National Emergencies

TIME takes a look at previous national emergencies and how they compare to Obama's official H1N1 declaration

Ross D. Franklin / AP

A licensed practical nurse, left, gives a swine-flu vaccine to a patient at Bashas' grocery store in Phoenix

President Obama's Oct. 24 decision to officially declare the H1N1 swine-flu virus a national emergency came with a speedy caveat: Don't panic. The declaration was just a formality, the White House explained, a way to allow hospitals to circumvent unnecessary restrictions in order to bring about quicker, more effective swine-flu treatment. Yes, H1N1 cases are on the rise — 46 of the 50 states are experiencing widespread influenza activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — but it's hardly a horrific doomsday scenario and nothing like the movie Outbreak. And yet it's still an...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!