CDC Director: “Zero Risk” to Passengers on Flights With Dallas Ebola Patient

Although not yet widespread, panic and disinformation are emerging surrounding the case of the first patient to have been diagnosed with Ebola while in the United States. The worst of the hysteria surrounds the fact that Thomas E. Duncan flew from Liberia to the United States on a trip that required 28 hours, ending at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport on September 20. It is known that Duncan was screened in Liberia and found not to have a fever when he boarded the first flight. Persons infected with Ebola but not yet exhibiting symptoms are incapable of spreading the disease, primarily because the disease spreads through direct contact of mucous membranes or open wounds with bodily fluids and symptom-free patients are not yet vomiting or having diarrhea, so no virus-carrying fluids are being produced or at risk of being spread in ways that other people will come into contact with them.

On Tuesday, the Director of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, stated outright that there is zero risk to passengers who were on a flight with Duncan:

A national public health official today said there was “zero risk of transmission” of Ebola on a commercial airline flight that a Dallas patient who has tested positive for the disease flew on from Liberia earlier this month.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said today in a live briefing from Atlanta that the person — a male who remained unnamed — showed no symptoms before boarding the plane and was not contagious. The CDC doesn’t “believe there is any risk to anyone who was on the flight at that time,” he said.

Despite Frieden’s clear statement that other passengers face no risk, the press continued to hound CDC and the airlines until Duncan’s itinerary was released. While CBS was moderately responsible in their coverage of the flight information, the Daily Mail asked breathlessly in their headline whether YOU were on a flight with Duncan. Even more incredibly, stocks in US airlines were dumped yesterday in response to the news of Duncan’s flights:

Investors were also selling stocks following news that the first case of Ebola had been diagnosed in the U.S. Investors dumped airline stocks and bought a handful of drug companies working on experimental Ebola treatments.

The story of just how Duncan became infected is a sad one. On September 15 (recall that he left Liberia on the 19th and arrived in Dallas the 20th), Duncan helped neighbors take their 19-year-old daughter to the hospital. Sadly, the hospital was already overwhelmed with patients and she was turned away, only to die early the next morning after returning:

In a pattern often seen here in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, the family of the woman, Marthalene Williams, 19, took her by taxi to a hospital with Mr. Duncan’s help on Sept. 15 after failing to get an ambulance, said her parents, Emmanuel and Amie Williams. She was convulsing and seven months pregnant, they said.

Turned away from a hospital for lack of space in its Ebola treatment ward, the family said it took Ms. Williams back home in the evening, and that she died hours later, around 3 a.m.

Mr. Duncan, who was a family friend and also a tenant in a house owned by the Williams family, rode in the taxi in the front passenger seat while Ms. Williams, her father and her brother, Sonny Boy, shared the back seat, her parents said. Mr. Duncan then helped carry Ms. Williams, who was no longer able to walk, back to the family home that evening, neighbors said.

The hospital in Dallas where Duncan is being treated has received a lot of criticism because he first went there on September 26 but was sent home when only exhibiting a low grade fever:

When Mr. Duncan first arrived at the hospital last Friday, six days after he had arrived in America, he told a nurse that he had come from West Africa. Public health officials have been urging doctors and nurses to be on the alert for Ebola in anyone who has been in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. But information about Mr. Duncan’s travel was not “fully communicated” to the full medical team, said Dr. Mark Lester, executive vice president of Texas Health Resources, the parent organization that oversees Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.

As a result, that information was not used in the clinical diagnosis and Mr. Duncan was sent home, with the diagnostic team believing he simply had a low-grade fever from a viral infection, Dr. Lester said.

Those with whom Duncan had contact from the time of the onset of his symptoms until he returned the hospital on September 30 28 (corrected; September 30 was when tests confirmed Ebola after he returned to the hospital on September 28) in much worse condition and was then isolated are being monitored for signs that they may be infected:

Officials said Wednesday that they believed Mr. Duncan came into contact with 12 to 18 people when he was experiencing active symptoms and when the disease was contagious, and that the daily monitoring of those people had not yet shown them to be infected.

The incubation period (the time between exposure to the disease and the onset of symptoms in an infected person) for Ebola varies from 2 to 21 days. Recall that Duncan was exposed on September 15 and visited the hospital for the first time on September 26, so his incubation period was around eleven days. We are now around six days into the time since Duncan first visited the hospital, so those with whom he came into contact will need to be monitored for for another two weeks or so until at least 21 days have passed since their last contact with Duncan.

