CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said “it’s hard to stop Ebola,” but declared that there will not be a “large outbreak” of the disease in the United States in an interview broadcast on Tuesday’s “Kelly File” on the Fox News Channel.
Frieden argued that the CDC’s information on the disease was “clear and correct.” And “we know how Ebola spreads, we know how to stop it, we know what is happening.”
He outlined what the CDC is doing to stop the disease, such as “making sure that the care of that nurse is safe and effective. We have more than 20 staff on the ground who are working around the clock making sure that those who care for her do it safely and that she get[s] the best possible care,” “making sure that if Ebola is found anywhere else in the country, we will put on to the ground immediately staff who can help the hospital do it right there,” and “reminding doctors everywhere to think Ebola.”
When host Megyn Kelly pressed Frieden on previous statements that Ebola would not spread further in the US, he said “we wish there hadn’t been an infection. It’s terrible that a healthcare worker got infected, but what we’re doing is making sure that we stop the chains of transmission.” He added “I think you have to step back and say ‘who is really at risk here?’ Well, in West Africa there’s a lot of risk. For the healthcare workers who are caring for Ebola patients, there’s a risk and we’ll work to minimize that and get it as low as possible.”
Asked for his position on a travel ban, he responded “we’ve already recommended that all nonessential travel to these countries be stopped for Americans. We’ve already put into place screening at the airport where people are leaving and screening at airports where people are arriving here.” He said that a flight ban would make stopping the virus in Africa harder and that charter flights alone were not sufficient to deliver the aid needed to stop the spread of the disease.
He also defended the CDC’s equipment protocols, arguing “more is not always better. Better is better. Sometimes you put on more layers, it’s harder to put on, harder to take off, you increase your risk of exposure. That’s what the science tells us.”
Frieden also reported that a buddy system for doctors treating infected patients and Ebola site managers were “now in place” and that he wished these rules were “in place earlier,” adding that if a patient was diagnosed with Ebola the CDC would “send a team within hours” to the hospital where the patient was located.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett