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tv   The Reid Report  MSNBC  October 15, 2014 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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hello, i'm joy reid and this is "the reid report." we begin with breaking news from the white house and cdc about the status of ebola in the u.s. at 2:15 eastern we will bring you the white house briefing live. it comes ahead of a cabinet meeting that president obama has called for 3:30 p.m. today. the president will make brief remarks afterwards. moments ago we received an update from the centers of disease control and the secretary of health and human services on the third patient to be treated for ebola in dallas. so, here's what we know right now. the new patient, a health care worker who had close contact with thomas eric duncan tested positive for ebola just over 12 hours ago. she'll be transported to emory hospital in atlanta later today. we also know the cdc is working to identify 132 passengers who were on frontier airlines flight 1143 from cleveland to dallas with the woman on board on monday.
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and we're hearing that cleveland city officials will hold a news conference any minute now regarding potential contacts the health care worker may have had. earlier today we learned this newly diagnosed patient lived alone and she was isolated within 30 minutes of her arrival at texas press pa baron hospital in dallas yesterday. crews have completed a preliminary cleaning of the outside of her apartment. crews are expected to sanitize the inside of her home this afternoon. msnbc's craig melvin joins me live from dallas. craig, do we know any more about this health care worker and whether she treated mr. duncan the first time he was triaged or the second time when he came back really sick? >> reporter: the cdc director says at this point it appears as though she had contact with mr. duncan before he was -- before he was sent into isolation. the 28th, the 29th, the 30th. those are the three dates that he indicated she was most likely to have had contact with duncan. we can also tell you that she
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has three family members that live in cleveland. this is where this news conference is something to be happening that you mentioned. they also have some sort of connection to kent state university. we're expecting that news conference, that some of this will address. kent state sent out a news release a short time ago saying at no point was this woman, this second -- the second ebola victim, at no point was she on campus, but she did have contact with those three folks. we're told they're also being monitored. meanwhile, you indicated that the folks on that frontier airline flight, the 132 passengers, one thing we'll learn in the news conference from the dhs director -- excuse me, the hhs director, is the risk is extremely low that any folks on that plane have contracted ebola, but they went on to say some of those folks may be monitored. they assume, perhaps, the folks sitting next to her, sitting very close to her. those folks might be monitored. >> craig, so we not that this is one of the people who knew she treated thomas eric duncan
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prooem presumably and was probably as a health care worker herself was monitoring herself and watching for any kind of signs. the idea she shouldn't have flown on monday. she was in that group that was exposed. she had a 99.5 degree temperature. however the cdc's threshold is 100.4. what are the cdc or health officials you're talking to say about that fact, that she was under that threshold when she took that flight? >> reporter: we should note that temperature threshold has been lowered recently. at one point it was 101 and change and lowered to 100. we're trying to learn precisely when they lowered the temperature threshold. one thing that caught me from the news conference, the cdc director said, quote, she should not have been allowed to travel by virtue of the fac she was in an exposed group. we've got a 29-year-old health care worker who knew that she treated thomas eric duncan. she knew that she had this elevated temperature, 99.5. she was in the self-monitoring
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group. she had been checking her temperature dut she still decided to get on that plane. the cdc director saying a short time ago that that was going to be one of the protocols, one of the rules that was going to have to change. that dozens of folks being monitored right now, these folks are being told that under no circumstances can they get on commercial aircraft. >> i mean, how do you -- i mean, how do you enforce that? at the end of the day, unless the cdc is somehow connecting with the tsa and somehow it's pinged in the airport, is this just self-enforcement? >> reporter: well, joy reid, that's the question. i think that's one of the -- that's one of the questions being tossed about here, one of questions they're trying to get an answer to, how do they enforce that, make sure these folks aren't getting on planes? keep in mind, you know, theoretical theoretically, you still have a large number of people out there that have had indirect contact with these folks, so do we even know? i mean, do we know all the folks
