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Obama Appoints Ebola Czar, Third Health Worker Isolated

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After the CDC had some early missteps with communication and management of the Ebola virus, President Obama announced today that Ron Klain will be the Ebola czar. Klain will be responsible for coordinating the entire federal government’s response to the Ebola outbreak and will be reporting to to the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and the President’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice, according to a statement released by the White House. Klain previously served as Chief of Staff to Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, though he now works at a venture capital firm, Case Holdings, and General Counsel at Revolution LLC. He has no healthcare experience or expertise.

Typically the CDC would handle a disease outbreak, but after it became clear that the CDC was unable to assure Americans that it had Ebola under control, the White House apparently felt it was time to make a change.

The change comes as news of a third health worker that treated Thomas Eric Duncan has been quarantined. The health worker, who may have been exposed to Ebola while handling Duncan’s fluid samples without proper protocols, was on a cruise outside the country of Belize. The Belize government refused to allow the health worker to leave the cruise ship, to be sent back to the United States for treatment.

EBOLA RESPONSE COORDINATOR

The President has asked Ron Klain to take on the task of coordinating his administration’s whole of government Ebola response. He will report directly to the President’s Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco and the President National Security Advisor Susan Rice as he ensures that efforts to protect the American people by detecting, isolating and treating Ebola patients in this country are properly integrated but don’t distract from the aggressive commitment to stopping Ebola at the source in West Africa. Klain’s role is consistent with the view the President articulated in the Oval Office last night that Monaco, Rice and others have done outstanding work in confronting this challenge so far – but given their management of other national and homeland security priorities, additional bandwidth will further enhance the government’s Ebola response.

While Ebola in the United States has had a limited substantive effect with only one person dying so far, the psychological effects have been considerable especially as statements by the CDC seem to have been misleading and confused at times. Several schools that were believed to be in the area that the second nurse that has been diagnosed with Ebola traveled have been closed and the Pentagon shut down a parking lot when someone on a tour bus who claimed they traveled recently to West Africa vomited.

Some hysteria was inevitable given how both lethal the disease is and how ignorant most people are about it, but the CDC’s incompetent statements and behavior have exacerbated the public’s natural trepidation. Not that the mainstream media aren’t also doing their best to foment panic. Hopefully the new Ebola czar will at least be able to tamp down fear about Ebola, if not actually institute and enforce the protocols for treating Ebola that the CDC failed to do.

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.

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