The NYC Health Department announced that the baby who died at Elmhurst Hospital Center Monday night did not have swine flu. According to the Daily News, "tests on nasal swabs taken from 16-month-old Jonathan Zamora... showed no signs of the H1N1 virus. But because a fatality was involved, 'It is necessary to take extra steps to get definitive results,' the Health Department said in a statement." The CDC will be examining specimens from the autopsy. The baby's father Zeferino Zamaro, who said his son simply became very weak and extremely feverish, told the News, "People should not panic. It's not what people think."
Mayor Bloomberg said of Jonathan Zamora's death, "What we do know is that a child is dead, and it is very tragic, regardless of what caused it." The city moved to close three additional public schools— P.S. 35 in Hollis, Queens (32 students were ill with "influenza-like illness"), Merrick Academy Charter School in Jamaica, Queens (19 students ill), and P.S. 130 in lower Manhattan (76 students ill; P.S. 130 is also the first public school in Manhattan to close). A total of 21 public schools are currently closed—here's the list—and other private schools, like Horace Mann in the Bronx, have decided to voluntarily close.
The NY Times examines the Mayor's handling of the situation: While a Harvard Medical School professor finds his administration's approach "had dovetailed precisely with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention," the Times points out, "it has also shown the weakness of Mr. Bloomberg’s 'Father Knows Best' approach." For instance, when Mayor Bloomberg reminds people not to panic, that the seasonal flu kills 1,000 every year, and says things like, "You’ve got to remember, we’re talking about 4,500 students here in a city of 8.4 million," after three schools were closed, parents get upset. One mother whose son had a 102-degree fever said the mayor "comes off as a little cold, mostly because they’re not even testing any of these kids anymore... It’s almost like he’s dismissing the future of the world."
Nerves are running high at schools—a Brooklyn principal wore a face mask to school, upsetting students. A teacher told the News, "The kids were already in a panic because more teachers than usual were out. And when they saw the principal, they went crazy." Still, one Horace Mann parent was surprised at the fuss, saying the posh private school only closed due to legal liability.