tv Consider This Al Jazeera October 24, 2014 10:00am-11:01am EDT
♪ welcome back to our special coverage of an ebola response hearing happening right now in capitol hill. i want to go erika pitzi right now, live outside bellevue hospital here in new york city. that is where the late esz american patient to be diagnosed is in isolation. erica, i understand we may get an update this morning from the mayor of new york city? >> yeah, that's right. the mayor is supposed to hold a press conference coming up at 11:00 am, and that's when we're supposed to get hopefully more details, and i would expect that we're also going to hear from the mayor, again, trying to calm the public. we know dr. spencer, the day before he reported that fever,
the symptom that he had potentially contracted ebola. he had been out and about in the city. riding the subways, taking an uber cab home. so obviously there is going to be a lot of folks and we're hearing from people saying do i need to be concerned. we heard from the governor this morning who said, no, everybody calm down, you do not need to be concerned about riding the subways. the governor said he was going to ride every single line that dr. sensor road. i would think you are going to see city officials trying to calm people down, because it is something that people are still concerned about. >> all right. erika pitzi thanks for that update. we're joined now by a doctor, an
epidemiologist at columbia university. from what i have heard so far is there a two-front battle here against ebola. the big battle is taking place in west africa, where the assistant secretary of defense said there is a logistics crisis. and here it seems they are working with regard to dr. spencer. >> right. in west africa this has been a logistic crisis from the beginning. these are tiny villages that are really difficult to get into. and we're talking about new york city, one of the largest cities in the world, with one of the largest departments of health. in new york city it seems many
of the logistic challenges faced in dallas have been answered. >> those seem to be making the difference between life and death. in this country, only one patient has died of ebola. several others have been cured. is survivability directly linked to these challenges? >> it's very difficult to say why somebody survived. but the more important metric is the transmissions. so there's a lot of fear about if i ride the subway or take uber aim going to get ebola? nobody has gotten ebola in the united states who hasn't directly taken care of a patient. the goal in the future is nobody gets the virus even if they are caring for patients.
>> doctor, thank you so much for your time in morning. i want to dip back into this hearing. this the is dr. luri now testifying. >> -- to see what could be accomplished as quickly as possible. thanks to past investments we have leveraged u.s.-government-wide assets to speed the testing of vaccines for ebola. these are allowing us to create counter measures in record time. our stra tee gik investments established in 2012, and newly established manufacturing network will be used to get ebola vaccines and therapeutics in virus for use.
we're also leveraging our strong ongoing used to scale up vaccine manufacturing. in addition our public health and healthcare systems must be prepared to deliver safe care at a moment's notice. investments in the hospital preparedness program, and the public health preparedness program have meant that departments are prepared to respond. since the epidemic began, we have been using these programs to ensure capacities were in place. we launched an aggressive national outreach program. the system we have in place is based on changes and lessons learned from each emergency. based on the first u.s. cases, hhs has already made adjustments
to minimize the spread of ebola. these include expanded aggressive education campaign for healthcare workers, and screening of passengers entering into the united states. we have been working cl clab -clab -- clab -clab -- clab -- collaboration efforts. mr. chairman and members of the committee, we take domestic preparedness very seriously. our top priority is protecting the health of americans. we have been working and continue to work long hours to prepare our nation for threats like this. with lessons learned from this
challenge, we have made tangible meaningful progress since 2006. as a result, hhs has been able to provide important help to our states and communities. thank you. >> okay. so that is the end of the testimony of another one of the witnesses. i want to bring back our doctor with columbia university. doctor we learned this morning the w.h.o. saying that 1 million doses of an ebola vaccine is going to be produced next year. how big of a deal is that? >> that's very exciting when we think about the future of ebola a generally. for this particular outbreak it's probably going to be a little bit too late. outbreaks like this, their
nature is they grow exponentially. the estimates suggest over a million cases potentially -- >> that's worst case scenario. >> yes, but the best-case scenarios also don't look that great. the second question is largely picking up on the theme of logistics, getting those vaccinations to people who need them to address the epidemic itself. and while this is really exciting news, to think it is going to be effective for this outbreak, i think it will be a little bit too late. >> what is the silver bullet? >> unfortunately it's logistics, which is a bunch of little bronze bullets. >> it's a slog in some ways. >> exactly. and at this point the investment
