On Monday, federal health officials said that much of the recent bump upward in cases was due to health workers catching up on a backlog of lab tests, and not a sudden rise in new infections.
Still, "we are continuing to see virus transmission and expect to continue to see virus transmission both around the United States and around the globe," Besser said. "We would expect to see cases in all states over time, and we will see more hospitalizations and it is likely we will see additional deaths."
However, a closer look at the flu in Mexico -- believed to be the source of the outbreak -- has revealed that it is really not very different from the flu seen in the United States, Besser said. "We are seeing more cases in Mexico of the milder disease," he said.
At another press conference on Monday, Besser told reporters that "we are not out of the woods," but he added that "we are seeing a lot of encouraging signs."
Among the encouraging signs: "So far the severity of illness we are seeing in this country is very similar to what we see with seasonal flu," Besser said. "And that's encouraging information."
In addition, some of the initial lab tests are heartening, Besser said. "The lack of some of the factors that have been associated with more severe disease in previous pandemics, we are not seeing those," he said.
Testing for the virus is also becoming faster, Besser said. "We have distributed test kits to every state and this will allow for more rapid diagnosis at the state level," he said.
And, he added: "The situation in Mexico is encouraging. It appears that things are leveling off in Mexico."
In fact, the Mexican government on Tuesday announced moves to revive an economy that had been leveled by the swine flu outbreak. According to the Associated Press, while annual Cinco de Mayo festivities were more or less canceled this year,
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