WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden says he's advising his own family to avoid "confined places" -- to stay off commercial airlines and even subways -- because of the new swine flu.
Biden said Thursday if one person sneezes on a confined aircraft, "it goes all the way through the aircraft." Going beyond official advice from the federal government, Biden said of his family's personal precautions: "That's me."
Asked on NBC's "Today" show whether the government should close the border with Mexico to try to slow the spread of the flu, Biden says health authorities advise that would be impractical because the swine flu has already spread to the U.S. and several other nations. Instead, he says people should focus on confined places where the flu could spread quickly, such as airplanes, malls and classrooms.
Biden spokesperson Elizabeth Alexander released a statement shortly after the appearance, clarifying his remarks:
"On the Today Show this morning the Vice President was asked what he would tell a family member who was considering air travel to Mexico this week. The advice he is giving family members is the same advice the Administration is giving to all Americans: that they should avoid unnecessary air travel to and from Mexico. If they are sick, they should avoid airplanes and other confined public spaces, such as subways. This is the advice the Vice President has given family members who are traveling by commercial airline this week. As the President said just last night, every American should take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu: keep your hands washed; cover your mouth when you cough; stay home from work if you're sick; and keep your children home from school if they're sick."