President Obama's news conference -- full text
(Page 3 of 13)
I've consulted with our public health officials extensively on a day-to-day basis, in some cases an hour-to-hour basis. At this point they have not recommended a border closing. From their perspective it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States.Skip to next paragraph
As Iowa's Kent Sorenson jumps to Ron Paul ship, rat analogies abound
Could Romney 'train' be derailed by Gingrich? Perry? Someone new?
Virginia primary: Was it so hard for Perry and Gingrich to get on the ballot?
Donald Trump as third-party candidate: Will he woo Americans Elect?
Ron Paul: why racist newsletter flap could hurt him in Iowa
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
We have ramped up screening efforts, as well as made sure that additional supplies are there on the border, so that we can prepare in the eventuality that we have to do more than we're doing currently.
But the most important thing right now that public health officials have indicated is that we treat this the same way that we would treat other flu outbreaks, just understanding that, because this is a new strain, we don't yet know how it will respond.
So we have to take additional precautions, essentially, take out some additional insurance. Now, that's why I asked for an additional $1.5 billion, so that we can make sure that everything is in place should a worst-case scenario play out.
I do want to compliment Democrats and Republicans who worked diligently back in 2005 when the bird flu came up. I was part of a group of legislators who worked with the Bush administration to make sure that we had beefed up our infrastructure and our stockpiles of antiviral drugs, like Tamiflu.
And I think the Bush administration did a good job of creating the infrastructure so that we can respond. For example, we've got 50 million courses of antiviral drugs in the event that they're needed.
So the government is going to be doing everything that we can. We're coordinating closely with state and local officials. Secretary Napolitano at the Department of Homeland Security, newly installed Secretary Sebelius of Health and Human Services, our acting CDC director, they are all on the phone on a daily basis with all public health officials across the states to coordinate and make sure that there's timely reporting, that if — as new cases come up, that we're able to track them effectively, that we're allocating resources so that they're in place.
The key now I think is to make sure that we're maintaining great vigilance, that everybody responds appropriately when cases do come up, and individual families start taking very sensible precautions that can make a huge difference.
So wash your hands when you shake hands. Cover your mouth when you cough. I know it sounds trivial, but it makes a huge difference. If you are sick, stay home. If your child is sick, keep them out of school.
To — if you are feeling certain flu symptoms, don't get on an airplane, don't get on a — any system of public transportation where you're confined and you could potentially spread the virus.
So those are the steps that I think we need to take right now. But understand that because this is a new strain, we have to be cautious. If this was a strain that we were familiar with, then we might have to — then I think we wouldn't see the kind of alert levels that we're seeing, for example, with the World Health Organization. OK?
Deb Price of Detroit News. Where's Deb?
Good to see you.