Hitting the links for his 200th golf game as president!
- The president’s game at Ft. Belvoir came as the nation fears news of continued Ebola infections
- Obama was first briefed about a Dallas nurse nurse who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and caught Ebola
- Her identity has not been released, but her home is under police guard as government officials like CDC chief Dr. Tom Frieden picked up the slack
While officials in Dallas scrambled to calm public hysteria over news of the first Ebola transmission on U.S. soil, Barack Obama hit the links for his 200th golf game as president. The president embarked on his leisurely outing to Virginia after taking a a few moments to speak with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell for an update on the worsening situation in Dallas. Accompanying the president to Ft. Belvoir were his crew of loyal White House aides including Joe Paulsen, Mike Brush and Marvin Nicholson according to press pool reports.
GOLFING THE CRISIS AWAY? WHAT DID OBAMA SAY BEFORE HEADING TO THE LINKS?
Just before running off to golf, and while the battle against ISIS continued to rage in the Middle East, Obama was first briefed America’s second Ebola diagnosis by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security Lisa Monaco. He later spoke to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell on the government’s response. According to pool reports, the president:
- Instructed the the CDC to complete their investigation into what went wrong at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital as quickly as possible.
- Ensured that CDCs sent out to Dallas work closely with state and local authorities.
- Instructed those in the trenches to share information learned quickly and broadly.
- Told federal authorities to take immediate additionoal steps should another Ebola patient be encountered
White House Dossier reported the golf game count Sunday afternoon.
This isn’t the first time Obama has been spotted on the greens instead of in the White House during a time of national distress. In August, after the beheading of American journalist James Foley, Obama issued a brief statement and then went for another round with his aides. The resulting backlash forced the White House to defend the president’s golfing. ‘Sports and leisure activities are a good way for release and clearing of the mind for a lot of us,’ Deputy White House Press Secretary Eric Schultz told reporters in August as the president vacationed for two weeks in Martha’s Vineyard. The Dallas home of the female nurse who has tested positive for Ebola has been sealed off with police standing guard outside. The nurse, who works at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, was part of a team caring for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan who died from the virus last week. Her identity has not been released – Dr. Daniel Varga, of the Texas Health Resources, said during a news conference Sunday the worker and her family have ‘requested total privacy.’ Varga said a ‘close contact’ of the nurse has been ‘proactively’ placed in isolation. A dog was reportedly inside the patient’s apartment on Marquita Avenue, which Rawlings assured is showing no symptoms of Ebola and will be taken care of. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawling said the hazardous materials unit of the Dallas Fire Department has cleaned up and decontaminated the shared areas of her apartment complex. Hazardous materials units have also cleaned out the nurse’s car. Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures.
‘DON’T PANIC’: DALLAS OFFICIALS SCRAMBLE TO CALM FEARS WHILE SEARCHING FOR EBOLA CASE #2’S CONTACTS
In Dallas, there was a yellow hazardous material drum on the lawn of the brick apartment where the Texas health worker lived and information pamphlets about the Ebola virus were stuffed in the doors in the surrounding blocks of the apartment. Neighbor Cliff Lawson, 57, said he was woken at 6:00 a.m. by two Dallas police officers who told him ‘don’t panic.’ ‘I went back to bed after that. There’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t wrap your house in bubble wrap,’ Lawson said.
A team is decontaminating the patient’s apartment and car, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said. The hospital said in a statement that the new patient, who had not been working for two days, had been taking her own temperature twice a day. The worker informed the hospital of a fever and was isolated immediately upon arrival there. A union for registered nurses said the Ebola case in Dallas shows that not enough is being done to educate health workers on how to manage patients who show signs of infection. ‘Handing out a piece of paper with a link to the Centers for Disease Control, or telling nurses just to look at the CDC website – as we have heard some hospitals are doing – is not preparedness,’ said Bonnie Castillo, a registered nurse and senior official with National Nurses United.
