April 28, 2009

Hewitt: Is Swine Flu reation going to be Obama's Katrina?

Posted: 07:43 AM ET

By conservative radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt

The sudden and deadly outbreak of swine flu in Mexico City and its near simultaneous spread to places as far flung as New York and New Zealand presents President Obama with his first very public crisis.

The early non-response by Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano to the prospect of Mexicans and Americans entering the country from our neighbor to the south (as well as third country travelers transiting Mexico en route to America) puts an enormous responsibility on the Administration's shoulders. From Friday afternoon forward tens of thousands of people have come from Mexico into the United States –legally– and the U.S. government has done nothing to impede or delay their arrival and their melting into the U.S. population. Obviously the flu had already arrived in many places before anyone could reasonably be expected to know its advance, but from Friday forward the president and his team have been on notice that a pandemic could be developing, and did nothing about the only realistic way of limiting the spread of a contagious illness –quarantining those with the bug.

If the new flu turns out to be nothing but a standard cycle of misery with a standard number of deaths associated with it, then the non-response of the president and his team will fade away as an issue. But as President Bush discovered after Katrina leveled New Orleans, the public expects the president to manage every crisis and to do so at breakneck speed. W's delay while first Mayor Nagin and then Governor Blanco fumbled many balls and his tolerance for FEMA's incompetence was seen by the public as a decisive moment of presidential failure, and no amount of extra effort after the military arrived could repair the damage done.


Filed under: Health • Hugh Hewitt • President Obama

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Dave of Detroit   April 28th, 2009 9:03 am ET

Hugh-You have not yet realized the fact that President Bush was incompetent despite all the evidence that has accumulated. I felt sorry for President Obama as he had to undo most of the mess created by the previous Administration including appointments like the Head of Fema being a Horse Breeder and Henrietta Mears as a Supreme Court Judge. You can label yorself a Conservative but that label hardly applies in any way to the Bush Administration so I have relabeled the completely idiotic Conservative Label of Bush Supporters to the term "BUSHY"-Please use this designation the next time you support the Bush Administration and the label Conservative when applying to true Republican Conservatism-It would be appreciated by not only your readers but the RNC that are trying desperately to get any credibility back!

Chris   April 28th, 2009 10:54 am ET

With 35,000+ flu deaths in the US annually , help me understand why the media is making such a fuss over 150 deaths in Mexio ? How about more facts and perspective, and less sensationalism? I think Obamas Katrina is the media.

stoyka   April 28th, 2009 11:47 am ET

Please, enough of swine flu, thousands of people died of
drug related crimes in Mexico, not much fuss about that,
and l50 died of flu, now you have everyone running for cover.
Just think what this is doing to airlines, hotels, other business.
Is this a way to sway our minds of economy, if it is, it sure is
working. The best and least costly sensation would be " life
discovered on Mars", we would be thrilled, shocked, confused,
and the economy would be booming once again, . Obama has
enough to deal with, just because somebody is coughing or
sneezing, what's that got to do with Him.

Dodie - Irvine California   April 28th, 2009 2:55 pm ET

Good Morning Larry:

Because this new strain of flu in which we have no antibodies for defense, I definitely recommend we do what Japan and China are doing.

They are using infrared and some other technology to detect fever from anyone leaving the airplane and a plan of action to quarantine those with a fever immediately along with detaining and checking the rest of the passengers on that particular air plane. No need for hysteria. Just use a good plan of action. If the virus dies out, no problem. If the virus becomes pandemic, then at least we have a good plan of action.

I also recommend the US stockpile Tamiflu and face masks with a N95 or better respirator. Its much wiser to be prepared. The old saying... prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Terry, TX   April 28th, 2009 3:21 pm ET

It's the flu..wash your hands, cover your mouth and stay home if your always the very young and the very old watch carefully.

As for the lack of border of control and sanctuary states such as California and New York...yeah the failure to enforce immigration laws is a huge problem throughout this Nation. It affects health situations like this, most people in Mexico don't follow a vaccination program like we do, drug cartels, gun running, drugs, and the budgets of these sanctuary states can't ake care of their own citizens.'s a big problem...anyone have the guts to address our Congress and Senate...not the guys we've got in right now.