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who have come into contact at the airport? i mean, this is something -- it's worth mentioning here in dallas, we heard this a short time ago at the news conference, there is a considerable likelihood here we're going to see more cases in the dallas/ft. worth area. we heard that from health officials a short time ago. the mood on the ground, as you might imagine, a bit tense. i flew in an hoir and a half, two hours ago, i flew into dallas a number of times. i have not seen people wearing masks before. i saw four, five people wearing those masks. we know, of course, that's not how ebola is actually spread. but that speaks to the temperature of the mood on the ground here. >> yeah, absolutely. craig melvin, thank you very much. appreciate it. dr. corcorey hebert, i'm go to go right back to you on the same question i was asking nbc correspondent craig melvin, because if people are being told
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under no circumstances should they travel if they're in this concentric circle of people who had contact with mr. duncan, the first time he was triaged or the second time he was treated, how is that going to be enforced? this is self-policing we're asking for even among health care workers, right? >> i'm done with self-policing. i'm done with it. why are we acting like this not an emergency situation? we know that we don't want people to panic, but we also know a person came into that hospital with -- was charged with 103-degree fever. came back into the hospital and no one knew at the time he came back the second time that he had ebola, which means there were a lot of people that were exposed at that time. let's think about it. you know, when we talk about the ability for people to self-police, that's over. i mean, i think the cdc now should really step up and say, look, if you were exposed at that hospital, you can't go anywhere. guess what? we're going to have somebody at
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your door that's not allowing you to go somewhere. i know that sounds bad, but let's be real. we don't need this kind of hysteria running around the country because odds are, on that airplane today, where that lady didn't use common sense and got on the airplane and potentially exposed people, let's think about it like this, when mr. duncan came over from liberia, what about all those people that were on the plane with him? have they quarantined them? no. you've got to think about this. we know that dallas is not doing a really good job. they didn't do a good job at that hospital. even a broken clock is right twice in a day. let's hope they can get some things right now. >> thomas eric duncan's nephew has written a scathing op-ed in "the dallas morning news" and he said among the most offensive errors, and saying the media's biggest error was he knew he was exposed to ebola. that's not true. he said the uncle -- the stories of his uncle helping a pregnant woman who was sick with ebola are also -- they sound
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courageous but thomas eric duncan personally hold him they didn't happen. so if a person doesn't know they're exposed, even they know they're at risk, which happened to this nurse, but doesn't necessarily have been exposed, is there a function for a person then to self-segregate? you know what i mean? >> sure. >> the woman is under the threshold, 99-degree temperature, not 100. if there's no regulation forcing her to not to go into public, then there's nothing to keep her home. >> right. well, let's look at a couple of things. i want to you to think about -- a lot of people tonight don't know the fever threshold by the world health organization is 100.4. they're at the old 98.6. that was changed years ago. people out there listening, that's not just for ebola. that's for everything. 100.4. now, when we talk about, you know, when the ability for a health care facility to be able to take care of these patients and to be able to self-police, we can't expect people that have
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been exposed, to be honest, the hospital employees are probably irate. we have the nurses' union, they're irate. i have a quote here from deborah burger who said what she saw was, quote/unquote, carelessness, flimsy gown, protective gear that saw parts of the body exposed. so the health care workers are kind of mad, so they're not really thinking about, you know, traveling or not traveling, trying to not expose you because they're kind of irate. i also want people to remember that when we talk about a person getting on an airplane, should we now require that we ask that question? should -- have you been exposed to the ebola virus? have you traveled? should we ask that of everyone like we ask, you know, have you had -- have you packed your own bags and all those types of things that we ask? i think we should now ask that. the reason why is because what if that lady became overwhelmed with symptoms and threw up on the person next to her in that
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plane? that's when the rubber hits the road. >> yeah, absolutely. i want to talk to you more about that. we do have pictures now of the apartment of this next victim, live pictures of the apartment being cleaned. those are the crews working on that right now. talk about this three feet rule. people need to understand that if you're out there in the world out there in sheboygan and you haven't had any contact with this patient or one of these nurses, this is a risk that is in a concentric circle of people, direct contact with the patient. talk about this three-feet rule and what that means. >> right. basically, i mean, once again we talk about common sense things. we know this is not spread by respiratory droplets. however, i am going to put out there, we know there are been some cases of animal-to-animal transition with no direct contact. it was done by the health service of canada. what we know now in the united states, it has to be direct contact. if you're without -- outside of a three-foot radius, the odds of you having any type of contact with that person, to be able to