being made is a good first step. but we need people on the ground to take care of the patients and who can minimize the spread of this disease. >> one of the more interesting witnesses testifying today is a registered nurse and co-president of national nurses united. let's listen in. >> -- surgical masks with the option of n95 and face shieldings, leaving their necks exposed. two became infected. the new cdc guideline that protective equipment leave no skin exposed a direct testament of dallas whistleblower. we have called on president obama to invoke his executive
authority, and urged congress to mandate uniform national standards. these include, full body hazmat sui suits that meet the standard for blood penetration, and for viral penetration. air powered purefying respirators. and the additional -- and no additional patient care ali alignment. updates response to the changing nature of the disease. the precautionary principle must be utilized when developing
public health policy, designed to protect those who might be exposed. the risk of exposure to the population at large starts with the front line caregivers. it does not end there. as we have seen in ohio and texas, and the quarantine of airline passengers, improper protection can lead to public exposure. the response to ebola from u.s. hospitals and governmental sees has been dangerously inconsistent and inadequate. the lack of mandates and shifting guidelines with agencies and relying on volunteer compliance has left caregivers very vulnerable to inspection. our experience is hospitals will
as we are learning -- as we looked in light of what has happened, i believe the cdc and perhaps dod guidance could be revised. >> the first thing i would like to say is that we at dod are not doing direct patient care, so our operations are focused on those lines of effort of the command and control, the logistics -- >> but that does not mean no one is going to be exposed to the virus. the gentlemen who flew here first, patient one was not a
healthcare provider. >> i understand. but we have different categories of risk, and i would like to turn it over to explain the risk and mitigation for each one. >> thank you for the question. the protocols put in place we think exceed the cdc standard as you mentioned. we will be testing personnel twice a day while deployed, take their temperature, and to ensure that they -- if they were exposed and did become infected we would isolate them effectively. the time line that you discussed is the time line that will take place in country. come maneders -- >> but as we already know from the doctor in new york he indicated that his symptoms occurred at 11 days.
so isn't your ten days too short. >> the 21-damon -- day >> which means they could be traveling. >> yes, sir. >> which could result in additional exposure. >> yes, sir. but the 21-daytime line won't start until -- >> i am high of skeptical, i believe these need to be revised. the ohio delegation believe they need to be revised. the american public are concerned that the people are having too much contact with the american public. thank you. >> thank you. and general i just want to make sure you are clear. if someone like the doctor in new york that just tested
positive is in fact held for ten days, leaves on a cmercial airplane, arrives in new york, and on the 11th or 12th day, goes positive. your ten days will have done nothing and you won't get that opportunity to have them outside -- the quarantine of 21 days after you get back doesn't matter. the example from the doctor yesterday tells all of us that ten days isn't long enough if that person travels on a commercial airplane where they can infect the people on the airplane. >> perhaps i'm not being clear. the ten days is to attempt to limit their possibility for exposure while they are in country in liberia.
>>reporter: on. the western part of the capitol. as you can see behind me now security forces backed we the army and reinforcement by -- surrounding a house where they say five to six armed men are taking refuge. despite earlier today negotiating with the men to surrender. apparently it doesn't seem that [ technical difficulties ] >> and to work with those first responders working with ebola. we are hearing from someone who works in that field. they want to know what more can be done to make sure they have
the right equipment. >> libby i want to ask you about something else that nurse berger talked about, she is calling for the president to take executive action so that there are uniform national standards. have we heard any talk about that from the white house? >> well, the question is -- whether that's realistic given the supplies out there, or if efforts should be focused on having these key centers. any hospital around the country could have a walk-in patient come in with ebola. so there is a call to have uniform standards in the response and the equipment. so make sure there are not incidents like we saw in texas, but then to have these centers, where patients can go, where the focus can really be, be
heightened so that they can make sure the treatment is done in a clear and concerted way. we heard from nurse berger say that no nation would send soldiers into war unprotected and that nurses are the first line of defense, so he wants the best tools. >> this guy we're seeing talking right now is the senior vice president of intermagsal medical core. he says he has about 800 staff doctors able to treat ebola patients. and we emphasized that open air space must be contained. is that message that air space should not be closed, is that being heeded in washington?