FATBOY CHESAPEAKE VA.   April 28th, 2009 4:23 pm ET


Gary Chandler in Canada   April 28th, 2009 4:36 pm ET

There is a device, the RAMP reader which could be used as surveillance tool. It was taken to Iraq to test for anthrax.
Roche and 3M have both invested it for other diagnostic issues, like tuberculosis and heart attack detection.
Google [Response bio. Roche 3M]
This company, struggling for commercialization, has the Gold Standard ability to develop ON SITE, 15 minute tests for strains of flu.

Dave of Detroit   April 28th, 2009 4:45 pm ET

reply to Chris-I think we dodged a bullet. The initial infection killed over 150 people and then the virus suddenly became weaker. A world wide alert does not go out for no reason, I personally think that a very nasty bug got out of containment and someone is in deep trouble if still among the living!

Kelli from Tampa   April 28th, 2009 6:18 pm ET

I have been a nurse for 25 yrs. and the guy I am dating is a research doctor and he is nervous about it. This is no joke. Check our Mayo Clinic's site about this flu.

Kelli from Tampa   April 28th, 2009 8:28 pm ET

Oh Terry I do agree with you about closing the border, but lets get real about this. FOX news was on a rampage a few yrs. back about closing the border and MR. BUSH refused.

CiSCi   April 28th, 2009 8:41 pm ET

This afternoon I received this content in an email, I wonder how true this could be?

Why have we not heard of pigs being killed? many cows were killed when the problem with ‘mad cow disease’!
Why are people only dying in mexico? This is easy:
 Because hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have poor hygiene habits. Water is not always available and when it is it is contaminated.

Why did this swine flu originate in mexico? The answer is because the individuals who pack illegal drugs in plastic packages are to blame.

They are people who do not have good hygiene habits, and probably sick.

They pack with plastic gloves on that have been contaminated by touching there nose or mouth or someone else who is sick.

They pack there own virus into the bags mixed with the product and the virus becomes inactive until a user opens the bag and the virus becomes active when it gets into the air and the mucose passges or breathed into the respiratory vias.

This is the origin of this virus and the reason why people die in mexico. This is the reason why this virus is spreading to all over the world.

Marianne   April 28th, 2009 9:08 pm ET

once again the media has gone overboard...if this much attention was given to the homeless..and malnutrion in children..there would be no homeless and no child would die of hunger..this is a sad state of affairs in this country

Paula in Albuquerque   April 28th, 2009 9:10 pm ET

Could be! Personally, I resent the almost "casual" attitude shown by the President, and Napolitano! What if this was BIO-TERRORISM, brought-in by those who wish to "attack", not with airplanes, but with "germ-warfare"?

JULIE   April 28th, 2009 9:12 pm ET

Everyone I know is talking about swine flu. I remember getting immunized for swine flu back in 1976 when I was in junior high school. The entire community was scared to death and then after I got my shot the talk about swine flu just seemed to fade away. It's been over 30 years since I heard anyone speak of swine flu. Makes me wonder if that is what is happening here.

Paula in Albuquerque   April 28th, 2009 9:26 pm ET

The Mexican border stands undefended, and as easy to access as a 24-hr. Walgreens! Maybe the President will come to his senses, when Sasha and Malia have to be home-schooled, because the atmosphere is so contaminated that they can't leave the White House!

More and more illegal, undocumented people, who enter this country without health-screens mean more potentials for infections of residents of this country. Napolitano keeps referring to those people who pass checkpoints and border-crossings; but she NEVER speaks of those nameless, faceless, people who sneak past border patrols, and scatter to the winds, once they enter the US!

It galls me that the administration never addresses the fact that illegal entry is CRIMINAL! And, since it is CRIMINAL, it should be STOPPED...PERIOD! I consider those who aid and abet CRIME to be COMPLICIT, and, are, therefore, CRIMINALS, themselves...

Either the President follows the oath that he took when inaugurated, or he is derelect in his duty. He swore to "protect, defend, and serve" the United states of America. Instead, he chooses to ignore a HEALTH MENACE, and to funnel manpower and cash to Afghanistan!

Am I missing something, here?