While there is some chance that one or more of those with whom Duncan had contact while he was contagious will become infected, as long as everyone who was in contact with him during that critical period is under observation now, there is virtually no chance of the disease spreading outside that small group of people. And you can rest assured that nobody from any of the flights Duncan was on will come down with disease from exposure to him.

63 replies
  1. Saltinwound says:

    No idea why someone would ever say zero risk. The chance that someone was wrong about him being completely asymptomatic when he got on the flight was zero? It is like something my mother would say in crisis mode.

  2. Ben Franklin says:

    Are you playing with words, as well?

    I see. Weasel words. Technically, they aren’t lying just withholding all the truth..

    “UPDATE: Someone pointed out that in medical terms, if the virus is transferred through tiny droplets in the air this would technically not be called an “airborne virus”. Airborne, in medical terms would mean that the virus has the ability to stay alive without a liquid carrier. On one hand this is a question of semantics, and the point is well taken, but keep in mind that the study did not officially determine how the virus traveled through the air, it merely established that it does travel through the air. Doctor Kobinger’s hypothesis regarding droplets of liquid is just that, a hypothesis. For the average person however what needs to be understood is very simple: if you are in a room with someone infected with Ebola, you are not safe, even if you never touch them or their bodily fluids, and this is not what you are being told by the mainstream media. Essentially I am using the word “airborne” as a layman term.”

    • Jim White says:

      You can blather all you want, but the science of Ebola still firmly shows transmission is only through fluids. Trying to gin up fear over semantics is low and runs the risk of harming people through unfounded fear. Spread your panic on your blog if you want, but stick to verified science here.

    • Jim White says:

      Yeah. What happened to your dire predictions that Ebola was intentionally going to be spread from the Atlanta hospital where patients were treated? What was the death toll from that?

      • Ben Franklin says:

        Who said ‘intentional’? Are you still suggesting the NEW CDC is nothing like the old CDC? Were you able to watch the arrival in Atlanta, with workers in full suits with OXYGEN GENERATORS? Nothing to see there.

      • Ben Franklin says:

        I am grateful for all those concerned about public safety, providing enough information for people to have confidence in the source. You know, the folks who treat us as adults and not children? As for the others who feel we need to be protected from ourselves, may you enjoy your custodial service.

  3. SaltinWound says:

    Well the initial statement from the hospital that they had followed all CDC guidelines was a lie because they had sent the patient home. The ones playing word games are the ones using the number zero. If you do not like this comment, delete it, Jim, it is your blog.

  4. SaltinWound says:

    It might be fair to say the risk is zero if everyone is telling the complete truth. Is the chance zero that no one is leaving anything out.

  5. lefty665 says:

    Thanks for the followup Jim. It does seem that the hazard to fellow passengers or those at Dulles during Duncan’s layover there are at very low risk. But, putting the risk at zero, while understandable in the interests of dampening hysteria, is statistically unsupportable.
    Of immediate concern is the very real exposure to a small but unquantified number of people in Dallas. We understand the difficulties in controlling the spread of Ebola in poor, crowded and ill educated areas of Africa where basic sanitation and sparse medical resources are overwhelmed. I have seen no indications that our medical community has incorporated our capability for stupidity in statistical predictions of low risk of spread here. That is stupidity as in Duncan’s travel history was “not fully communicated” from staff to the Docs. It is enough to make me wonder if people with relatives in the Secret Service were staffing the hospital.
    Spread during travel is a crap shoot. Statistically, with the incubation period, there do not have to be many cases like Duncan before we have someone with normal temperature at takeoff who becomes contagious during flight. Had that happened with Duncan, he could have exposed several hundred people on each leg of his flight, and more with whom he came in contact during his layover at Dulles. Had he become contagious during the first leg of his flight, people exposed there would have dispersed across the country, and world, as they made their connections. That is a scary, and clearly recognized, vector for the spread of disease.
    Viruses frequently mutate, aka evolve. There are reports that Ebola in animals has evolved to spread via aerosols, like cold viruses. If that capability jumps to human Ebola, all bets are off. Viral evolution tends to happen in proportion to the number of cases. It’s really pretty simple, each new infection is an opportunity for mutation. As the number of cases grows, so does the probability that Ebola will evolve.
    It is worth revisiting “The Hot Zone” a factual relation of the airborne spread of an Ebola like virus among research monkeys at a research facility in Reston Va. I cannot drive the stretch of Rts 7 and 340 from Reston to Ft. Detrick without getting cold chills at the thought I could have been traveling that road with cars carrying plastic trash bags of highly contagious liquefying monkey carcasses. We dodged the bullet 25 years ago. The dangers seem orders of magnitude higher today.

