options to end this crisis must remain under consideration, including closing the border if it would prevent further transmission of this deadly virus.”
Again, that’s emphatically not what the experts are advising, and it surely would not “end this crisis,” as McCain put it. Nothing government or anybody else can do will end this crisis. It’ll just have to play out. We have to control the fever, both literally and metaphorically.