Vicki from NJ   April 28th, 2009 9:28 pm ET

Let's stop calling it the Swine flu. It orginated from and came from Mexico and folks that have been to Mexico are coming back with it so let's call it the Mexican flu as we did back when I had the Hong Kong flu. Remember that flu folks? I almost died from it back in my teens.

sara   April 28th, 2009 9:39 pm ET

President Obama has to clean up the Bush mess. Do you think the Bush Administration should be held legal respondable.

Jon   April 29th, 2009 12:07 am ET

I believe this flu outbreak is the challenge that VP Joe Biden mentioned back in october 2008. Biden said Obama would be challenged within the first 6 months of his term, with a "Generated crisis" and I believe this is Obama's "Katrina".

Shelley, mo   April 29th, 2009 12:10 am ET

I have been sick with the flu for two weeks after a trip to vegas with friends from California who came sick. How do you know if you have the normal flu or the swine flu? The symptons are the same. Should I be paranoid and get tested or ride it out and hope it runs its course?

SamF.   April 29th, 2009 12:12 am ET

If outbreak grows immensely, could it possibly open doors to the idea of Universal Healthcare for U.S.?

Krystal Grace   April 29th, 2009 12:13 am ET

I think this pandemic will challenge obama , whether he will come out on top or bottom is in the bag

Krystal Grace   April 29th, 2009 12:14 am ET

Shelly for the hell of it. I would get tested ! Be safe

Crystal   April 29th, 2009 12:17 am ET

I just wondered because it is being said that this flu is worse for people with strong immune system, should I stop giving my children vitamins?

Purple Spider   April 29th, 2009 12:45 am ET

The Government has their own agenda. The people should take responsiblity to use precautiion against this "flu" and common sense should be used. Don't depend on the Government to solve all problems. Yes, they can suggest to not travel to Mexico at present and they can provide a list of steps for safer contact with others. Many would like the Borders closed, but that can cause an import problem of products used in the USA. But this is not to say that the Government could not enforce strong checkpoints for sickness and control Ilegals at the Border.

Alana K.K. Dittrich   April 29th, 2009 3:59 am ET

Hi Larry,

You have such a wide audience, you could do a great service to the public by telling people that the new health care protocol for reducing virus risk is not to block a cough or sneeze with your hand, as was advised in the past, but instead by lifting and bending your arm and turning your face, so that your sneeze or cough is blocked by the inside of your elbow.

This makes great sense, since then the virus is not on your hand – with which you touch everything and everyone, but on your elbow, which normally doesn’t come into contact with anything – certainly not doorknobs, subway and bus seats, keyboards, etc. This is what we all need to know and to do to help curb the spread of cold and flu viruses of all kinds.

I am a graduate student intern at the Prevention and Wellness Services of the great university from which I graduated, and we are actively promoting this protocol.

Getting the word out on this better way to take personal responsibility for blocking viral transmission would be one of the best public services you could do, especially at this time of fear that we may be on the verge of a terrifying pandemic.

Please – get out the word on this effective new protocol!!!

Thank you!
Alana K. K. Dittrich

Dave of Detroit   April 29th, 2009 9:03 am ET

Reply to CiSCi-Might have something to do with poorly secured Biological Laboratories that sell everything from Anthrax to other bacteria strains to pharmaceutical companies and research facilities.The CDC had to shut down the lab. at Los Alamos for poor Bacteriological Containment but the two Facilities in the heart of Mexico City don't even have locks on cabinents containing soil Anthrax bacteria.
We have been told that this strain was unknown and didn't come from pigs, horses, or humans-pity they didn't tell us if was an engineered strain-that would have been real news!

Linda   April 29th, 2009 10:11 am ET

Hey Larry
That was a great interview with Carl. NASCAR has become my new favorite sport, and Carl is my favorite driver. He has a great attitude

Linda   April 29th, 2009 10:11 am ET

Hey Larry
That was a great interview with Carl. NASCAR has become my new favorite sport, and Carl is my favorite driver. He has a great attitude

Daniel Y Koroma   April 30th, 2009 9:27 pm ET

this swine flu is too much look people dead because of this swine flu and many young children catch swine flu and this swine flu is not good to be spreed and the Mexico border have to be close because will have many women,men,children in U.S.

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