Latest On Ebola in the US (Oct 13) – Dallas Nurse, Surgeon Gen, and Golfby Absolute-News.com
So many updates on the Ebola Virus, we wanted to give you a quick run down of the latest news and events on this outbreak in the US:
Dallas Nurse Observed Ebola protocols, still became infected
Where is the Surgeon General on Ebola? MIA
As the second Texas Ebola victim is confirmed, Obama celebrates his 200th round of golf
If “the protocols work,” how did Dallas nurse get Ebola?
When the first U.S. Ebola patient turned up at a Dallas hospital late last month, public health officials were quick to reassure the public that the health care system was prepared to handle it and prevent the deadly disease from spreading.
“We are stopping Ebola in its tracks in this country,” Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Sept. 30, after Dallas patient Thomas Eric Duncan‘s Ebola test came back positive. “We can do that because of two things: strong infection control that stops the spread of Ebola in health care; and strong core public health functions.”
But news that a nurse who treated Duncan became infected in the process has cast doubt on whether those safety precautions were good enough or were properly followed. The nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital was wearing full protective gear when she treated Duncan, but somehow got infected anyway. Frieden said Sunday that the CDC was conducting an investigation into what went wrong, to try to prevent it from happening again.
“It is deeply concerning that this infection occurred,” Frieden acknowledged. “We don’t know what occurred… but at some point there was a breach in protocol and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection.”
The reality is, even when health care workers know the proper steps, small — but potentially deadly — lapses can still happen.
“It’s hard to stick to the protocol 100 percent of the time when you’re responding to emergencies; you get lax,” Dr. Dalilah Restrepo, an infectious diseases specialist at Mount Sinai Roosevelt and Mount Sinai St. Luke’s in New York City, told CBS News in an interview last week.
A second case of Ebola confirmed on U.S. soil over the weekend has raised fresh questions in Washington about how prepared the Obama administration is to prevent the virus from spreading at home. One question in particular has been bandied about by Republicans: does the U.S. need an Ebola “czar”?
“I would say that we don’t know exactly who’s in charge. There has to be some kind of czar,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, on CNN Sunday.
It’s a surprising request for a senator who oncesaid that the Obama administration has “more czars than the Romanovs.” But he’s not the first to suggest that’s the right approach.
McCain joined Reps. Jack Kingston of Georgia, Frank Wolf of Virginia and Sens. Jerry Moran of Kansas and Rob Portman of Ohio, all Republicans who have said there needs to be a single point person within the administration responsible for ensuring the deadly virus does not spread in the U.S.
So where’s the surgeon general?
Such a high-profile public health crisis also highlights the fact that the nation currently finds itself without the “Nation’s Doctor,” the popular term for the surgeon general.
Mr. Obama’s nominee for the post, Dr. Vivek Murthy, has fallen victim to congressional gridlock (he must be confirmed by the Senate) over a lighting-rod political issue: guns.
Among Murthy’s sins, according to his detractors: promoting Obamacare in his role as co-founder of Doctors for America, including a tweet that tweaked the NRA while making his health care argument:
Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they're scared of NRA. Guns are a health care issue. #debatehealth
— Vivek Murthy (@vivek_murthy) October 17, 2012
However, both Gostin and Leavitt agreed that a surgeon general would probably not be an effective leader in the fight against Ebola.
AUSTIN, Texas — After hearing the news shortly after midnight early Sunday morning that a second Ebola case had been diagnosed in a Texas Presbyterian Hospital nurse, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings stayed up through the night putting together an action plan.
In contrast, President Barack Obama’s response is being criticized as not adequately prioritizing the crisis. As Fox News Channel’s Greta Van Susteren tweeted, Obama made a phone call to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and then “headed out to play golf.”
CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller had posted that the press corps had been escorted to vans in the presidential motorcade to go to the golf course, but then were led back to the White House for a photo opp of Obama on the phone with Burwell that “lasted only 40 seconds.” Knoller tweeted several photos of Obama wearing a casual windbreaker, sitting at his desk in the Oval Office while speaking on the phone.
Knoller also reported shortly after 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time that Obama has arrived at Fort Belvoir Golf Club for “his 200th round of golf as President.” The Golf Channel confirmedthat this was the 200th round of golf for Obama — or, as they dubbed him, the “First Duffer” — since he became president.
Conservative lawyer and author David Limbaugh tweeted a cartoon of Obama in ancient Roman garb, golfing as the city burned around him as “unfair to Nero,” referring to the Roman emperor who was rumored to have played a fiddle during the Great Fire of Rome in 64 A.D. Austin-based Republican consultant Matt Mackowiakweighed in, “Obama is closely monitoring the #Ebola crisis and our war with ISIS from Gwyneth Paltrow’s house and the golf course.” [Disclosure: Mackowiak is a Breitbart Texas contributor.]