The warm reception at the National Academy of Sciences was also a coming-out party for President Barack Obama, cementing his reputation as a virtual rock star among U.S. scientists. His substantial but not particularly newsy remarks were probably a little less than the Gospel from on high, but the crowd lapped it up. All the clamor—a crowd of nearly 1000, scientists arriving at 6 a.m. for the 9 a.m.
Breaking news and analysis from the world of science policy
The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to raise the pandemic threat level of the current swine flu outbreak within an hour.
The Geneva-based organization planned to convene its Emergency Committee, called under the rules of the International Health Regulations, on Tuesday to reevaluate the threat level but bumped it up 1 day.
From the White House:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 27, 2009
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
National Academy of Sciences
April 27, 2009
From the White House pool report of traveling reporters who shadow the president:
From the White House press release; our analysis coming soon.
FACT SHEET: A HISTORIC COMMITMENT TO RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
Today, President Obama will speak before the Annual Meeting of the National Academy of Sciences, and discuss his plans to reinvigorate the American scientific enterprise through a bold commitment to basic and applied research, innovation, and education.
"The President of the United States is in the building," said Ralph Cicerone this morning at the academy as thousands of scientists filled the hallways, member center, great hall, auditorium, and offices.
Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) says giving the U.S. National Institutes of Health billions more dollars isn't enough to bolster biomedical research. On Saturday at a clinical research meeting in Chicago, he proposed a new independent agency to move bench discoveries to the bedside. And he wants your money to help him keep his seat.
Although the spread of swine flu appears to be accelerating—and the virus is beginning to dominate global headlines—the World Health Organization (WHO) stopped short of ratcheting up the pandemic alert level this weekend, although it may do so on Monday or Tuesday. The Obama Administration has declared the swine flu threat a public health emergency, however, and many countries have begun putting in place measures to stop the virus.
Infectious disease specialist Edwin D. Kilbourne, now 88 and retired, was at the center of the last swine flu scare in the U.S. In 1976, a swine flu strain swept through Fort Dix, a military base in New Jersey. The virus infected about 500 soldiers, though not all got sick; one died.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today that it has not found any new cases of swine flu in the country other than the eight identified earlier. As of yesterday evening, Mexico reported it had 1004 suspected cases and 68 deaths (20 of which had been confirmed).