President Obama on Monday used the swine flu outbreak to push his plan for investing more federal funds in science and technology research, but said Americans should not be worried about a possible pandemic.
“This is obviously a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert but this is not a cause for alarm,” the president said during a speech at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington.
He said the government is getting regular updates from the Centers for Disease Control and stressed his team is on the job to make sure “we have the resources we need at our disposal.”
“They know what steps are being taken and what steps they need to take,” he said, adding that his administration will be relying “heavily” on the U.S. scientific and medical community to deal with the problem.
But Mr. Obama said the outbreak reminds the world of the “shared stake in science and research.”
“This is one more example of why we can’t allow our nation to fall behind,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s exactly what has happened.”
Mr. Obama said federal funding has dropped off and the nation’s schools are trailing other developed and “in some cases” developing countries.
He promised to devote more than 3 percent of the gross domestic product to research and development, and to offer “new incentives for innovation.”
He also promoted his own budget proposal, especially the portion dealing with renewable energy.
“Energy is this generation’s great project,” he said. “We can solve this problem.”