A reverse 911 call was sent out to a four-block radius of the complex and a team of 19 epidemiologists and disease detectives fanned out to speak with everyone in the area who came to their door. Flyers were left at all homes within a four block radius. Libby Franks and Kara Lutley, both 25, live about a block from the health care worker’s apartment. They said without a lineline they missed the calls and no-one had knocked on their door or left any notifications. Lutley told Dallas News: ‘It’s hard because it’s her privacy and you don’t want to broadcast her name all over the world because she’s sick, but it’s a fine line. ‘She’s a nurse, so she knows what it could be,’ Franks said.’I hope she was being careful. I’m sure she was.’ Varga said that the worker wore a gown, gloves, mask and shield. He did not identify the the nurse and says the family of the worker has ‘requested total privacy.’ Varga says the health care worker reported a fever Friday night as part of a self-monitoring regimen required by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said another person also remains in isolation, and the hospital has stopped accepting new emergency room patients. Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died Wednesday in Dallas.
‘We knew a second case could be a reality, and we’ve been preparing for this possibility,’ Dr. David Lakey, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement Sunday. ‘We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.’ Health officials have interviewed the patient and are identifying any contacts or potential exposures. They said people who had contact with the health care worker after symptoms emerged will be monitored based on the nature of their interactions and the potential they were exposed to the virus. Officials said they also received information that there may be a pet in the health care worker’s apartment, and they have a plan in place to care for the animal. They do not believe the pet has signs of having contracted Ebola. Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas County’s top administrative official, said the unidentified health care worker is a ‘heroic’ person who ‘was proud to provide care to Mr. Duncan.’ He said the health care worker’s family has requested privacy because they are ‘going through a great ordeal.’
SPREAD OF A DEADLY PLAGUE: HOW WILL AMERICA CONTAIN EBOLA? WHEN IS EBOLA CONTAGIOUS?
Only when someone is showing symptoms, which can start with vague symptoms including a fever, flu-like body aches and abdominal pain, and then vomiting and diarrhea.
HOW DOES EBOLA SPREAD?
Through close contact with a symptomatic person’s bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed. That’s why health care workers wear protective gloves and other equipment. The World Health Organization says blood, feces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat. The Texas Department of State Health Services said Sunday that a health-care worker who provided hospital care for the first patient to die from Ebola in the United States has tested positive for the virus. The worker was not identified and it was unclear what level of care the worker provided or when the health worker came into contact with the patient. If the diagnosis is confirmed, it would be the first known case of Ebola being transmitted in the U.S.
WHAT ABOUT MORE CASUAL CONTACT?
Ebola isn’t airborne. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said people don’t get exposed by sitting next to someone on the bus. ‘This is not like flu. It’s not like measles, not like the common cold. It’s not as spreadable, it’s not as infectious as those conditions,’ he added.
WHO GETS TESTED WHEN EBOLA IS SUSPECTED?
Hospitals with a suspected case call their health department or the CDC to go through a checklist to determine the person’s level of risk. Among the questions are whether the person reports a risky contact with a known Ebola patient, how sick they are and whether an alternative diagnosis is more likely. Most initially suspicious cases in the U.S. haven’t met the criteria for testing.
HOW IS IT CLEANED UP?
The CDC says bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill Ebola. Dried virus on surfaces survives only for several hours. More than 4,000 people have died in the ongoing Ebola epidemic centered in West Africa, according to World Health Organization figures published Friday. Almost all of those deaths have been in the three worst-affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Ebola spreads through close contact with a symptomatic person’s bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed. The World Health Organization says blood, feces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat. Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S., died Wednesday in Dallas. Duncan grew up next to a leper colony in Liberia and fled years of war before later returning to his country to find it ravaged by the disease that ultimately took his life. Duncan arrived in Dallas in late September, realizing a long-held ambition to join relatives. He came to attend the high-school graduation of his son, who was born in a refugee camp in Ivory Coast and was brought to the U.S. as a toddler when the boy’s mother successfully applied for resettlement. The trip was the culmination of decades of effort, friends and family members said. But when Duncan arrived in Dallas, though he showed no symptoms, he had already been exposed to Ebola. His neighbors in Liberia believe Duncan become infected when he helped a pregnant neighbor who later died from it. It was unclear if he knew about her diagnosis before traveling. Duncan had arrived at a friend’s Dallas apartment on Sept. 20 – less than a week after helping his sick neighbor. For the nine days before he was taken to a hospital in an ambulance, Duncan shared the apartment with several people.