Swine Flu Kills 2, Maybe, in NY; "Underlying" Factors Again Cited; Mets Deny Infection

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The Department of Health says two more New Yorkers may have died from swine flu. As usual, they're being tight with info, telling Reuters the unnamed victims "were in the 25-64 age range." Fox News, with its more aggressive reporters, nails that down to "mid-40s," but as with most of the local swine flu related fatalities -- which now number seven -- that's all we know about it. When they do deign to tell us more, though, we expect to hear about "underlying" conditions again -- that's the theme on the DOH's release today, which says that more than 80 percent of citizens whom the flu has sent to the hospital had "underlying risk factors." The most common of these, affecting about half the underlyers, is asthma. Other RFs include "being less than 2 years of age... having a compromised immune system... having heart disease... or being pregnant."

Meanwhile swine flu is said to also be killing the New York Mets -- not literally, though in their case... no, we won't say it. The rumor that was playfully spreading a few days ago has become a full-blown Thing: the Mets have been forced to deny that Carlos Betran and John Maine (pictured) have it, though both are undoubtedly sick with something (Maine had to leave the mound with stomach pains the other day -- but still got the decision! -- and Beltran is day-to-day). A SNY-TV producer who got ill on a Mets road trip is being tested for the disease and the team is monitoring the situation. We'd say it's time to PANIC, but with the Mets it's always that time.

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