The Campaign Spot

Now He Tells Us: ‘We Have to Rethink the Way We Address Ebola Infection Control.’

From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

Oh Look, the Official Statements About Ebola Are Subtly Shifting.


“We have to rethink the way we address Ebola infection control, because even a single infection is unacceptable,” Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a news conference.

Frieden did not detail precisely how the extensive, government-issued safety protocols in place at many facilities might need to change or in what ways hospitals need to ramp up training for front-line doctors or nurses . . . 

Officials have said Pham wore protective gear, including a gown, gloves, a mask and a face shield, while caring for Duncan on multiple occasions. But Ebola can easily infect those who come into contact with the bodily fluids of Ebola patients, and the smallest slip in putting on or taking off protective gear can open the door to the virus.

“We need to consider the possibility that there could be additional cases, particularly among the health-care workers who cared for [Duncan] when he was so ill,” Frieden said. “We would not be surprised if we did see additional cases.”

Hey, remember when our government was all gung-ho, assuring us they were going to “stop it in its tracks”? The same guy, nine days ago:

Health officials stressed that they are confident they can control this situation and keep the virus from spreading in the U.S.

“We’re stopping it in its tracks in this country,” Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, declared during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

See if you can spot the unnerving detail in our new airport screening policy:

JFK airport is the first U.S. airport to begin screenings for Ebola. Washington Dulles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will begin screenings this week.

Those five airports account for 94% of all the 150 travelers who on average arrive daily from those most affected countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over the past 12 months, JFK received about half the passengers from those countries entering into the U.S., according to the CDC.

So what about that other 6 percent? Are we just hoping that no one in that remaining 6 percent has Ebola? Sure, it’s just 9 people a day, but that’s 45 people a week, about 180 a month. . . . And before someone says, “Oh, what are the odds of someone with Ebola getting on a plane and coming to the United States?,” remember, this already happened.

Does this mean “rethinking” the U.S. troops in the hot zone over there?

Small numbers of highly-trained U.S. troops wearing full-body protective gear have been testing the blood of potential Ebola victims without coming into direct contact with them, the head of the U.S. Africa Command said Tuesday.

Army Gen. David Rodriguez initially said at a Tuesday Pentagon briefing that teams of three or four personnel working at mobile test labs were likely to have direct contact with Ebola victims. However, he later issued a correction to conform with White House and Pentagon policy directives against direct contacts by U.S. troops.

“I want to clarify my remarks,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “U.S. military personnel working in the labs are not interacting with patients, only samples.”

In last night’s Senate debate here in Virginia:

Amid news that a health care worker in Dallas had become infected with the disease, both candidates agreed that President Barack Obama has been too slow to deal with the Ebola crisis.

[Sen. Mark] Warner said it may be time to consider restrictions on flights as some European nations have done, “particularly with a nation like Liberia, where Ebola has spread so widely.”

[GOP Senate candidate Ed] Gillespie said it’s too late to merely consider stopping flights from West Africa where there is an Ebola outbreak. “It’s time to impose a flight ban in that regard and that’s what this administration should do.”

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