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spread a bodily fluid, it's pretty much zero. that's the reality. but if you've been exposed and you have -- your neck was exposed and you actually saw the patient and you were treating the patient, your neck was exposed and then someone touches your neck and then rubs their eye, that means you can get it. that's within three feet. so, we need to make sure we keep those boundaries. i mean, i was on an airplane this morning and i got off the airplane and i -- you know, somebody recognized me in the airport. i went to shake their hand. they're like, nah, man, just fist bump. we're working with ebola. i'm like, it's like that? but that's the reality. we cannot let our irrational fears play into something that's going to make us have really bad decisions. and that's what's going go to happen. at same sometime, if anyone triaged this poor man the first time he came in with the 103 temperature, you're talking about anyone who triaged him the first time, they should be looking sharp and not getting on
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a plane, for instance. >> exactly. and everybody else that was sitting in that -- in that waiting room with him. if he was vomiting, nobody knew he had ebola. >> dr. herbert, can you hang out with us? >> absolutely. >> kristin welker is now with me. the white house now circling the wagons. you have the president meeting with officials. there's going to be a press conference today. what are we expecting to hear out of washington today? >> reporter: president obama will hold a meeting with some of the cabinet secretaries who are in charge of dealing with this ebola situation, and then we'll hear from the president after that. i anticipate he'll try to reassure the american people in the wake of learning that this second health care worker has now been diagnosed with ebola. in texas, among the questions for the president for this administration today, who
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specifically is in charge of this response? we're hearing more and more from sylvia matthews burwell. she was on morning shows earlier today talking about this. that's going to be one of the main questions. josh earnest expected to start his briefing. that was postponed. president obama canceled his planned travel for today. he was going to be campaigning with the governor of connecticut. >> and i know you'll be monitoring all of that. thank you very much. we appreciate that report. want to let you know cleveland mayor frank jackson is giving a press conference. let's dip in and listen to that. >>. >> see if there's anything that may wind up being suspicious to them, so i really appreciate you coming here for that also. now, the health department, ems, emergency medical system and several other partners and agencies we've been working in
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preparing for potential ebola situation in cleveland. that's been a discussion so far because there was no reason to put it into an action. but the health director will talk to you about actions that were taken when she speaks. today we were notified by frontier airlines and the cdc that an airplane at hopkins transported a person now diagnosed with ebola. now, the cdc is handling that situation and is really on top of that. however, we are taking additional steps and an abundance of caution. it's important to note at this point, to the best of our knowledge, that we have not had any cases of ebola in the city of cleveland. just the same, this is a very important public health issue. and it is important that we all
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stay focused on the facts and sharing information so that we can protect the interest of the public. and the public is aware of what she should do and have an understanding of this virus. now, i will introduce to you, director pirilla, who will discuss what we're doing, what we have been done and what people should be doing in regards to ebola. before she speaks, i want to thank the council members who are here, particularly council president. also, i know many of you have been trying to get in to talk to director smith. he will not be speaking, but he will be available for when we get into the question and answer period. he'll be available for that. director? >> thank you, mayor. >> my name is toinette
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parrilla. director of cleveland department of public health. you're welcome. well, good afternoon. i would just like to reiterate, my name is toinette parrilla. i would like to emphasize what the mayor has stated. there are no current cases in the city of cleveland at this time. however, due to the need to have situation awareness, i have activated our emergency command center. as the instant commander for the city of cleveland in emergency preparedness situations, i believe it has risen to that level for the main focus being, again, situation awareness. this has positioned us to introduce our joint information
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system, which allows for us to manage communication and information at a local, regional, state and if needed, national level. at this point, we believe having that high level of transparency related to the cases, related to the situation, is what we need to give to the public. gerngs i would like to emphasize, there are no current cases in the city of cleveland at this time. what the cdc has recommended for the cleveland department of public health and all local health agencies and health systems is to ensure that we have the capability and the capacity to detect, to protect and to respond. within the cleveland department of public health, our role specifically is to educate the public, to inform them of what they need to know on how to protect themselves.