    • Jim White says:

      Indeed, the scenario where someone is symptom-free at boarding but develops them during travel, especially for trips that last more than a day, is the biggest risk for spreading Ebola in air travel. However, we know that this is not the case for Duncan since he was still symptom-free for several days after arriving in Dallas. From the known biology of the virus, that is why the CDC director was so emphatic about no risk from Duncan on those flights: the disease had not progressed to the point where he was producing (and spreading) virus particles.

      • lefty665 says:

        I agree with you on Duncan. My point was that given the latency in presentation, and the increasing number of infections, it is just a matter of time, and perhaps not much time, until we get an airplane and/or terminal full of virus.
        We were lucky with Duncan and Brantley, but luck is not a good foundation for ongoing protection. I don’t subscribe to hysteria, but it is clear that we have have a growing exposure. Denying danger by relying on individual anecdotes does not protect us.
        Thanks for your ongoing postings. Wish I knew the answers.

  6. P J Evans says:

    There apparently is a sizable community of former Liberians in the area around that particular hospital.

    If the travel information didn’t get passed all the way through the medical team, they’re not doing their job properly.

    I don’t think we’re going to have an Ebola epidemic in the US: we have better sanitation and generally-better hospitals than the much-poorer nations in Africa that are trying to deal with it. Those people who are trying so hard to spread rumors and get people to panic should be ashamed of themselves; they’re worse than useless.

    • lefty665 says:

      Even if the intake information was “not fully communicated” (meaning = Staff did not bother to mention recent travel from Liberia?) , what’s up with the attending medical staff that was not curious enough to ask an African man, speaking accented English, in an area with a significant Liberian population, and presenting with a fever if he had recent connections with Africa?
      In addition, having diagnosed Duncan as having a common viral infection they prescribed an antibiotic. WTF?
      We may indeed have “generally-better hospitals”, but you sure can’t tell it from this one.

  7. lefty665 says:

    Seems Weeks had limited confidence the hospital would ever figure it out. Only in America…
    “Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, told NBC on Wednesday night that his uncle was not treated for Ebola until Weeks personally called the federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to report the suspected illness. He said he made the call on the day that Duncan had returned to the Dallas hospital.”

    • P J Evans says:

      He didn’t feel sick until two or three days after he arrived on the 20th. He first went to the hospital – and they sent him home with a prescription – on the 24th. I don’t know if they prescribed an antibiotic or an antiviral – I wouldn’t expect most people to even know there’s a difference.

  8. Bitter Angry Drunk says:

    While I appreciate Jim not wanting to spread hysteria, I believe he’s underestimating the level of concern. The fact that the hospital sent Duncan home initially was a colossal fuck-up. Already they’ve quarantined four of his relatives (per Reuters), and believe 80-100 people may have had direct or indirect contact with him. Also per Reuters, Duncan vomited outside his apartment prior to being transported by ambulance. So I don’t believe it’s possible to use the word “zero” with this story.

  9. Saltinwound says:

    The zero is in reference to the plane.

    I am suggesting that him being symptom free for several days in Dallas is based on self reporting. I do not know how that can possibly be one hundred percent reliable.

  10. lefty665 says:

    PJ – The report from the hospital was antibiotic. It’s not clear they would know the difference either. In the US, the habitual prescription of antibiotics for viral infections is close to criminal.
    B A D – The CDC “Zero Risk” was for asymptomatic spread while he was in transit. Once he started showing symptoms all bets were off.

    • Bitter Angry Drunk says:

      @ Lefty — Yeah, Jim covered this more completely than I gave him credit for. Apologies to Jim.

    • P J Evans says:

      I’ve never (that I know of) gotten antibiotics for a viral infection, only for stuff that appeared to be bacterial. The one time I needed an antiviral, that was what I got. (Shingles. You don’t want it.)
      I would expect a hospital to be competent and know what they’re prescribing and why, but from what I’ve heard about those in Texas, it isn’t as sure a thing as it should be.

