The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention worked the rounds on the morning news shows today to try to assure the public that his agency is working “24/7” to “keep Americans safe,” and will “look at the possibilities” regarding further policies to keep the virus from traveling from affected countries.
“Nothing is off the table in terms of keeping Americans safe, except doing things that might actually backfire and make Americans less safe,” Dr. Thomas Frieden told Fox News when asked about more intense screening of people coming off flights in the U.S.
“We’ve already had well over 100 people considered possibly to have Ebola. You know there have been about 40,000 people entering the U.S. from these three countries over the last six months. Only the one individual in Dallas has had Ebola. In that situation, the authorities there are doing an excellent job tracking every single contact,” he added.
Frieden called the report of a sick Liberian child being tested for Ebola in Delaware unconfirmed.
“We have no other individuals who are, at this point, confirmed with Ebola. We’re gonna have rumors. We’re gonna have suspicions. We’re gonna have possibilities.”
The CDC leader told NBC that there’s no update this morning on Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who’s “fighting for his life.”
“This is the time when we’re particularly looking at the contacts that he had. Ten contacts who definitely had contact with him and 38 others who might have had contact. Every single one of those 48 people was monitored yesterday. Their temperatures were taken. None of them had symptoms. None of them had fever. The key here is to keep doing that every single day,” Frieden said.
He confirmed there is “no more” ZMapp for now, the experimental drug that may have helped American missionaries recover from the disease.
“The company is working hard to make a few more doses, but it’s hard to make. It takes a long time.”
Frieden defended the screening occurring at airports in the affected countries, telling CBS that Duncan’s temperature was 97.3 when he left Monrovia.
“But we will look at all opportunities to improve the safety of Americans. Because that’s what CDC does 24/7 is protect Americans. And one thing that’s encouraging is some signs of progress in the outbreak. We’ve seen no more cases in Nigeria. It looks like they’ve stopped it,” he said. “We’ve now trained 4,000 people across Africa…and we’re going to see those people deployed to Africa and join hundreds of people from around the country who — around the world who are responding to the outbreak. So definite signs of progress.”
President Obama is scheduled to receive an update “on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa” this afternoon, according to the White House, before heading to a Turkish restaurant in D.C. for a DNC event.