You can watch live on channel 21 or online at seattlechannel.org. We’ll summarize afterward but will also add any major toplines here as it happens. City Council President Richard Conlin opened by noting that the World Health Organization has just raised the pandemic-preparedness alert level to 5 on a scale of 6, so the briefing is “timely.” County public-health managers are leading the briefing, same ones who briefed the County Council earlier this week (WSB coverage here).
2:56 PM UPDATE: Briefing’s over. Here are the toplines:
-No local cases, not even any reports of increased absenteeism or severe illness of any kind that might point to something suspicious
-U.S. cases have acted more like typical flu, “on the mild side” (aside from one toddler death reported today)
-Northern Hemisphere less at risk right now than Southern Hemisphere since prime flu-spreading weather is ending here
-King County’s been prepping for a pandemic since 2004; its stockpile of antivirals – with more on the way – eventually will be enough to treat 25% of the county’s population if that many people got sick; would be distributed through pharmacies, clinics, doctors; what’s on hand now should retain its potency through 2013
-If you feel sick, STAY HOME – don’t expose others; face masks, by the way, are mostly good for sick people who can’t stay home trying to minimize spreading their illness to others – might have some protection use – two most important things you can do to keep anything from spreading: Wash your hands, cover your cough
-Symptoms would be sudden onset, high fever, achy joints and muscles, cough
-If you were immunized against swine flu in the ’70s, doesn’t help, this is a different virus
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