      • lefty665 says:

        Over prescription and inappropriate prescription of antibiotics have been massive problems in the US medical system for decades. They are second only to agricultural use of antibiotics to fatten animals that together relentlessly expand the pool of antibiotic resistant microbes we are evolving. But that’s tangential to the discussion here. I mentioned it originally only as another measure of incompetence by the ER staff at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
        The dialogue might have gone something like this: “We think you have a common virus, but it will take us several days to get the blood work back, so start on this course of antibiotics on the off chance it’s bacterial and we can get you a head start on the road to feeling better”. Repeated millions of times over decades the microbial survivors proliferate and laugh at many antibiotics. Ain’t evolution wunnerful?
        The ironic part is that the lab work would not have told them squat because they had not ordered tests for what Duncan actually had. When Duncan started bleeding out everyplace from his eyeballs to his asshole even the geniuses at Texas Presby might have figured it out. But we’ll never know because they got a big helping hand when Duncan’s nephew called the CDC and told them what was up. Bet the subsequent call from Atlanta to Dallas was interesting.

        • P J Evans says:

          Being a fly on that wall would have been interesting. I really hope that someone’s ears got singed.

          I know about over-prescription. Fortunately most of the doctors I had weren’t into it – or I wasn’t someone they wanted to try it on. (I have a major drug allergy; the list of antibiotics that I know are safe for me is short, and doesn’t include many that are new.)

      • lefty665 says:

        Is it impossible to transmit Ebola without direct contact with bodily fluids? NO. Is it easy? NO. Use your heads folks. If there was significant transmission via aerosols we would have hundreds of thousands of cases in Africa. Ebola is not easy to transmit.
        A real fear is that it will mutate and acquire the ability to infect via aerosols. But we ain’t there… yet. Another is that the public institutions in Dallas have been incompetent. We showing the potential to bungle ourselves into an epidemic as well as the remotest village.
        In addition to the hospital, health department and local homeland security, the school system has added to the idiocy. 5 kids with direct contact with Duncan when he was actively infectious went to school Monday and Tuesday, one attended part of Wednesday too before they were quarantined. The school system won’t release classrooms, bus routes taken, etc to figure out who else was potentially exposed. Can’t anyone in Dallas play this game?

          • lefty665 says:

            I understand. I was going after the simple empirical evidence of that we all can easily see. We would have to move the decimal one or perhaps two places on the number of cases in Africa if Ebola was easy to transmit.
            We’ll get more evidence before long. If none of the people they have trapped in the apartment get Ebola we will have a pretty good demonstration of just how hard it is to transmit. What a moronic thing to do. In addition, it makes CDCs contact chaining a lot harder. Who will admit contact if the result is to be locked in your home?
            Just when it looked like the responses couldn’t get any worse, the news this morning is that Gov. Perry has been consulted.

  11. lefty665 says:

    Liberia says Duncan will be prosecuted, presuming he survives, for lying on the health forms asking if he had any contact with anyone with Ebola. He said no.
    Salt, in addition to the vagaries of self reporting, the decision about what’s a “symptom”, and the correlation of “symptom” to having enough virus to spread has to be pretty crude and variable too.

  12. Jim White says:

    Following up on our discussion about the risk from an asymptomatic person boarding, there is a Twitter chat going on with CDC right now under the hashtag #CDCChat. I asked if symptoms and virus shedding build slowly or if there is sudden onset of the disease. The response: “Sudden onset is often seen. Patients will become very ill.” So yes, that does raise the very real risk of someone boarding a plane after clearing screening and then coming down with disease and being quite infectious. Airline personnel and fellow passengers will need to exercise extreme caution in dealing with any fluids from such a passenger under that kind of scenario, but, again, the risk is from fluids and not the air in general beyond any droplets briefly generated.


    • lefty665 says:

      Thanks for pursuing it Jim, looks like you got a witting response to a good question. Despite CDC’s very narrow, simplistic public statements, apparently designed to tamp down hysteria, there are a bunch of bright folks and damned good epidemiologists, virologists and microbiologists (among others) there.
      Salt – Yeah, or like Duncan who lied so he could get on a plane out of Liberia. You said it well, self reporting has pretty severe limitations for a lot of reasons.

