The CDC was severely criticized by the punditocracy in the US during the Ebola scare. It was alleged they did not know what they were doing, and their lack of action in recommending travel restrictions and other measures was another failure of the Obama Administration, and put Americans at risk of a mass outbreak of Ebola here.
The outbreak in Africa is not over by a long shot, and my heart goes out to those who do not have the health care infrastructure that we do. And we can’t let down our guard now that the punditocracy has moved on to other ‘serious’ issues and the threat of Ebola has lessened. But let’s take a look at how the CDC recommendations fared so far.
Two nurses in a hospital in Texas contracted the disease from a patient who was mishandled by the hospital when he first went to it. He was misdiagnosed and released. Shortly after, he went back to the hospital and was admitted, and later died of the disease. The hospital did not follow the CDC procedures either when he was first diagnosed, or maybe after. He was contagious and was released into the general population. Fortunately, no one in the general population was infected. Two nurses who treated him while he was in the hospital contracted the disease, and one flew to Cleveland during the incubation period, but no one else contracted the disease from these nurses.
With the public, and health care industry, on high alert it appears that all the hospitals that have treated people with Ebola are following the recommendations from the CDC. This includes the hospital in Nebraska that has admitted serious cases directly from Africa, the hospital in Atlanta that treated the two nurses from Dallas, and the hospital in NY that treated the patient who became ill in the US after returning from treating people in Africa. Dozens, if not hundreds, of health care professionals successfully helped treat these patients and none have contracted the disease.
Two Governors (Christie and Coumo) ran around for a few days like their hair was on fire, trying to prevent people from entering the US from the African nations that are the center of the Ebola outbreak. They wanted to ban flights into New York and New Jersey from those nations (although there are no direct flights into the US from there). Christie successfully quarantined an asymptomatic nurse for a few days, and then when it was apparent she was not a carrier of the disease and Christie had no scientific backing for his actions he let her go home to Maine on a commercial flights, without lifting the 21 day quarantine period. The Governor of Maine then tried to quarantine her there but was unsuccessful. The prevailing medical opinion (that an asymptomatic person is not a danger to anyone else) was ignored by these politicians and now the Governors look like buffoons, not the CDC.
So, for those keeping score it is: CDC 1, Governors and pundits 0.
I truly hope the people most affected by Ebola get the help they need, and this dreaded outbreak abates. Until then I will listen to and take the advice of the CDC and the scientific community, and continue ignore those who try to score political points from this tragedy.