Biden: Stay Off Subways During Swine Flu Panic

World Health body raises alert to level 5, one notch short of full pandemic

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“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be faminesStrongs 3042:limos, lee-mos´; probably from 3007 (through the idea of destitution); a scarcity of food:—dearth, famine, hunger., and pestilencesStrongs 3061: loimos, loy´-mos; of uncertain affinity; a plague (literally, the disease, or figuratively, a pest):—pestilence(-t), and earthquakes, in divers places.”
—Matthew 24:7

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Vice president Joe Biden said today he would tell his family members not to use subways in the U.S. and implied schools should be shuttered as the swine flu outbreak spread to 11 states and forced school closures amid confirmation of the first U.S. death.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” Biden said when asked whether he would advise family members to use public transportation.
Biden made his comments during a brief interview on NBC’s “Today” show during an interview with Matt Lauer.
“I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now. It’s not that it’s going to Mexico, it’s you’re in a confined aircraft when one person sneezes it goes all the way through the aircraft. That’s me. I would not be, at this point, if they had another way of transportation suggesting they ride the subway. ”
The vice president also implied that schools should be closed as the threat of swine flu increases.
“If you’re out in the middle of a field and someone sneezes that’s one thing. If you’re in a closed aircraft or a closed container or closed car or closed classroom it’s a different thing.”
About two hours after the interview, Biden’s office issued a statement attempting to clarify the vice president’s remarks.
“The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the administration is giving all Americans: That they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the vice president has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week,” Biden’s spokeswoman, Elizabeth Alexander, said in a statement.
“Today” show co-host Meredith Vieira and NBC’s Chuck Todd discussed Biden’s statement after he made the remarks, wondering if the vice president really had intended to caution the American public to stay off public transportation and airplanes. They noted his comments seemed to contradict public statements by other high-ranked White House officials.
The White House is concerned the vice president’s remarks create a panic that causes people to avoid public transportation, Todd later reported.
American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith didn’t comment directly on Biden’s interview but told the Associated Press that advising people not to fly is “fear mongering.”
“To suggest that people not fly at this stage of things is a broad brush stroke bordering on fear mongering,” Smith said. “The facts of the situation at this stage anyway certainly don’t support that.”

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