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our role also consists of having the capability and the capacity to trace, to track and to contain. if needed, we will activate containment/quarantine measures. but once again, we have no cases currently in cleveland. i would like to inform all that the community must be prepared. as i've stated earlier, knowledge is power when it comes to public health situations, with what we're seeing currently with the ebola. i would like to briefly discuss how ebola is contracted just to provide all clevelanders, our public, with the know-how so that they can protect themselves from these types of circumstances. ebola is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids. you must have direct contact in
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those instances. if you do not have direct contact, you are not at risk. if you have any questions related to contracting the ebola virus, we encourage you to contact the cdc 1-800 phone line. 1-800-cdc-info. again, that number is 1-800-cdc-info. we have had several communications with cdc this morning. i had direct conversation with the medical director for odh and we have had approximately three to four conference calls today, again, keeping us aware as far as what's going on with the recent case that you are all aware about as relates to ms. vinson. at this time, i would like to -- if there are no questions, i would like to now hand it over to the ems director. >> i have a question. ms. vinson. >> what i know about ms. vinson
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at this time is she's approximately -- ranges from the age of 26 to 28. she flew into cleveland to prepare for her wedding. she came in to visit her mother and her mother's fiancee. she departed from cleveland hopkins on monday, the 13th, and she arrived into dallas that afternoon. >> any additional questions about ms. vinson or anything else should be directed to the cdc. thank you. >> when you say you activated the command center, what does that mean specifically? what is the actual nature of this response? >> thank you for asking. what that means is that the department of public health has a response, emergency responsibility plan. what i've activated are all of my appropriate team members who have very specific roles to meet at this command center for situation awareness.
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so that we are in constant communication, that we have up-to-date information to protect all of our clevelanders and all of our visitors. >> so you have a command central established someplace, here in sfe hall or -- >> it's 205 st. clair. >> many of you have been to our emergency operation center for previous press event, so as you know, that's a secure location. >> what kind of -- >> you were listening to toinette parrilla, cleveland department of public health. she was going through some of the things the city of cleveland is doing. they've activated emergency operation system to make sure there's local, regional, state systemtry. she said the mayor also, mr. jackson, i believe his name is, the mayor of cleveland also
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emphasizing there are no current cases of ebola in the city of cleveland. but really emphasizing that informational aspect. let's bring back dr. corey herbert. we had a doctor on yesterday and he talked about nigeria's experience in eradicating ebola. he put information at the top of the list of things the country did right. is it important that cleveland and the country get centralized information so people don't panic? >> absolutely. fear will spread faster than ebola. let's be clear. we have to know that the coordination of the systems of medical management in this country, they must be coordinated. there must be synergy between the agencies of the federal government, the state agencies as well as the local hospitals and state representatives so that we can have a symbiotic relationship when it comes to dealing with this threat. if we don't, that's going to be
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the spread. it's going to be the lack of our symbiosis. if we don't do that, everybody is on an island. if we don't have a centralized area where everybody can be exposed to the information that's appropriate, then we're not going to be able to train everybody and retrain them the way they need to be trained. they were trained once. >> they just need to be reminded. >> exactly. >> there's something to be said about -- i was reading a piece in "the huffington post" about the advancement of antibiotics has created complacency within the medical community because we don't have outbreaks of communicatable disease. in the early 0th century we had massive outbreaks of the flu. as you pointed out, the flu kills many, many more times people than what we're seeing here with ebola. but is there a sense of complacency within hospitals because you do have antibiotics
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that stop the spread of communicatable diseases. >> one of my best mentors said, when you hear hoof beats behind you, think horses, not zebras. that means common things are common. of course, we're lulled into a sense of complacency because we're always hearing horses. this is the land of zebra now. we must look for uncommon things. that's why we have to stay on top of asking the important questions. the questions that would have stopped this entire thing if those people would have asked the appropriate questions as soon as that young man came to the hospital. once they asked him, communicated that information to the appropriate folks. that's the bottom line. we do get lulled into complacency because we don't see this kind of stuff. now, this is not a dress rehearsal, folks. this is real life. >> we now know ms. amber vinson is the new patient who contracted ebola. she had gone to cleveland to see her mom and fiancee. they are added to that
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concentric circle who wl now be monitored. that's the situation. we're still waiting for the white house briefing. dr. hebert is staying here with you. you pay your auto insurance premium every month on the dot. you're like the poster child for paying on time. and then one day you tap the bumper of a station wagon. no big deal... until your insurance company jacks up your rates. you freak out. what good is having insurance if you get punished for using it? hey insurance companies, news flash. nobody's perfect. for drivers with accident forgiveness, liberty mutual won't raise your rates due to your first accident. see car insurance in a whole new light. liberty mutual insurance. the exhilaration of a new engine. painstakingly engineered without compromise. to be more powerful... and, miraculously, unleash 46 mpg highway. an extravagance reserved for the privileged few. until now. hey josh! new jetta? yeah.
