For better or for worse, there has been a small, unconscious comfort in the fact that the spreading swine-flu epidemic has been notably non-lethal here in the United States. Until today, doctors were scratching their heads over why it killed over 100 people in Mexico and none here. But now that unseen seal has been broken, with the death of a 23-month-old child in Texas. As government leaders around the world begin canceling flights to and from Mexico, and the government down there continues to shut down schools, restaurants, and movie theaters, the number of sick Americans slowly creeps up. According to the Times:
The number of confirmed swine flu cases in the United States rose Wednesday to 66 in six states, with 45 in New York, 11 in California, six in Texas, two in Kansas and one each in Indiana and Ohio, but cities and states suspected more. In New York, the city’s health commissioner said "many hundreds" of schoolchildren were ill at a school where some students had confirmed cases.
According to the World Health Organization, outside of Mexico, just over 50 percent of all confirmed swine-flu cases worldwide are in the United States.
First U.S. Death From Swine Flu Is Reported [NYT]
UPDATE: As additional information was released, it became known that the toddler who died in Texas was not American, but in fact Mexican. So no Americans have yet been killed by swine flu, but at least one person has been killed in America, a point that journalists (including us) are having to awkwardly delineate after this morning's wave of stories.