LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Millions of Americans have been sickened with swine flu since the outbreak began in the spring and more people are coming down with the bug every day. Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new figures on the pandemic sweeping the country.
46 states, including Louisiana, now have widespread swine flu outbreaks. The number of visits to doctors and hospitals for flu symptoms continues to skyrocket. Last week alone, more than 2,500 people were hospitalized in the U.S. with H1N1 and 90 died, 11 of them children. Dr. Thomas Frieden with the CDC says, "To be basically in the peak of flu season in October is extremely unusual."
Health officials agree, the best way of shutting down the pandemic is the vaccine. In July, the federal government predicted there would be 100 million doses of vaccine against the virus by now. As of today, 11.6 million have become available.
Officials apologize to the people wanting vaccines, who can't get them. "We're nowhere near where we thought we'd be by now," says Dr. Frieden, "we're not near where the vaccine manufacturers predicted we would be."
In a race between the vaccine and a virus - the virus is winning for now. As of this afternoon, there are close to 1,700 confirmed H1N1 cases in Louisiana and 24 related deaths.