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here's what we are watching as we follow the latest news on ebola in the u.s. in an hour, president obama will meet with cabinet members to coordinate the administration's response to the virus. he postponed a political trip to the east to focus on ebola. amber vinson, second health care worker diagnosed was on a frontier airline flight from cleveland to dallas. the cdc is saying she should not have been allowed to fly. it's reaching out to the 132 passengers who were on that plane. ms. vinson is being transferred to emory university hospital in atlanta. that's where gabe gutierrez joins me on the phone. gabe, when are we expecting ms. vinson to arrive? >> that's a good question, joy.
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the nurse is expected to arrive at emory university hospital later today, but we don't have any details on the transport at this point. we're still waiting to hear what some of the details are from emory officials. now, emory, as you know, has treated two other americans successfully. dr. kent brantly and nancy writebol and they were released. hospital officials are used to this but other patients were transferred from west africa. this is the first patient bright to emory domestically. we're told a big internal town hall happened at emory earlier today. it was broadcast to all hospital facilities for people to ask questions, about their preparedness for ebola, however the movement of the patient, we understand, was not mentioned in that town hall. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. joining me now with more details is nbc's tom costello. tom, i guess let's talk about that flight, the 132 passengers
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that were on that frontier airlines flight to dallas. what is the status of trying to find, track down and talk to those folks? >> reporter: frontier airlines says it's really up to the cdc now to try to reach out to those individuals who were on that plane. really as a courtesy and out of an abundance of caution. we say that a lot but it's important to remember we have heard time and time and time again from health officials that the only way to contract this virus is if you are exposed to bodily fluids. because this nurse reportedly was not sick at the time she was-h she was on the plane. she may have had a very low grade fever of 99.5, but we're told was not coughing, was not vomiting or anything of the source. the exposure risk to anybody on board would be very low. out of this abundance of caution they're reaching out to people on board that plane and trying to alert them and be aware of the situation. here's the symptoms to be just aware of should something develop over the next couple of
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days. frontier airlines has taken that plane out of service for a thorough cleaning. it did fly on, back to cleveland the next morning. it had a cleaning that night, by the way, want but not a cdc type cleaning. on to cleveland, ft. lauderdale, on to atlanta. it was a tip airbus in service for frontier airlines for about 24 hours before they took it out of service for a thorough cleaning. >> we obviously hear people saying the woman shouldn't have gotten on the plane. this really is about self-policing, the people who knew they had contact with this patient in dallas. correct me if i'm wrong, but there really isn't a system that connects the cdc. lots say they have a list of people they know they're monitoring. does that list somehow connect to any kind of a no-fly list? is there some other federal agency, a tsa agency, that could ping someone in theory -- >> yes. >> tell us about it. >> there is. however, this is a cdc no-fly list. you may recall it was used about
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eight years ago or so when an individual was trying to travel and he had been exposed to a particularly dangerous form of tb, if my memory serves. however, at the moment, we don't believe there is the synergy yet, the link, between those individuals who may have treated an ebola patient in a texas hospital and that cdc no-fly list because someone might potentially become ill. i think, though, that may be where this is going. you know, what you heard today from the cdc director was saying that, listen, we have to put in procedures where if somebody is even in that watch group, right? somebody who treated a patient, they're asymptomatic, but not past the 21 days, they should not be flying and there should be some mechanism to ensure they don't fly. that may be where this decision is going, beyond simply asking people to police themselves. that's not going to be an easy task because we're talking about the government and bureaucracy.