>> it is by the white house, stephanie. we have heard from administration officials who said it might be politically a smart move to start shutting down flights, but it's not any smart thing to do according to the medical community. everything from flying a forth to making sure these aid workers can get -- [ technical difficulties ] >> so the white house is heeding that. and some republicans are calling for travel bans. they want to see [ inaudible ] to get a handle on the situation and that is coming into play in the midterm, because president
obama's approval ratings are really making a difference in some see senate battleground states. so the american public -- [ inaudible ] and that can also have [ inaudible ] how they feel about the white house and how they feel about democrats over all, and if they want to see change. [ inaudible ] professionals say let's try to get out of the politics and try to talk about the most [ inaudible ] way to contain the spread of ebola. and also [ inaudible ] so we don't talk as much about it getting out of control. >> all right. the chairman is speaking now.
[ inaudible ] >> so when the head of the cdc says you can't get it from sitting by somebody on the bus next to you, that is just not true. [ inaudible ] protective material got it, then that means he is wrong. when the head of the cdc says [ inaudible ] necks exposed, that was just wrong wasn't it? [ inaudible ] when in fact in somebody threw up on you -- >> i don't know if those nurses
were instructed that it was okay to be exposed -- >> when the head of the cdc said sometimes less -- more is not necessarily better. so the head of the cdc is wrong. we're allowing on protocols that have been proven to be true, [ inaudible ] if i understand correctly, it shows they didn't -- and why particularly well, they bought large amounts without a recognition that it was going to [ inaudible ]
and to the extent you can, i would appreciate a yes or no. >> yes. >> yes. >> doctor? >> it's somewhat more complicated question, ebola and flu are very different and spread very differently -- >> but i was using infectious diseases and the isolation, maintenance and so on, i wasn't trying to say those which can be aspirated or transmitted. the point is aids and lots of other diseases, we have had these for a long time. we are now seeing failures. are in your opinion, doctor, are these failures to a certain extent the said we were planning to prepare our healthcare subpoena and doctors and nurses, and in fact it appears as though we trained them but not to the
level we should. >> ebola has never been in this hemisphere before, and we're tightening up our policies and procedures as quickly as possible. >> mr. ross. >> to the extent the virus is transmitted in the same way, when we look at acquisition management, i would say yes. >> doctor? >> this is outside of our per vi view. >> letter. with that i'm go to the gentle lady in new york. >> thank you. i would like to thank all of our distinguished panelists to come here today during which is a critical time. first, i would like to take a moment to commend the healthcare professionals in new york city, for their outstanding response yesterday to our first case of
ebola. new york city has been working with new york state, the center for disease control to prepare for this, and our nation's largest city, based on what we know no -- now, i believe they have done absolutely everything right. the unck physician returned from west africa ten days ago, where he had been working on the ebola crisis. upon arrival into the united states, the doctor was fromminged by the cdc and the cust tolls and border control, and reported to new york city health authorities. yesterday when he reported he has 103 degree temperature, the healthcare system sprang into
action. he was transporteded to bellevue hospital. the hospital has been designated for the isolation, indication and treatment of potential ebola patients. governor has designated eight special hospitals in new york city. earlier this week, a specially trained cdc team visited bellevue and determined that the hospital is well prepared to treat patients. i -- i must say that i respond to your concerns about nurses and at the hospital there were clear protocols in place to ensure that nurses and all staff caring for the patients follow the strictest guidelines and
protocol. contact teams were ready to identify, notify, and if necessary quarantine any contact the patient may have had. the health department is now working with several agencies and the cdc is assisting us daily. they are in close communications with the health department, bellevue hospital, and providing technical assistance and resources. the cdc was there to help. three members were flown in last night from the team to join their colleagues already on the ground, and we are told that more professionals will come in
if needed. the response team will arrive within 24 hours, to any location in the united states where a case is reported. and so far is exactly what has happened. this week the cdc named new york city, new york state, as one of six states who will monitor travelers who's travels originates in sierra leone, liberia, originny, and arrive at one of five airports in the united states doing active screening. travelers without fever on symptoms will be followed up daily by state and local health departments for 21 days.
