By Lester Holt, NBC News anchor
The government's decision to declare the H1N1 flu outbreak an "emergency" is meant to break through some of the usual bureaucratic red tape that could hinder the ability of hospitals to respond to a big surge of flu patients.
Unfortunately it does nothing to speed up the flow of flu vaccine, which so far, is available in far fewer doses than was originally promised. While the production back log is expected to be fixed soon, the health care system is racing against a clock it can't see. Meaning experts can't say when the outbreak will peak, and when or whether the virus will mutate. On Nightly News this evening we'll have a lot more on what this emergency declaration means and when the flow of vaccine will increase.