President Obama Declared National Emergency 11 Days After Diagnosis of First Case in United States

A look back at the National Emergency of the past in the US.Question: How long did it take for President Obama to declare a national emergency for H1N1 following the first diagnosis of a case inside of the United States?

Answer: 11 days.


A popular graphic that has been circulating the Internet recently claims that President Obama delayed declaring a national emergency due to H1N1 (swine flu), ultimately costing 10s of thousands of lives.

Let's break down the timeline for H1N1 and President Obama's actions.

The earliest known case of H1N1 was traced to a 5 year-old boy in La Gloria, Mexico on March 17th, 2009. Source: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, University of Minnesota

The first US case of H1N1 was traced to a 9 year-old girl in Imperial County, California, who first became ill on March 28th, 2009.

The second US case of H1N1 was traced to a 10 year-old boy in San Diego County, who first became ill on March 30th, 2009. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

On April 15th and April 17th, respectively, these two illnesses were confirmed to be the H1N1 virus.

On April 21st, 2009, the CDC sent out a bulletin, confirming the two diagnosed cases of H1N1. On the same day, the CDC began work on a candidate vaccine virus.

On April 22nd, 2009, the CDC activated its EOC (Emergency Operations Center).

On April 26th, 2009, the United States government declared that H1N1 was a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern". This was 11 days after the first diagnosis of H1N1 in the United States.

On April 28th, 2009, the FDA approved a new CDC test to detect infections, and the CDC issued guidance on school closures.

Sources: - 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Timeline

On April 29th, 2009, President Obama addressed the nation re: swine flu:


There is one other point that needs clarification.

There are articles that state that President Obama waited until the WHO (World Health Organization) had declared a pandemic before declaring a state of emergency.

This is false.

Here is the timeline:

April 26th, 2009 - The United States declares a national emergency

April 27th, 2009 - WHO raises the influenza pandemic alert from Phase 3 to Phase 4 Source: World Health Organization

April 29th, 2009 - WHO raises the influenza pandemic alert from Phase 4 to Phase 5 (pandemic imminent) Source: World Health Organization


The first death inside of the United States took place on April 27th, 2009 - one day after a national emergency was declared in the United States. Source:

The first death of a US citizen took place on May 5th, 2009 - over a week after a national emergency was declared in the United States.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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