NEWS

Swine Flu Infections Rise to 245; U.S. in "Upswing," CDC Says

By Matthew Harwood

The total number of people with confirmed swine flu infections climbed to 245 yesterday in 35 states as laboratories caught up on a backlog of lab tests, the Associated Press reports.

The new count reflects streamlining in federal procedures and the results of tests by states, which have only recently begun confirming cases, said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Because states are now contributing their results, and because there are many cases to analyze, "I expect the numbers to jump quite a bit in the next couple days," she told reporters Sunday.

Beyond eating into the backlog, the new number also reflects that "we do think this virus is fairly widespread," she said.

Schuchat also said that she expects the number of infections to keep increasing, telling the AP that "We believe we are just in the upswing here." The CDC believes that swine flu is now circulating throughout the entire country.

On the Sunday talk show circuit, homeland security chief Janet Napolitano defended the Obama administration's decision not to close the U.S. border with Mexico, Politico reports.

"The epidemiologists say, the scientists say it would have done no good at all and come at enormous costs, so we focused our efforts on things that would do some good," she said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Economic concerns also motivated the government's decision not to push for the close of businesses across the country unlike schools.

"We don’t want to shut down the production capacity of the private sector," Napolitano said.

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