Frieden won't reveal who told him to 'protect fledgling democracies' instead of closing border to Hot Zone

The refusal of the federal government to stop flights from the Hot Zone in Africa and deny entry to or quarantine people who have been spending time there is becoming a political issue. Point man for offering lame excuses, such as protecting fledgling democracies there, for refusing the common sense policy of quarantine is Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC. Testifying before a House committee today,  he was asked by Rep. Tim Murphy who it was that told him to prioritize protecting “fledgling democracies.” He evaded an answer, and Rep. Murphy did not press him on who the "conversation" he mentioned was with.

MURPHY: “Doctor Frieden, we spoke on the phone the other day, you remained opposed to travel restrictions because in your words, you said, ‘cutting commercial ties would hurt these fledgling democracies.’ Now, is this the opinion of CDC, is this your opinion, or did someone also advise you, someone within the administration, any other agencies? Where did this opinion come from that that’s of high importance?”
FRIEDEN: “My sole concern is to protect Americans. We can do that by continuing to take the steps we’re taking here as well as —“
MURPHY: “Did someone advise you on that? Someone outside of yourself? Did somebody else advise you that’s the position, that we need to protect fledgling democracies?”
FRIEDEN: “My recollection of that conversation is that discussion was in the context of our ability to stop the epidemic at the source.”
MURPHY: “But we can get supplies and medical personnel into the Ebola hot zones so stopping planes — and I heard you say this on multiple occasions that we have a thousand-plus persons per week coming into the United States from hot zones, am I correct on that? Coming from those areas?”
FRIEDEN: “There are approximately 100 to 150 per day.”
MURPHY: “Okay. Now, I mean, the Duncan case has seriously impacted Dallas and northern Ohio, but what I don’t understand is if the administration insists on granting —bringing Ebola cases into the United States — clearly, you have determined how many Ebola infection cases the U.S. public can handle. I mean we have [NIH] can handle two of the beds. Do you know the number overall in the country how many we can handle?”
FRIEDEN: “Our goal is for no patients with Ebola —“
MURPHY: “I understand, but as long as we don’t restrict travel and we’re not quarantining people, and we’re not limiting their travel, we still have a risk. So these issues of surveillance and containment — I don’t understand. Ad this is the question American public is asking: why are we still allowing folks to come over here? And why, once they are over here, is there no quarantine?”
FRIEDEN: “Our fundamental mission is to protect Americans. Right now, we are able to track everyone who comes in.”
MURPHY: “But you are not stopping them from being around other people, doctor. I understand that. I have high respect for you. But my concern is the American people say, but even so, they are not limited from travel, they are not quarantined for 21 days because they can still show up the symptoms. They can still bypass other questions that Mr. Wagner referred to in the thermometers there — and this is what happened with the nurse who went to Cleveland. So I’m concerned here — is this going to be a maintaining position of the administration that there will be no travel restrictions?”
FRIEDEN: “We will consider any options to better protect Americans.”

Correction:  Tim Murphy not Tom Murphy

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

The refusal of the federal government to stop flights from the Hot Zone in Africa and deny entry to or quarantine people who have been spending time there is becoming a political issue. Point man for offering lame excuses, such as protecting fledgling democracies there, for refusing the common sense policy of quarantine is Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC. Testifying before a House committee today,  he was asked by Rep. Tim Murphy who it was that told him to prioritize protecting “fledgling democracies.” He evaded an answer, and Rep. Murphy did not press him on who the "conversation" he mentioned was with.

MURPHY: “Doctor Frieden, we spoke on the phone the other day, you remained opposed to travel restrictions because in your words, you said, ‘cutting commercial ties would hurt these fledgling democracies.’ Now, is this the opinion of CDC, is this your opinion, or did someone also advise you, someone within the administration, any other agencies? Where did this opinion come from that that’s of high importance?”
FRIEDEN: “My sole concern is to protect Americans. We can do that by continuing to take the steps we’re taking here as well as —“
MURPHY: “Did someone advise you on that? Someone outside of yourself? Did somebody else advise you that’s the position, that we need to protect fledgling democracies?”
FRIEDEN: “My recollection of that conversation is that discussion was in the context of our ability to stop the epidemic at the source.”
MURPHY: “But we can get supplies and medical personnel into the Ebola hot zones so stopping planes — and I heard you say this on multiple occasions that we have a thousand-plus persons per week coming into the United States from hot zones, am I correct on that? Coming from those areas?”
FRIEDEN: “There are approximately 100 to 150 per day.”
MURPHY: “Okay. Now, I mean, the Duncan case has seriously impacted Dallas and northern Ohio, but what I don’t understand is if the administration insists on granting —bringing Ebola cases into the United States — clearly, you have determined how many Ebola infection cases the U.S. public can handle. I mean we have [NIH] can handle two of the beds. Do you know the number overall in the country how many we can handle?”
FRIEDEN: “Our goal is for no patients with Ebola —“
MURPHY: “I understand, but as long as we don’t restrict travel and we’re not quarantining people, and we’re not limiting their travel, we still have a risk. So these issues of surveillance and containment — I don’t understand. Ad this is the question American public is asking: why are we still allowing folks to come over here? And why, once they are over here, is there no quarantine?”
FRIEDEN: “Our fundamental mission is to protect Americans. Right now, we are able to track everyone who comes in.”
MURPHY: “But you are not stopping them from being around other people, doctor. I understand that. I have high respect for you. But my concern is the American people say, but even so, they are not limited from travel, they are not quarantined for 21 days because they can still show up the symptoms. They can still bypass other questions that Mr. Wagner referred to in the thermometers there — and this is what happened with the nurse who went to Cleveland. So I’m concerned here — is this going to be a maintaining position of the administration that there will be no travel restrictions?”
FRIEDEN: “We will consider any options to better protect Americans.”

Correction:  Tim Murphy not Tom Murphy

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman