October 24th, 2009
12:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama declares national emergency for H1N1 virus

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama declared a national emergency Saturday to deal with the "rapid increase in illness" from the H1N1 influenza virus.

The move allows the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "to temporarily waive or modify certain requirements" in order to help health care facilities enact emergency plans to deal with the "pandemic."

Those requirements are contained in the Medicare, Medicaid, and state Children's Health Insurance programs, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy rule.

"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," Obama said in a statement.

"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."

Filed under: H1N1 virus • President Obama • Swine Flu
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. ICARE

    It's about time! We all should be given face mask to wear.. or every time someone leaves a room, there's a crew to disinfect it..

    October 24, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. B

    They were talking about this situation months ago and saying that they had a handle on it...

    Unbelievable !

    October 24, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. Independent Senior in Bandon, Oregon

    The administration has been discussing, talking about, worried about, etc. etc. H1N1 flu for months.

    While they were doing all that, they could have been PUSHING for the vaccine to be available as soon as possible. And have more than one company manufacture it.

    For folks who refuse to take it or give it to their kids, too bad. For the rest of us, what do we do now???????

    October 24, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. john michaels

    This week local newspapers reported that State of Florida is drawing up procedures for hospitals to restrict or deny health care in case of emergency that overloads the healthcare system including taking some patients off ventilators.

    October 24, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. Ross

    What a joke.

    I just had the swine flu last week. I wish, wish, wish, wish, and wish every sickness I had was as easy as this.

    Shame on the media and government for making a big deal, and raking in the cash over this.

    October 24, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Claudia

    The reason that the rate of illness is rising rapidly is because this is a new strain and nobody has immunity to it, so yeah......it's gonna spread like mad and people will get sick. Just like the regular flu, the people who died from it died because of other complications. The flu doesn't kill, it's the secondary infection they get while they have the flu that kills. The media really needs to quit making this out to be a bigger deal than it is. When the virus mutates......then you can freak out!

    October 24, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Robert

    its really sad to see the government falling for the pharmaceutical companys lie

    h1H1 is nothing mre than the old flu with a new name

    October 24, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. joe

    i see tv news of public health departments not having received flu shots and i just pasted 3 drugstores here in florida with signs out
    in front, advertising h1n1 shots for sale. whats up?

    October 24, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Just a few months ago, all Obama said we had to do was wash our hands.

    This is the best example of how inept government is. That people still think a government run healthcare plan will work shows more about how ignorant Americans have become than anything else.

    October 24, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. capnmike

    This whole flu "pandemic" is a total scam. There is nothing any more dangerous about this "flu" than any other "flu" (35,000 people die every year from "ordinary" flu), but every time somebody gets this one, the media plaster it all over the front page. Somebody (like certain pharmaceutical companies) is making a fortune on this.

    October 24, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    It looks like the Federal Government has not improved in its ability to handle a major crisis such as the "Swine Flu" (You can call it that since it has been found in a pig now, can't you? ) So it looks like we had better not have another Katrina because the federal govenment under the dems is as inadequate as the local and state goverment was during Katrina.

    October 24, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Eric from MI

    Big surprise right when we need to push for health care reform a virus hits which hasn't caused more than 50 deaths in the US and all the sudden it's an emergency...give me a break

    October 24, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  13. kimberly

    GOOD! AHH, vindication is sweet is it not Mr VICE PRESIDENT! People called it another Biden moment when he said he would not go on public transportaion if they could avoid it....HMMMM, now its a national emergency? Maybe Joe should be listened to next time!

    October 24, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Kathleen

    Thank Heavens! I hope Obama can get the PUBLIC to understand that this is a REAL PANDEMIC – with a virus H1N1 that is 'more contagious' than any other FLU since 1918.

    It spreads at an alarming rate!

    Still, People don't take this seriously.
    so many people don't have a clue (or care) about Flu Prevention Hygiene.

    God help us!
    Even the internet conspiracy Quacks will be standing in line for the vaccine this December – mark my words!

    October 24, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Chuck Churchman

    Here we go again. Now everyone can see how powerful the drug companies REALLY are. The H1N1 virus is no emergency. The only reason anyone dies in relation to catching it is because their bodies become more susceptible to pneumonia. The pneumonia can be deadly, but the H1N1 virus won't kill you unless it is allowed to re-assort with another virus. Pneumonia can also be stopped if it's confronted quickly, but injecting the live attenuated H1N1 virus into the body certainly won't help anyone to fight off pneumonia.

    Recently it was discovered that 81 cadets in Colorado were found to still have the virus long after the symptoms had subsided. This means the possibility of reassortment is quite real, and injecting any live viruses into the body could have deadly consequences. This also suggests that forcing vaccinations on health care worker is illogical as they could be shedding the virus for up to 3 weeks later. (The word "shedding" essentially means they'll be "infecting" the very people they're supposed to be helping.) Anyone who really wants to protect themselves and their families should simply google the words "natural anti-virals" for a list of other options. Survive and thrive.

    October 24, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, North Carolina

    The production and distribution of the H1N1 vaccine is controlled by the Federal Centres for Disease Control (CDC), which has managed to make sure that not only is there not enough of the stuff for everyone who needs it, but that it's getting to people who need it too late.

    And some of you want to trust the entire US health care system to these clowns?

    October 24, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. Greg, MN

    No doubt this H1N1 Flu, is a widespread flu. But keep in mind a recent study that looked at presumed/likely cases which is most of the reported cases since testing is so overwhlemed - 80% were NOT H1N1.

    October 24, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. tukur

    What is HINI virus! How it is

    October 24, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  19. Democrat

    This is pathetic, the federal government looks week. Yea great response you've only had six months to prepare for this and no one can get the vaccine. You're the President and you blame it on the manufacture, real responsible. No prevention or anything, all we get is wash your hands and cover your mouth they've only been saying this for a long time. DO YOUR JOB OR SOMEONE ELSE WILL

    October 24, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Mike in SA

    Somebody should tell the CDC!

    It would have been nice if we had seen a sense of urgency from this administration to get the vaccine out. People are dying every day from an entirely preventable sickness. What is it...over a 1000 now? I'm sure they'll blame Bush for this too though. BTW...welcome to government run health care.

    October 24, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. mark

    I still cannot believe this virus has been designated as a pandemic. What a joke. The influenza virus kills MANY more people every day and it is not called an epidemic or a pandemic. Just more government hype to keep citizen's eyes off of other happenings.

    October 24, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. mark

    Around 36,000 Americans die each year because of the seasonal flu (according to the CDC). This breaks down to about 98-99 every day. In contrast, with the H1N1 virus, 292 people died in one ten day period cited by the CDC. This breaks down to 29 people per day.

    Pandemic? Maybe the seasonal flu

    October 24, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Johnny DC

    GOVERNMENT INEPTNESS. This is yet another example.

    It is time for us to decrease the federal government and its reach into our lives. Almost any issue can be dealt with at the state level.

    October 24, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. jules sand-perkins

    Now we see that the President can act in a timely manner in an emergency.
    Is he just warming up?

    October 24, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. Dave

    We have known, as a country, since the January that we were facing an epidemic and our worthless federal government assured us many months ago through the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that we would have an ample supply of H1N1 vaccine doses by October at the latest. They dropped the ball big time and we are supposed to trust these “all talk and no action” morons to provide us with health care. Wake up people! Obama should have used some of the stimulus money to double vaccine production. What a joke this administration is turning out to be.

    October 24, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
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