White House says Biden briefed on bird flu, risk to humans ‘low’

President Joe Biden has been briefed on bird flu, the White House confirmed on Wednesday, stressing that the health risk to the public is low and that several government agencies are looking into the situation.

“One of the most important things for this administration is the health and safety of the American public,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “We take that very seriously. That’s how we are going to operate, that is the No. 1 thing here.”

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies are investigating, she added, citing the agency’s determination that “the risk to human health from this outbreak is low.”

Public health officials are on high alert following the second-ever human infection of the H1N1 strain of bird flu, but there are also concerns over the impact of transmission in animals.

“The nation’s largest producer of eggs has temporarily stopped production at plants in Texas and Michigan because some chickens have tested positive,” a reporter said during Wednesday’s White House press briefing. “Are there concerns about supply chain issues and price increases, and is there something the administration can be doing or should be doing right now to limit the potential impact on economic activity?”

Jean-Pierre said the economic impact is something the White House will “closely monitor.”

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“We are going to closely track that, closely monitor that as it relates to that particular company,” she said. “We are always going to monitor the economic impacts of any big changes like that.”

Eggs that are properly handled and cooked are safe to eat, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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