  13. Saltinwound says:

    So the corollary is also true? That it is sometimes slow building? Again, I would think there could be a period of time that someone is symptomatic and in denial about it. Or does not realize it. There is also the chance that someone could lie about how long they were symptomatic, so that loved ones are not quarantined, for example.

  14. pdaly says:

    The Liberian government has reported that Duncan will be prosecuted for lying to airport officials about ‘no contact with ebola’ during his stay in Liberia. Had he told them the story of transporting the 19 year old pregnant woman to and from the hospital in a taxi and helping to carry her back into the living room where she died, Duncan would have been quarantined in Liberia.

    I think Duncan could have done more to alert the medical team in the Texan hospital about his ebola exposure.

    • Jim White says:

      So, your infinite knowledge lets you look at this photo and know that these guys are cleaning the exact spot where the patient vomited, several days ago, and that no EMS personnel did any sanitizing the night they picked up the patient? If the area had been bleached days ago and the area dried thoroughly in the sun for a day or two, pressure washing is fine.

      • Ben Franklin says:

        My knowledge is not the point. Pressure washing makes the virus aerosol because it has proven to survive days after the patient has died.

        “As indicated by RT-PCR and ELISA antigen results from blood (data not shown), the shedding of EBOV in saliva corresponded almost exactly to the period of viremia, with the last positive saliva specimen noted at day 8 after disease onset. In contrast, specimens of breast milk and semen were found to be culture positive and RT-PCR positive at days 15 and 40 after disease onset, respectively, when EBOV was already cleared from the blood. The same patient’s semen was negative when retested at day 45. Despite the fact that 7 of the 11 skin swabs were collected from patients during a period of high antigenemia (reciprocal antigen titer, ⩾256) and/or RT-PCR positivity in the blood, only 1 was RT-PCR positive. All 11 urine specimens were negative by both culture and RT-PCR, even though 2 of the specimens were collected during periods of high antigenemia. Overall, mortality was not significantly different for patients with positive versus negative clinical samples, although the small sample size for most sample types calls for caution in interpretation of this finding. Mortality was significantly higher among patients with RT-PCR—positive saliva than among those who were RT-PCR negative (4 of 6 versus 0 of 7, respectively; P=.02).

        Perhaps you should further amend your reassurances, Jim White.

      • Ben Franklin says:

        Saving you a step…

        “Primary versus secondary viremia[edit]

        Primary viremia refers to the initial spread of virus in the blood from the first site of infection.

        Secondary viremia occurs when primary viremia has resulted in infection of additional tissues via bloodstream, in which the virus has replicated and once more entered the circulation.

        Usually secondary viremia results in higher viral shedding and viral loads within the bloodstream due to the possibility that the virus is able to reach its natural host cell from the bloodstream and replicate more efficiently than the initial site.[2] An excellent example to profile this distinction is the rabies virus.[3] Usually the virus will replicate briefly within the first site of infection, within the muscle tissues. Viral replication then leads to viremia and the virus spreads to its secondary site of infection, the Central nervous system (CNS). Upon infection of the CNS, secondary viremia results and symptoms usually begin.[4] Vaccination at this point is useless, as the spread to the brain is unstoppable. Vaccination must be done before secondary viremia takes place for the individual to avoid brain damage or death.

  15. Ben Franklin says:

    Your speculations about bleach being applied have no foundation, sir.

    The concern should include any untoward or misunderstood after effects of the viral contamination. This is the reason I’m skeptical of CDC, as well should you be.

  16. Jim White says:


    Outside the apartment, the management of the 300-unit complex in northeast Dallas was passing out flyers about Ebola to neighbors. Private security guards and local sheriff’s deputies blocked off the entrance to dozens of reporters.

    Apartment manager Sally Nuran said employees were power-washing sidewalks and scrubbing common areas, though she believed Duncan had not visited most of the complex in his short time there.

    But clearly AP is lying and those two apartment complex employees only pressure-washed the pool of vomit that magically stayed wet for several days on the sidewalk.

  17. Ben Franklin says:

    It guess it all depends on who you are inclined to believe, Jim White.

    Here’s a website CDC failed to scrub.

    Is a Person Contagious During the Ebola Incubation Period?

    Even if a person exhibits no signs or symptoms of Ebola, he or she can still spread the virus during the incubation period. Once symptoms begin, the person can remain contagious for about three more weeks.

