by April Fulton
Reports of an imminent swine flu pandemic declaration have reached pandemic levels. We mean it this time -- WHO might pull the trigger today due to the spike in cases in Australia.
NPR's Richard Knox reports that it's getting harder for officials to deny that H1N1 is a full-blown pandemic.
Yesterday, WHO's Keiji Fukuda said the official declaration was getting closer:
If the highest WHO threat level is reached, it triggers all kinds of emergency plans, release of medical supplies and funds to combat the virus.
So what's holding up an acknowledgement the emperor isn't wearing any clothes?
It's all about getting countries to calm down and hold back from imposing quarantines on every airline passenger who has the sniffles. Or slaughtering all the pigs.
It might be just a tad late for that in China and Egypt.
Tobacco Bill Moves In Senate
It's never too late to try to stop kids from smoking. That's the message of supporters working toward passage of a tobacco bill that would give FDA new authorities over cigarette ingredients and marketing.
Lending an air of inevitability, the L.A. Times editorializes that the bill isn't perfect, "no cigarette bill that tobacco giant Philip Morris helped design, as it did this one, was going to be appropriately restrictive."
But "with 443,000 deaths a year linked to tobacco use in the United States, along with $100 billion in healthcare costs, the country can't afford to wait any longer."
NPR's Joanne Silberner has more on what the new powers could mean to the agency later today.
Health Overhaul Details Trickling Out
And, as NPR's Julie Rovner reports on Morning Edition today, just because House Democrats outlined a health overhaul bill yesterday, it doesn't mean all the details are worked out about how the nation will improve access to health care for all and how we'll pay for it.
Political and financial hurdles abound, says the Washington Post.
The L.A. Times offers a good rundown of what a health care overhaul bill may mean to average Americans, and predicts that everyone will be affected in some way.
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