WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden says he’s advising his own family to stay off commercial airlines and even subways because of the new swine flu.
Biden said Thursday if one person sneezes on a confined aircraft, “it goes all the way through the aircraft.” Going beyond official advice from the federal government, Biden said of his family’s personal precautions: “That’s me.”
He also advises that malls and classrooms could be dangerous.
UPDATE: All in all, not the VP’s best day. In that Today Show interview (you can see the video here), he also addressed Matt Lauer as “Sam,” confused the Pennsylvania Republican Party with the Democrats and appeared at times to be having trouble staying awake. Meanwhile, Biden’s office attempts to
clean up the mess clarify what he meant to say:
Statement from Vice President Biden’s Spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander:
“On the Today Show this morning the Vice President was asked what he would tell a family member who was considering air travel to Mexico this week. The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the Administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the Vice President has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week. As the President said just last night, every American should take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu: keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you’re sick; and keep your children home from school if they’re sick.”
And the travel industry has this to say — not, of course, to anyone in particular:
Travel Industry Urges Elected Officials to Resist Inflammatory Comments on Swine Flu
Washington, DC – Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, today released the following statement regarding recent comments that might discourage Americans from using public transportation or commercial aviation during the ongoing spread of swine flu:
“Americans should heed the advice of medical experts when determining how best to manage health concerns during the ongoing swine flu outbreak. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and countless other experts, swine flu should not discourage people from traveling to or within the United States.
“Elected officials must strike a delicate balance of accurately and adequately informing citizens of health concerns without unduly discouraging travel and other important economic activity.
“According to President Obama, swine flu is a cause for concern, but not panic. President Obama’s measured and responsible comments are appropriate and should provide useful guidance to other elected officials.”