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more than a million people fly every day in this country. it's very, very challenging. you've been through a tsa line. you know sometimes it depends on how good the screener is and whether you think he or she is actually doing their job. now imagine if they've got to screen people for temperatures. i mean, this is -- this is a huge schal eng. by the way, there's one other footnote. as of tomorrow, the additional airports are coming online with their screenings. there you see them right there. they're going to be atlanta, o'hare, newark and dulles airport, in addition to jfk which started on saturday. in this case we're talking about people coming from west africa, the 150 people or so every day who transit through those airports, coming from west africa. so far, no flight restrictions on those individuals. the idea is, of course, to be screening passengers as they arrive from those countries, arriving into those four key airports, intolooking for any s of temperatures or anything else. the coast guard is assisting the
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cdc and border patrol in that. as you might expect, those agencies are stretched. >> we're waiting still on that white house press briefing. tom, we have hit on, in this discussion, really what is the crack in the whole idea when you have people saying, well, we'll stop all flights coming from west africa. that isn't possible because you could always fly to spain and then to the united states. and then buns you're inside the united states, have you this young woman who wasn't flying in from west africa. she was going to cleveland and back. so the idea is there's such a big spider web of flights going to many directions, it does seem we have to go in the direction of a system that alerts the people in the airport. as you said, they're not even expert in catching disease. >> and, you know, let's also keep in mind one more thing. she apparently had a low-grade fever of 99.5 before getting on that plane. that is still below the cdc threshold for which you're supposed to at that point begin certain protocols for treatment. she was below that threshold. so, did she act inappropriately? you know, it's hard -- this --
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these are real difficult questions. this is now what the health authorities have to come to terms with. >> absolutely. i want to bring dr. hebert back in. that's really the issue -- you know, what i have to hold you for a second. the white house briefing is beginning. let's go to d.c. and check that out. >> we'll go straight to questions. the president is convening a meeting at 3:30 in the cab dmet room with members of his team who are responsible for responding to this -- to the ebola diagnosis in texas. i'm manifested for that meeting, so i need to leave here about 3:25. it would be a little embarrassing to walk in late. yes. and so i don't want to be late. in that spirit, do you want to get us started? >> reporter: absolutely. can you give us any more details on the meeting that you said you're going to? you know, what is the president going to get out of it? who are some of the people participating? and does this in any way affect the travel that's on the schedule for tomorrow?
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>> darlene, the president is convening members of his team who have been responsible for responding to the ebola situation in this country. the president wants to do that because he wants to make sure that all of the needed resources at the federal government are being deployed to deal with this specific situation. we'll have a full manifest of those who are participating in the meeting for you. at the conclusion of the meeting, you'll have the opportunity to hear directly from the president himself. about what decisions were made in the course of that meeting. at this point, i don't have any changes to tomorrow's schedule to announce. we're obviously operating in a pretty dynamic environment right now, so we'll do our best to keep you updated. if there is something that requires a change in the president's schedule, then we'll definitely let you know. >> can you explain why he thought it was necessary to cancel both trips, both stops in new jersey and connecticut, to stay here and have this meeting? >> well, obviously, we have a second diagnosis of ebola. again, this is a health care
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worker who was working to treat the patient at texas presbyterian hospital. the first individual who had been diagnosed with ebola in this country. so, that -- that indication -- that indicates the seriousness of this situation. and the president believed that it was important to convene the senior members of his team who were responsible for coordinating this response. and the president was not able to host that meeting and travel at the same time. and what we have always indicated is that the president of the united states is president wherever he goes. and that's true 24/7. but what's also true is if the president determines it's necessary for him to return to the white house to fulfill his responsibilities as the leader of the country and as commander in chief, he'll alter his schedule accordingly. the decision we made about today's schedule is consistent with that guiding principle. >> reporter: i know this question was asked yesterday. i wanted to ask it again today.
