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Swine Flu Coverage: Too Much or Not Enough?

For most of this week, the Swine Flu has dominated both the national and local media. Is it getting too much attention or is all the coverage justified? At a news conference today, Houston Congressman Al Green said one thing he doesn’t want is for people to panic. Bill Stamps has more.



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Earlier this week, Texas school officials canceled all high school sporting events. There was such an outcry that they changed their minds somewhat and decided to allow the upcoming track and field championships to go on across the state as scheduled. Whether or not any of this is justified is a matter of opinion. Congressman Al Green says he supports whatever decision school officials make.

“I’m going to trust their judgment and trust that they’re doing what’s in the best interest of children, because I know that they’re dedicated to children.”

But Green says now’s not the time to panic. He even talked about not being afraid of flying from Washington to Houston. Referring to Vice President Joe Biden’s comment that he would tell his family not to fly. Biden has been criticized heavily.

“We want to prevent panic. We want to prevent panic. Even in circumstances that are not favorable, we can prevent panic. Panic will not be helpful.”

The congressman didn’t say exactly who, if anyone, he thought was panicking. Houston resident Chris Dorn doesn’t know what to think.

“I don’t know it’s scary. I’m not positive what’s going to happen.”
Bill Stamps: “Are you scared of the regular flu?”

“No, not really.”
Stamps: “So why are you scared of this one”

” I don’t know people are dying.”

“I just heard something this morning that 36-thousand people died of the regular flu last year.”

That’s another Houston Resident Thomas Wells.

“I think they’re blowing it out of proportion, but something’s going on. I just don’t have all the facts, but something’s going on. I know I’m not going to Mexico.”

Justin Swain also lives in Houston.

“My thoughts on it personally, I believe it’s being blown out of proportion. Simply because, to me, there’s more important things happening in our community that’s more dangerous than the flu. People are getting killed daily and that’s not getting the same amount of media as the swine flu.”

The centers for disease control says between January and April at least 800 Americans died from the regular flu each week. Some thirteen thousand overall. 9 out of 10 were aged 65 and older.

Bill Stamps KUHF Houston Public Radio News.