Reuters
October 24, 2009

[efoods]U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring 2009 H1N1 swine flu a national emergency, the White House said Saturday.

The proclamation, which Obama signed Friday night, will make it easier for U.S. medical facilities to handle a surge in flu patients by allowing the waiver of some requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs as needed, the White House said in a statement.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that H1N1 swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected.

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