Despite assurances, questions emerge about US Ebola preparedness

Administration officials made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, preaching the good news that our government has everything under control regarding the Ebola virus in the US.

This kind of happy talk is all we've heard from public health officials for weeks. It reached its zenith of silliness yesterday when an official with the National Institutes of Health assured America that the "system worked" on Ebola protocols:

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on Sunday the system put into place to slow the spread of Ebola transmission in the United States was working.

“The system worked,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On Sunday, officials in Texas announced that a second person in Dallas had tested positive for the deadly virus — a health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week.

“She was on voluntary self-monitoring,” he said about the latest victim. “She found she got infected, and she immediately did what she was supposed to have done.”

“So even in this troublesome situation, the system is working,” Fauci said.

Writing in PJ Media yesterday, I supplied the necessary lobotomy:

First of all, if the system “worked,” we wouldn’t have another case of Ebola. The protocols set up to prevent transmission of the disease failed. “Failed” is not the same as working. In fact, outside of Washington, “failed” means “not working,” so who is this jamoke trying to kid?

Secondly, we don’t truly know if the system “worked” or not. How many others might the health care worker have infected? She thinks she exposed only one other person. That’s comforting, if true. But voluntary self-monitoring is fine — until the self-monitor is infected. Then what?

A great, big, modern hospital that claims to have drilled on Ebola preparedness, and disseminated all the necessary information from the CDC to its employees, now finds itself being responsible for two cases of the deadly disease. It raises extremely troubling questions; Is America really ready for Ebola?

Politico:

Two cases of Ebola disease on U.S. shores are raising concerns about just how ready Americans hospitals and health care workers are to fight the lethal virus, despite all the assurances from public health officials that it can be identified, isolated and safely treated.

The first case was initially missed, potentially exposing more people in Dallas to Ebola and delaying treatment for the patient, a Liberian national who later died.

The second case, announced Sunday, involves an ICU nurse who had treated Thomas Duncan. She wore full protective gear, including a gown, gloves, mask and shield — and still was exposed.

Ebola is not spread through the air like the flu or a cold but through contact with bodily fluids of a sick person. How the nurse became infected isn’t yet known. Yet it happened even after a spate of guidelines, briefings and recommendations meant to get the nation’s facilities and health care workers ready.

(Also on POLITICO: Ebola threatens chocolate)

The hospital at the center of both cases, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, has said it had prepped and drilled. On Sunday, its leaders and the CDC were facing a new reality given the new patient.

“At some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, who called himself “deeply concerned.”

Once again, the circle of other possible exposures rippled outward. More than a dozen workers in that ICU will now be monitored closely for the 21 days that represent Ebola’s full incubation period.

“If this individual was exposed … it is possible that other individuals were exposed,” Frieden said. His agency must help identify those in that circle, and contain the virus.

After a briefing on the latest development, President Barack Obama immediately directed the CDC to move as quickly as possible with an investigation and to “take immediate additional steps to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide are prepared to follow protocols should they encounter an Ebola patient.”

The CDC can bury our hospitals in paper telling them everything they need to do to prevent the spread of the virus and it still won't filter out human error. We don't know if the protocols work because so far, they haven't. How many other hospitals in America would something similar have occurred?

The idiotic happy talk has to stop. It breeds a complacency that "it could never happen here." Well, it's happened. And no one - certainly not the American people - is sure that public health officials or the government knows what they're doing.

Administration officials made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, preaching the good news that our government has everything under control regarding the Ebola virus in the US.

This kind of happy talk is all we've heard from public health officials for weeks. It reached its zenith of silliness yesterday when an official with the National Institutes of Health assured America that the "system worked" on Ebola protocols:

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, said on Sunday the system put into place to slow the spread of Ebola transmission in the United States was working.

“The system worked,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week.”

On Sunday, officials in Texas announced that a second person in Dallas had tested positive for the deadly virus — a health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died last week.

“She was on voluntary self-monitoring,” he said about the latest victim. “She found she got infected, and she immediately did what she was supposed to have done.”

“So even in this troublesome situation, the system is working,” Fauci said.

Writing in PJ Media yesterday, I supplied the necessary lobotomy:

First of all, if the system “worked,” we wouldn’t have another case of Ebola. The protocols set up to prevent transmission of the disease failed. “Failed” is not the same as working. In fact, outside of Washington, “failed” means “not working,” so who is this jamoke trying to kid?

Secondly, we don’t truly know if the system “worked” or not. How many others might the health care worker have infected? She thinks she exposed only one other person. That’s comforting, if true. But voluntary self-monitoring is fine — until the self-monitor is infected. Then what?

A great, big, modern hospital that claims to have drilled on Ebola preparedness, and disseminated all the necessary information from the CDC to its employees, now finds itself being responsible for two cases of the deadly disease. It raises extremely troubling questions; Is America really ready for Ebola?

Politico:

Two cases of Ebola disease on U.S. shores are raising concerns about just how ready Americans hospitals and health care workers are to fight the lethal virus, despite all the assurances from public health officials that it can be identified, isolated and safely treated.

The first case was initially missed, potentially exposing more people in Dallas to Ebola and delaying treatment for the patient, a Liberian national who later died.

The second case, announced Sunday, involves an ICU nurse who had treated Thomas Duncan. She wore full protective gear, including a gown, gloves, mask and shield — and still was exposed.

Ebola is not spread through the air like the flu or a cold but through contact with bodily fluids of a sick person. How the nurse became infected isn’t yet known. Yet it happened even after a spate of guidelines, briefings and recommendations meant to get the nation’s facilities and health care workers ready.

(Also on POLITICO: Ebola threatens chocolate)

The hospital at the center of both cases, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, has said it had prepped and drilled. On Sunday, its leaders and the CDC were facing a new reality given the new patient.

“At some point there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, who called himself “deeply concerned.”

Once again, the circle of other possible exposures rippled outward. More than a dozen workers in that ICU will now be monitored closely for the 21 days that represent Ebola’s full incubation period.

“If this individual was exposed … it is possible that other individuals were exposed,” Frieden said. His agency must help identify those in that circle, and contain the virus.

After a briefing on the latest development, President Barack Obama immediately directed the CDC to move as quickly as possible with an investigation and to “take immediate additional steps to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide are prepared to follow protocols should they encounter an Ebola patient.”

The CDC can bury our hospitals in paper telling them everything they need to do to prevent the spread of the virus and it still won't filter out human error. We don't know if the protocols work because so far, they haven't. How many other hospitals in America would something similar have occurred?

The idiotic happy talk has to stop. It breeds a complacency that "it could never happen here." Well, it's happened. And no one - certainly not the American people - is sure that public health officials or the government knows what they're doing.