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does the president and the white house, is there continued confidence in dr. frieden to lead the cdc at this time? and also, is the administration going to rethink the idea to appointment someone to be an ebola czar, given this new urgency? >> the answer to your first question is, yes. throughout this process and dating back to march, i might add, this administration has been guided by the science. by our medical experts who have experience in dealing with ebola outbreaks. for almost four decades now, the global health community, led by the united states, has been dealing with ebola outbreaks in africa. and as we are dealing with a public health situation in this country, we continue to be guided by the advice of medical experts and scientists, who have knowledge in this field and can use that knowledge to protect the american people. as it relates to a so-called ebola czar, what i -- i'll
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reiterate what we've said in the past on this, which is that we've designated very clear lines of responsibility in terms of which agencies are responsible for which aspects of this response. we've got cdc and usaid personnel who are operating in west africa to work with those local governments, to try to meet the urgent humanitarian public health needs in those countries. have you a department of defense that is responding to the orders of the presidents of the united states, to set up enhanced logistical capacity, so that the international community can benefit from improved logistics as they seek to move equipment and personnel into the region, to try to confront this outbreak. you've got department of homeland security staffers that are responsible for securing our transportation infrastructure and monitoring individuals who are entering this country at ports of entry across -- across the map. and then in addition to that, you have hhs and cdc officials who are responsible for coordinating with state and
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local public health authorities to ensure that the american public is safe. and there are clear lines of authority for each of those sets of responsibilities. at the same time, have you the president's chief homeland security adviser, lisa monaco, working here at the white house, who's responsible for integrating the efforts of all of the agencies and making sure that they have the access to the information and resources that they need to dough their job. all of that said, we have said on a number of occasions that if additional resources or if additional staffing is necessary to augment the response, then we won't hesitate to consider it. but at this point, the lines of authority are clear. and the person responsible for coordinating those efforts here at the white house continues to do that work well. steve? >> reporter: you're not inclined to appointment a czar? >> well, again, there are clear lines of responsibility that are in place. there is an individual here at
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the white house, highly competent individual, lisa monaco, who's responsible for integrating that response. again, if we determined that additional resources or additional staffing or additional expertise is needed to augment this response, then we won't hesitate to take advantage of it. >> reporter: is the president wanting to know how this health care worker was able to get on a commercial plane? >> well, there are -- there are a number of things we're eager to know. the first is, and this is the subject of an investigation by cdc officials, is to determine exactly how this virus was transmitted from the so-called index patient in dallas to at least two of the health care workers who were treating him. that is the focal point of an investigation that the cdc is expediting at the direct order of the president of the united states. the other thing that the cdc is reviewing are the protocols that were in place to protect the health of the health care
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workers who were treated this patient. it's not clear exactly what protocols were in place and how those protocols were implemented. and the cdc wants to try to get to the bottom of that, so that they can offer advice to medical professionals and hospital administrators and others across the country about the protocols that are needed to ensure that their health care workers remain safe. what the cdc is also doing and they're expending significant resources to do this, is to do contact tracing of the two health care workers that have contracted the virus. and that involves, as it sounds, tracing the contacts these individuals had after they got sick. and so, you saw the news release from cdc and from one of the domestic airlines today indicating that they were contacting passengers who were
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on the same flight as this individual to make sure that they were educated about the risk to which they were exposed. now, what our medical experts tell us is that risk is quite low. but it is important for people to have access to that information so that they can get the facts about what sort of risk they're facing. again, that risk is low. and what steps should be taken, if necessary, in the unlikely event that they do start to display some symptoms. >> reporter: yesterday the president said the ebola epidemic in the united states is highly unlikely. is that statement still true today? >> it is true. it's guided by science. that's what our experts say. the experts say that because the way ebola is transmitted is very clear and something that is not likely to happen in the united states. let's walk through what that is. ebola is not like the flu. ebola is not transmitted through the air. ebola is not transmitted through
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the food that we eat in this country. and it's not transmitted through the water that we drink in this country. the only way that an individual can get ebola is by coming into close contact with the bodily fluids of an individual that is already exhibiting symptoms of ebola. that's why, in this case, tragically we've seen two health care workers that obviously were in very close contact with the index ebola patient contract this virus. how exactly that transmission occurred is something that remains under investigation. but the risk to which they were exposed was elevated by the fact that they were in close contact with this patient, trying to meet that person's medical needs. >> reporter: can i follow-up? >> sure. >> reporter: the president used the word epidemic. yesterday he used the word outbreak, chances are exceedingly low. isn't what we've had in dallas now an outbreak? we've had multiple transmissions?
