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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid