'The Whole Thing Broke Down': Reporter Confronts Administration Officials on First Ebola Case

'The Whole Thing Broke Down': Reporter Confronts Administration Officials on First Ebola Case

Friday, White House officials held a press conference to address the Ebola crisis in light of the first case being diagnosed in Texas.

Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Burwell was grilled by a reporter who demanded to know how the American public can take seriously their claims there will be no major outbreaks with all the mis steps in the first case such as the hospital releasing Thomas Eric Duncan into the general population for two days after he reported his country of origin and was showing Ebola symptoms or the CDC not removing the infected bed sheets in the quarantined  home. 

The reporter asked, “Help me understand the stuff that you talked about in terms of preparedness here in this country, the conversations with the hospitals, the coordination with the local authorities and all, seems very dissonant that in the country for people who look at one of the first cases and see that the whole thing broke down every step of the way.”

“It broke down as the person back there was saying when he lied on the form,” Burwell said. “It broke down when the hospital turned him away. It broke down when the materials that were in his apartment haven’t been thrown away. It broke down — I mean, it feels like — to Americans like you guys are up here talking about we have this great and perfect system that’s going to be able to you know, contain this virus because we have done all this preparation and yet but it doesn’t look like it’s working.”

“How should the average person have confidence that — whether it’s the case in Howard or whether it’s some case somewhere else in the country at the moment that someone isn’t being turned away there that their temperature was taken in Africa but they are on a plane as we speak. So square the dissonance between your confidence and the fact that things don’t seem to be working.”

Burwell replied, “I think the American people should be confident for all the reasons we have stated and the president has spoken to. Because the public health infrastructure we have is so expert and extensive and is considerable.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN