News / USA

Boston Reels Under Flu Outbreak

Boston Reels Under Flu Outbreaki
X
January 12, 2013 6:40 PM
With flu cases spiking in the U.S. city of Boston, the mayor has taken an unusual step. He has declared a public health emergency and is urging people to get vaccinated. While not everyone believes there is a crisis, the declaration is making many Bostonians take action. VOA's Steve Baragona has more.
With flu cases spiking in the U.S. city of Boston, the mayor has taken an unusual step. He has declared a public health emergency and is urging people to get vaccinated. While not everyone believes there is a crisis, the declaration is making many Bostonians take action.

Hand washing is a big deal at the Tufts Medical Center emergency room. Nurse Sandy Gibbons said they've seen a surge of flu patients in the last couple weeks .

“And it came on very fast. That's what we've noticed. It went from being a trickle to inundated within a matter of two to three days,” said Gibbons.

Hospitals are inundated across Boston. Influenza cases are up more than 10-fold from last year's mild season. And that's a challenge for hospitals that already are nearly full,  said Dr. David Hooper at Massachusetts General Hospital.

“The surge in influenza patients since early December has really added a lot more pressure on managing beds and making sure everyone gets the care they need,” he said.

But while 47 of the 50 U.S. states are reporting widespread flu activity, the response from Boston Mayor Thomas Menino is so far unique.

“Today [January 9] I am declaring a public health emergency in the city of Boston,” said Menino.

The city is offering free flu shots at clinics across the city and urging everyone to get vaccinated.

The emergency declaration is a welcome but unexpected move, said Hooper.  

“Some would call it an emergency, some would call it a challenging year that we've got to step to the next level on,” he said.

City officials say the point is to raise the urgency level for people to get vaccinated. Early figures show that only about 35 percent had received flu shots as of November.

The mayor's announcement got Leona Hampton's attention.

“I got really nervous. My doctors had talked to me previously about getting the flu shot, but I was a little leery, like, 'Oh, I never get the flu.' But I need to change my thinking,” she said.

Changing people's thinking is not easy. Dental student McKenna Cox is recovering from the flu. She did not get vaccinated, and she does not plan to next year, because, like many people, she said it's not that big a deal.

“I think it's kind of crazy, the whole manic panic about the whole thing. I mean, this is New England in the winter. People get sick,” she said.

But as they struggle to find empty beds in Boston's emergency rooms, doctors disagree.

You May Like

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid