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Admit it: You wrote off swine flu months ago, chalking it up to a passing fad that served as the perfect story for cable news outlets to obsess about day after day. And who could blame you? It started with such promise this spring, but then summer came and the epidemic—which clearly lost a little of its brand luster when it changed its name to a confusing mix of letters and numbers—couldn't get media attention if its life (or the lives of others, rather!) depended on it. All that is about to change, though. Just like Fashion Week, swine flu will be making its triumphant return to NYC this fall. And it's going to be bigger than ever.

At least that's what Dr. Harold Varmus says, one of President Obama's top experts on these matters and the former head of Memorial Sloan-Kettering:

"This flu could be extremely dangerous," said Dr. Harold Varmus co-chairman of the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. "It needs to be taken seriously."

Varmus is co-author of a stunning report delivered Monday to the White House that says 90,000 Americans could die of swine flu in the coming months.

But, wait: What about that new vaccine for swine flu?

There are still a lot of unknowns, Varmus admits: The new swine flu vaccine won't fully be ready until the virus is well underway. There's no guarantee it will even work. Experts are not even sure whether it will have to be given in one or two doses.

One thing that is known: The chances of Duane Reade still having face masks in stock come October is slim to none, so if you don't mind we're going to head over there now and stock up.

Swine flu is real and vaccine is not ready [NYDN]