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"Homeland Security: No Orders to Border, Airport Agents Forbidding Surgical Masks

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Shaking my head about this.  Seems proper preventive protocol should be followed with such an unknown factor. 
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"Homeland Security: No Orders to Border, Airport Agents Forbidding Surgical Masks

A homeland security spokeswoman said border agents and airport workers have not been told they cannot cover their faces to protect themselves from swine flu.

FOXNews.com  Thursday, April 30, 2009

"The Department of Homeland Security said Thursday it has not told agents at U.S. airports and border checkpoints that they cannot wear masks to protect from exposure to swine flu.

"The Department of Homeland Security has not issued an order saying our employees cannot wear masks. The health of our employees is of utmost importance to us. And today we are issuing department-wide guidance to our workforce," DHS spokeswoman Sara Kuban told FOX News.

Kuban was responding to a claim made Thursday that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security issued a guideline banning masks because they look too intimidating.

Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., told FOX News that it's absurd to say border agents and airport workers don't need protections.when President Obama and other agencies are suggesting Americans take precautions to protect themselves from others.

"For somebody sitting in D.C., who won't even allow their family to fly, and then to sit there and say, donâ€TMt put on the masks until you know someone is sick is absolutely absurd. And it shows that Washington doesnâ€TMt understand the procedures or the conditions along the border," Bilbray said. "Washington ought to wake up."

While Kuban said no one has been ordered not to wear masks, a different administration official said earlier that agents at the U.S. border and at airports have been told not to wear surgical masks until they are needed.

The official said the "science indicates" no need for the masks at this time.

"Masks should be used in high-risk situations, such as when an employee comes into contact with a person or traveler who appears to be ill," the official said..

"If an employee at (an airport) or (on the border) comes into contact with someone who appears to be ill, it is strongly recommended and encouraged that both of them put on masks and gloves immediately," the official continued, adding that "the safety of employees is of the utmost importance."

Asked why an agent shouldn't be allowed to wear a mask if it makes him or her more comfortable and doesn't affect performance, the official said only that "science indicates" masks are not needed now.

FOX News' Mike Levine and Erin Vogel contributed to this report."

 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/04/30/border-agents-airport-workers-told-wear-surgical-masks/

Entry #1,128

Comments

1.
Comment by jim695 - May 1, 2009, 4:06 am
At last report, less than 200 people had died of this latest strain, so I'm not sure if this even qualifies as a legitimate outbreak, let alone a "pandemic," as the media and WHO would have us believe. I realize there are more people who are ill with the virus who haven't died, but Merriam-Webster defines "Pandemic" as, "Occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population." If you listen to the media, we're already there but, according to the WHO's own map, comparatively few have actually been infected, so how, exactly, can this be called a pandemic?

     The word of the day seems to be "overkill;" strains of the influenza virus for which available vaccines currently exist claim over 30,000 lives every year. Yet every news station on the air seems adamant to ignore those statistics, favoring instead to frighten the masses by keeping their microscopes focused sharply on the h1N1 strain and crying, "The sky is falling, The sky is falling!"

     If you want to protect yourself, remember what your mother taught you (I hope); cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands with soap several times a day and don't kiss people who are already sick. I admit that covering your mouth when you cough won't keep you from becoming ill, but it's a practice which isn't very common these days, so I threw it in for good measure.

     If you're already sick, stay home; don't go to school or to work and infect your fellow students or all of your coworkers. Avoid trains, planes and other confined public spaces until you're no longer infectious. Oh, yeah; and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze to give those around you a fighting chance to avoid getting sick.

     My brother developed a very annoying habit of calling us when he had the flu, just to let us know how sick he was and that he wouldn't be coming over. But then he'd show up at the front door within the hour, citing some unforseen pretext which made his personal appearance necessary. He'd hang around for ten minutes or so before complaining that he needed to go home and lie down, and we'd wake up the next morning with the flu. I finally wised up and stopped opening the door for him, and he suddenly stopped visiting when he was sick, perferring to recuperate at home instead of making a trip to the hospital to have his broken nose reset (that only happened once; I'm not entirely unsympathetic).

     Personally, I'm not buying into the media's hype on this issue, but I have no doubt that the general population is terrified that this tiny virus is coming to get them in the night, hiding under their beds and waiting to grab their ankles the moment they get up to go to the bathroom. If we still had children in the house, however, I might reconsider. All of this doom and gloom 24/7 must be especially hard for parents who don't know what they can do to keep their kids safe.

     Jim
2.
konaneComment by konane - May 1, 2009, 8:40 am
Thanks much Jim!!! Funny about your brother, however many people love to "share the joy" when it comes to colds and flu.

My guess and guess alone is the weakest among us including people who are depressed for whatever reason are the most susceptible. It's always been that way for communicable whatever.

Used to when people had no other choice they'd take care of themselves knowing if they didn't they might not survive. With the advent of antibiotics too much reliance on medical miracle cures has been a poor substitute for common sense sleep and good diet.

Agree with your comments about kids .... if little ones were still in the nest then concern would be tremendously accelerated.

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