"There have been few more dramatic moments at the World Health Organization than the late-night gathering on April 29 when Dr. Margaret Chan, its powerful director general, declared that the human race was in peril. ...
In the days since her announcement, concerns about the swine flu outbreak have eased around the globe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that schools reopen. And coverage of the flu outbreak no longer dominates cable news shows.
But Dr. Chan has yet to relax the alert level of the organization, the public health arm of the United Nations. That is because the warning system is based on how far the virus has spread, not its lethality. While most praise the actions of Dr. Chan and the W.H.O. in the current outbreak, some have said that the organization needs to adjust its warning system to reflect what is known about the severity of the spreading illness."
Gardiner Harris and Lawrence K. Altman report for the New York Times May 9, 2009.