The PJ Tatler

White House, CDC Can't Get their Stories Straight on Ebola Preparedness

Here’s something that’s sure to fill your heart with gladness and soul with confidence.

First, the White House says it has the Ebola virus “under control” and that we needn’t worry because the “U.S. has the most capable healthcare system and the most capable doctors in the world, bar none.”

Good to know, yes?

“We know how to do this, and we will do it again,” Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, said at a press briefing.

“It’s very important to remind the American people that U.S. has the most capable healthcare system and the most capable doctors in the world, bar none,” Monaco said.

The press conference appeared to be aimed at calming a public worried about a possible outbreak in the United States of the disease, which has killed more than 3,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.


Monaco said the U.S. healthcare system “could not be more opposite” than those in countries most affected by Ebola.

Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stressed the U.S. healthcare care is “very, very, very well-established.”

While he acknowledged that the disease has spurred “a lot of fear” across the country, he reiterated that an outbreak is extremely unlikely.

The officials outlined a long list of precautions taken to control the disease since it was first diagnosed in March. The first humanitarian workers were deployed to the region that same month and continued to escalate their presence throughout the summer.

The HHS sent its first Ebola-related guidance to hospitals on July 28, and has since provided six more. The department has also strengthened surveillance and lab testing, as well as advising staff on how to properly screen airline passengers in the U.S.

Monaco stressed that the air screenings have been almost entirely effective in preventing the spread of Ebola onto U.S. soil.

“Dozens and dozens of people have been stopped from getting onto planes,” she said. “We have now seen tens of thousands of people [arrive in the U.S.] since March to the current day, and we now have this one isolated case.”

I feel better already. But let’s hear what the CDC has to say about our “capable” health care system and the “long list” of precautions sent to hospitals:

Since July, hospitals around the country have reported more than 100 cases involving Ebola-like symptoms to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials there said. Only one patient so far — Thomas Duncan in Dallas — has been diagnosed with Ebola.

But in addition to lapses at the Dallas hospital where Duncan is being treated, officials say they are fielding inquiries from hospitals and health workers that make it clear that serious questions remain about how to properly and safely care for potential Ebola patients.

A CDC official said the agency realized that many hospitals remain confused and unsure about how they are supposed to react when a suspected patient shows up. The agency sent additional guidance to health-care facilities around the country this week, just as it has numerous times in recent months, on everything from training personnel to spot the symptoms of Ebola to using protective gear.

Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which has treated several Ebola patients who were flown from West Africa, also has provided information and advice to dozens of hospitals, many of which are struggling with a lack of awareness about safety protocols and fear among some workers who feel ill-prepared. Washington-area health officials also said they are trying to identify gaps in their preparedness plans.

So we’ve got “gaps” in our preparedness plans? And hospitals are “confused and unsure” about what to do when an Ebola patient shows up? So much for our “capable” health care system.

Just how does that make the U.S. “more opposite” from countries afflicted by the epidemic? Aren’t they confused and unsure too?

You can tell authorities are lying about our preparedness to deal with an Ebola epidemic because their lips are moving.