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Despite Mounting Cases, Officials Say Swine Flu Is Waning

The number of cases of swine flu has grown to more than 1,000, spanning 20 countries, although there is some indication the spread of the virus is declining. Betty Ann Bowser provides an update on the situation.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Swine flu continued its creep around the world. The number of cases went to over 1,000, spanning 20 countries, according to the World Health Organization.

    In the United States, the Associated Press calculated nearly 300 cases in 36 states.

    But overall, there was some indication the spread of the flu was on the wane.

    NewsHour health correspondent Betty Ann Bowser has our lead story report.

    BETTY ANN BOWSER, NewsHour correspondent: Even while some health officials were expressing hope that the worst is over, today a number of schools nationwide were not taking any chances. They closed their doors temporarily, hoping to halt the spread of the H1N1 virus.

    Students here at the Excel Academy in Arvada, Colorado, just outside of Denver, are among the 300,000 nationwide who've been told to stay home. Officials made the decision to close the school last week after a student here tested positive for swine flu. The boy had been in Mexico last month and developed symptoms when he returned home.

    But even as some schools close their doors, government officials said they were reconsidering the effectiveness of that strategy.

    But there was a measured return to normalcy at the school in Queens, New York, today, where the largest U.S. outbreak — 45 confirmed cases — had been reported last week. Students at the St. Francis Preparatory Academy headed back to class after a five-day closure.

    BROTHER LEONARD CONWAY, principal, St. Francis Preparatory School: The kids are excited. Everybody's feeling better. We've got to get back on track.

  • MATTHEW SCHULTZ, student:

    It's a little — I'm a little worried about it. Like, everyone got sick and stuff, but it's not a big deal.

  • BETTY ANN BOWSER:

    New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was on hand to welcome the students back. He was cautiously optimistic.

    MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, mayor of New York City: We can't guarantee that there will not be any more H1N1 cases, particularly in the school, but we think that very unlikely, and the important thing now is for the students and staff and for New Yorkers across the city to continue to be calm and confident.

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