    • Jim White says:

      Okay, we’re done here. You just go ahead and put more trust in Wikipedia and a software company that put up a site to generate ad revenue. I’ll trust the real professionals who deal with the disease.
      End of discussion.

  18. pdaly says:

    No problem, Ben. I missed Jim White’s links to the same information in the original post. I was searching for information about the duration the Ebola virus can exist in the environment as opposed to in/on the body of an infected person. Since Mr. Duncan carried a very symptomatic Ebola victim into a living room on the 15th in Liberia and he boarded an airplane on the 19th, were his shoes or clothes potential fomites? (assuming he did not take the precaution of disposing of them or changing them).

    The only fomites from the study (link above) were the doctor’s bloody glove and bloody iv site–both of which were expected to be positive. The randomly swabbed areas of a hospital room in the isolation ward did not show evidence of ebola 6 hours after it was cleaned.

    • lefty665 says:

      Amazing story. Seems the quarantine is being handled by the local departments of health and homeland security. They appear to be run about as well as the hospital. So far it is not demonstrable that we are responding any better than authorities in Africa. They at least have the excuse of lack of resources. Hope we don’t deplete our world class supply of ignorance and incompetence. I guess it should not come as a surprise that our first line of defense against contagion is local yokels. But WTF, can’t we do any better than this?

      • P J Evans says:

        Forming DHS was a mistake. It’s got too much on its plate, and too much bureaucracy, to do any of its jobs well.

  19. Tinky says:

    Jim White has consistently claimed that the virus is not aerosolized. he also states above: “Okay, we’re done here. You just go ahead and put more trust in Wikipedia and a software company that put up a site to generate ad revenue. I’ll trust the real professionals who deal with the disease.

    And yet:

    Under intense questioning from reporters, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas health department and the City of Dallas repeatedly declined Thursday to provide details about the steps being taken to prevent an outbreak.”


    “Frieden also said that, in theory, a sneeze or cough could spread the virus from someone experiencing Ebola symptoms. Officials had previously downplayed this possibility, focusing on direct contact with bodily fluids.”

  20. Jim White says:

    We are now two thirds of the way through the incubation period since Duncan began his trip to the US. Where are all the reports of people falling ill from the virus particles his symptom-free body magically produced and magically aerosolized to infect those plane-loads of people?

    • Saltinwound says:

      Even if no one was infected on the plane, that does not mean zero risk was correct. If one person was infected, you are wrong. You can not be proven right about zero risk, which is one of many reasons it was a foolish thing to say.

      • lefty665 says:

        Zero risk was CDC’s formulation. Looks like they were in hysteria control mode. You’re right, zero risk is not provable, and I’ve argued that too. “Very, very low” apparently did not have quite the calming effect they were looking for. They are clearly not interested in providing graphic descriptions of just how horrible Ebola is, or how it explodes in someone who is infected.

    • P J Evans says:

      Remember that you’re dealing with Texas institutions. The previous cases, the ones brought back for treatment, were clearly handled better – not necessarily as well as they should have been, but better than this one.

      • lefty665 says:

        Thanks, but is that supposed to make me feel better? The epidemic in Africa started with a single case. If that person had been handled safely we would not be where we are today. With each transmission the whole process gets harder to control, and the probability of spread increases.
        People are fleeing West Africa to all parts of the globe. How many Dallases are there around the world? Will the rest of the world respond better than we have? Are we uniquely dumb? How many cases do we have to have in Dallas before someone with a brain gets in the driver’s seat?

        • P J Evans says:

          I don’t think we’re unique except possibly in believing that we can keep out people who will cheerfully lie to authority. (I don’t think we’re exceptional except maybe in believing that we are.)

          Apparently a lot of hospitals, in spite of the CDC directive earlier this summer that everyone be trained in dealing with stuff like this, haven’t bothered to do so, or haven’t done so for everyone (hello, Dallas?). Certainly the health department in Dallas has done a truly crappy job of responding, and whoever took the health and travel history should have had red alert sirens going off in their mind as soon as they heard that he’d just come back from Africa. Meanwhile, we have the media pushing scare stories like they have nothing else to do. And we haven’t had a Surgeon General in nearly a year, thanks to the do-nothings in Congress, who seem to think that sitting on their tails collecting their generous paychecks (while whining about how bad the WH is) is all that’s required of them.

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