On the Today show this morning, Matt Lauer asked vice-president Joe Biden about what he would personally advise friends and family regarding swine-flu precautions. “I would tell members of my family, and I have, I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now,” he said. “In a confined airplane when one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft. That’s me.” Biden also added that he would advise against taking the subway. This goes well beyond the precautions urged by the federal government and the World Health Organization. If it sent you into a panic when you heard it this morning, don’t worry; it sent his staff into a panic, too. They rushed out a statement “clarifying” his remarks shortly after. “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,” said a spokeswoman. “If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways.” See, now that’s sound, reasonable advice. It’s just not what Biden was trying to say.
Update: At his daily swine-flu press conference, Mayor Bloomberg insisted that he will continue the ride the subway and that “the bottom line is I feel perfectly safe on the subway.”