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Proud of City’s Response

Now that the worst appears to be over, the city and nation will assess the response to the swine flu outbreak. Fresh Meadows, Queens and St. Francis Preparatory School, with 74 students reportedly infected, was ground zero for the swine flu in the United States.

The St. Francis administration and city Health Department can be proud of the way they responded to the crisis.

There was no way to know when the school closed its doors that the flu virus strain found in New York would be more mild than the swine flu that devastated Mexico. It appears the worst is over in the United States. Only two people died from the virus in the States and they were already in weakened conditions when the virus struck.

The Health Department worked to contain the epidemic and head off a possible panic. The thoroughness of their response should not be taken for granted.

We wonder how it was possible for John Choe, chief of staff for Councilman John Liu, to fault the city’s effort. Choe was concerned that at the epidemic’s onset, the Health Department did not have information available in Mandarin and Korean.

The agency was dealing with a potential pandemic. Despite what Choe suggests, there were many ways for non−English−speaking parents to get accurate information about the flu, including foreign language newspapers and television, doctors, pharmacists and community centers. They could also have asked their children to translate the information from English.

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