Yesterday, I joined Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Education Secretary Arne Duncan in hosting the first-ever H1N1 Flu Summit at the National Institutes of Health. This summit brought together leaders from across government—federal, state, and local—and the public health community to continue our ongoing preparations and response to the H1N1 pandemic.
Experts say that the virus may return in a more virulent strain during this fall’s flu season. This isn’t a cause for panic; rather, it’s a chance to reinvigorate our preparedness efforts across the country.
The most critical steps to containing this virus won’t take place in Washington, they’ll take place in homes, schools, communities and businesses across the country.
Families should consider how they would take care of children if schools close. Businesses should have plans for employees to work from home if needed. State, local, and tribal governments and community organizations should have procedures in place to deal with a future outbreak.
I encourage everyone to visit www.flu.gov to learn more about the steps you can take and make sure you have the most accurate, up-to-date information.
Here at the Department of Homeland Security, we continue to work with President Obama, Congress, governors, mayors, state and local health departments, school districts, private sector partners and other federal agencies to develop a nation-wide plan that incorporates the lessons we learned this spring to prepare for the fall flu season.
H1N1 may return this fall, but with your help, we are doing everything possible to keep the country safe and healthy. Thank you for doing your part.