Here are the big stories on the agenda today:
- We may be entering a dangerous new phase in the swine flu outbreak this morning. The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert level from four to five, warning of widespread human infection from the swine flu outbreak that originated in Mexico. That’s one level away from an “all-out pandemic.” More public schools are shutting their doors in the U.S. All 140 schools in Fort Worth, Texas are closed today and may not reopen for weeks. Researchers are baffled by the way the virus is jumping relatively easy from person to person, and by how it’s affecting the young and relatively healthy. Still, health officials say there are no plans to close the border. President Obama last night, saying that’s akin to closing the barn doors after the horse is out. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is live in Mexico City for us this morning – ground zero for an epidemic that has now spread to four continents. We’re also getting updates on numbers and the effort to stop it, from the acting CDC Head, Dr. Richard Besser. He confirmed the first death in the U.S. due to swine flu Wednesday morning on our air.
- The next 1,361 days. Two wars, an economy in crisis and now a deadly flu outbreak on his plate, as the President assessed his first 100 days in office. The president said he's been "sobered by the fact that change in Washington comes slow,” but thinks the administration has taken steps to restore confidence in the American people.
- Money and Main Street: Family Fight. Losing a job can be a financial disaster for any family, but in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, where nearly one-in-seven workers is unemployed, such tragedies are common, as textile and furniture manufacturers pack up and leave. It’s a story that truly shows how the branches of the housing crisis have shot through the windows of almost every industry, and affected almost every average American. CNN’s Gerri Willis meets one family, determined to cope.