An assistant principal at a New York City public school died of complications from swine flu in an intensive care unit of a Queens hospital on Sunday night, the first death in New York State of the flu strain that has swept across much of the world since it was first identified in April.
Hours before the death of the assistant principal, Mitchell Wiener, city officials announced that five more Queens schools had closed.
On Friday, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, head of flu epidemiology for the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there had been 173 hospitalizations and 5 deaths reported to the agency. But he emphasized that most cases in the United States — possibly “upwards of 100,000” — were mild.
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In Japan, the number of swine flu cases soared over the weekend, and authorities closed more than 1,000 schools and kindergartens .
Mr. Wiener’s death, which came five days after he entered the hospital and three days after his school, Intermediate School 238 in Hollis, Queens, was shut down by health officials, raised the level of concern among the public, especially parents, but health officials played down the significance of the death to public policy.