The news out of Mexico appeared brighter. Late Thursday, Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said the number of new swine flu cases seemed to be leveling off.
"The fact that we have a stabilization in the daily numbers, even a drop, makes us optimistic," Cordova said at a news conference. "Because what we'd expect is geometric or exponential growth. And that hasn't been the situation."
Still, Mexico braced for a shutdown of all non-essential services, including all schools, through Tuesday as authorities sought to limit further infections in that country, where the virus is suspected of causing 168 deaths so far.
In the United States, there are 50 confirmed cases in New York, 28 in Texas, 13 in California, 16 in South Carolina, 5 in New Jersey, 4 each in Arizona and Delaware, 3 each in Illinois and Indiana, two each in Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia, and a case each in Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, and Ohio.
On Monday, a 23-month-old Mexican boy who had traveled to Houston for medical treatment died, becoming the first -- and so far, only -- fatality in the United States.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser said that while most cases appear to be mild, "six of the cases have been hospitalized, including the unfortunate case we reported yesterday of the child in Texas who passed away."
And scientists were racing to produce a vaccine against the new flu strain, but the shots -- if needed at all -- wouldn't be available until fall at the earliest, U.S. health officials said Thursday.
"We think 600 million doses is achievable in a six-month time frame" from that fall start, Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Craig Vanderwagen told lawmakers.
On Friday, U.S. h
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