an active post-arrival monitoring will begin on monday october 27th. ebola is not airborne. someone infected with ebola canning only transmit the virus if they are experiencing symptoms a in direct contact with bodily fluids. i am told that the american health system is now actively reviewing two vaccines, they are in cynical trials and we are responding. my question is to you, doctor, about the hospital preparedness program. but first i would like to request that this statement that was me paired by the for america's health -- >> without objection it will
be -- placed in the record. >> all right. folk, the nih, the national institutes of health is going to be holding a briefly at 11:30 to explain why nina pham is being discharged. pare parentally she is now ebola free. she was one of the teammates working with mr. duncan. she came down with ebola, was then transferred to an elite unit in maryland, and apparently she is now well, ebola, free, and will be discharged. we're also waiting fora hearing
at 11:30. so this is the house oversight committee about the ebola response here in the united states. let's listen in. >> it is in fact one of the reasons that bellevue and other hospitals in new york city have been able to do such a tremendous job. and we will continue to support them in this program. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. mica. >> first of all, the chairman missed a word in his opening statement, and apologize for being -- oh, on a plane. the committee should know, you know, the country faces two incredible threats right now. one is eye sis, sa we have seen this week it threatens not only the united states but the world and our allies, but mr. issa and
i accompanied him, and we were in iraq last night. we left there at 6:00 in the evening and flew all night. this is how dedicated he is to make sure, that we're prepared over there. you get called on to do some tough stuff, but i saw our men and women and they are just awesome. and we had a chance to meet with some of our allies, but we face that threat nationally, domestically and internationally. we face ebola, a very serious threat. doctor, this ain't going away any time soon, is it? >> we're hoping that we could contain it if all steps are
followed -- >> okay. here is a report i read on the plane last night. it says experts predict 10,000 a week by early december. is that accurate? >> that's what the report says. >> the way things are going now. this is the report i got that probably the people most at risk are healthcare workers whether they are there or here. would that be correct? you had 404 cases of ebola in healthcare workers 232 died. >> that's correct. >> thank you, ms. berger for representing the nurses. do we know how those nurses were infected or exposed? how they caught ebola for sure? >> thanks to the whistleblowing
efforts, we know the nurses did not hav optimal standards -- >> okay. so we know they weren't properly protected. >> ore trained. >> okay. dr. lori, you said we're putting additional protocols in place. guidance, right? when the most recent. >> the most recent has been in the last couple of days -- >> what about -- >> it was changed in response to the -- >> okay. you said airport screening, when were the new guidelines -- >> the funneling into live airports was last week. >> okay. i can tell you it's not working.
all we have got to do is look at craig spencer. he was tested there. it's not working. he reported himself. and you see cases where -- again, we are not prepared still -- the whole -- part of this hearing is all about mr. roth's report. this is the inspector general's report, right? >> correct 1234689 >> didn't you just testify that in fact -- and it's in this, i think page 7 here, 200,000 respirators have gone beyond thir five-year manufacturing warranty -- >> the one at tsa -- >> on page 6, you said 84% of
the hand sanitizer is expired that you tested. >> that's correct. >> so how do i tell the american people that we spent millions of dollars for a pandemic, and you just heard how important it is to have the right protections. almost all of the equipment you report is either out of date, we don't know who is going to get it, is that right, dr. roth? >> mr. roth. >> the gentlemen's time is expired, but if you call everyone doctor you'll do all right. >> all right. thanks continuing to heat up there at that subcommittee hearing about the ebola response in this country, and whether pro to -- protocols are adequate.
>> welcome back. you're watching live coverage of the ebola response in the u.s. after another american was diagnosed with ebola here in new york city yesterday. i'm stephanie sy in new york, and i want to tell you about a positive development. nina pham, the dallas nurse who contracted ebola when she was ahelping an ebola patient, she's now ebola free. and she'll be holding a press conference explaining why she's being discharged, and