The PJ Tatler

CDC Director's Credibility Collapses: A Series of Tweets

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden, is reacting to news that a second Dallas nurse contracted Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to the United States after he knew that he had been exposed to the deadly virus.

TIME’s Zeke Miller is live-tweeting Frieden’s remarks. Let’s listen in virtually.



She wasn’t symptomatic at that point…


It’s that third remark wherein lies the problem, though all three are coming in for criticism already.

Frieden is not in a position to ensure that what he pronounces will actually be carried out. Already, at least two Americans who were exposed to Ebola have broken isolation — the second Dallas nurse, and NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman. Neither was symptomatic at the time. The latter broke isolation to get dinner. She is supposed to be a person of science, and therefore ought to know better. That’s what other people of science keep telling us, anyway.

Dr. Snyderman is “deeply sorry,” by the way.

Additionally, as Mr. Duncan proved, the CDC can say whatever it wants about the Americans that it knows about who are exposed. It can do nothing at all about people outside the country are exposed, unless it enacts a travel ban from those Ebola-stricken countries to this one. And that, the CDC maintains, it will not do.

Those people can continue to use air travel according to their means and their whims, as long as they do not have or can conceal their symptoms.