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>> well, i think there is a medical professional who could probably give you a specific definition of what actually constitutes an outbreak. my laymen understanding, which i think the vast majority of the public would agree with, is that we're talking about a situation in which two health care workers, who were treating an individual with ebola, contracted the virus. we are -- the cdc, our medical experts, are conducting an investigation to determine how that transmission occurred. but that is different than images that are con jurored up with an outbreak, where you have individuals who are -- who are, you know, basically in public transmitting the virus. that is something that we think on a large scale is exceedingly unlikely. >> reporter: w.h.o. definition of an outbreak says it's an
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occurrence in excess of normally defined in a community. it can can also be a case where a disease has been long absent from a population. that may also constitute an outbreak. if it's not large scale, it's an outbreak. so, i guess i wonder if that calls into question some of the reassurances we've heard in this room. >> i don't think it does, mark. what we're talking about here is a situation where there were health care workers who came into direct contact with an ebola patient who did tragically contract the disease. we are very focused on making sure those individuals get the treatment necessary. our thoughts and prayers are with them as they fight this terrible virus. but that is -- that is wholly different, for example, than the situation we see in west africa where tragically you're seeing people who live in the same household be -- you know, passing the virus from one to another. where we're seeing as a result of unsafe burial practices, that individuals are contracting the
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virus from corpses. again, that is a tragic occurrence. it is an indication of the poor medical infrastructure that exists in those countries. and that is something that poses a much broader risk to the population of west africa. that's why the president has devoted significant resources from the federal government to combat that outbreak. but that is obviously a far cry from the situation that exists in dallas right now. >> reporter: josh, you said that the president still has confidence in the director of the cdc. let me ask you a broader question. you were pretty strong in defending the federal government's response to this yesterday. now, given what we've learned about another case in dallas and the fact that that individual was able to -- did fly on a plane while supposed to be monitored, how would you -- would you still say that the federal government's response to this situation has been successful?
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it has been, you know, up to the president's own standards? >> well, i'll say a couple of things about that. the first is dr. frieden, the director of the cdc, himself has said it's unacceptable that even one health care worker was exposed to this virus while they were providing medical treatment to this patient. so that is an indication that there were shortcomings. and that is something that is being thoroughly investigated by the centers for disease control and other medical experts. that investigation, obviously, will also now expand to cover the second health care worker that has now been diagnosed with ebola. so, that is a clear indication that -- well, let say. there's a second thing dr. frieden also said, was that -- i believe it was earlier this week he noted that knowing what he knows now about the situation in the hospital, he
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indicated that he regretted not sending a team of experts to that hospital sooner to assist the hospital as they responded to this specific diagnosis. so, what you are seeing from the federal government, however, is the kind of tenacious response that reflects evolving circumstances. so, dr. frieden indicated that he -- that if -- that he would send a whole team of experts earlier this week after observing that he believed they should have been there sooner. what you're seeing is after this -- after this diagnosis, you're seeing stepped up monitoring by health officials in texas of other health care workers that were responsible for treating the index ebola patient. so, this is a response that indicates a commitment to protect the health and safety of the american public. there are other ways in which
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this has happened as well. you know, we have adapted to circumstances by beefing up airport screenings, for example. at the end of last week, you'll recall that we announced new screening measures that would go into the airports across the country. these are airports that cover essentially 95% of the arrivals of travelers from -- that started out in west ave ka. those improved -- were strengthened screening measures were indicative of our commitment to constantly evaluating our policies and where possible, putting in place measures that would strengthen them. >> reporter: so, why do so many americans feel, first of all, that there is a real risk of an epidemic in this country? and the federal government is not doing enough to stop it. the latest poll from nbc sla nbc/washington post, two-thirds of americans think the federal government is not doing enough on this. are they wrong?
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>> well, let me say this about that. it sounds to me that a significant portion of the american population agrees with dr. frieden. that even one transmission of the ebola virus to one health care worker in this country is something that is unacceptable. and something that won't be tolerated. and something that has prompted a review of protocols and a careful investigation of how that transmission occurred. what people can continue to be confident in is the priority/attention this situation is areceiving across the federal government and here in the white house. i think that's evident by the fact that the president is convening some of the top ranking officials in his administration to discuss that response. but again, what i would urge people to do -- i think the other thing that is motivating, the answer to that question, is something related to fear. this is a deadly, terrible disease. and it is reeking havoc in west africa. it's had a debilitating effect
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on the population there. and it's genuinely tragic. at the same time because of the way that that virus is transmitted, because of the modern medical infrastructure that exists in this country, the risk of a similar outbreak like that in this country is exceedingly low. that's what our medical experts tell us. and that is advice that we continue to follow. however, the -- the administration continues to pursue the kind of tenacious response that will both protect the american public here at home, but also do what is necessary to completely eliminate the risk to the american public from the ebola virus. and that's to stop this outbreak at the source. >> reporter: a quick one. still no consideration of a travel ban from the effected countries now? >> that is something not on the table at this point. just for the reason for that, in case people haven't heard the previous answer i've given to this question. it's important for people to understand exactly why that's the case. shutting down travel to that area of the world would prevent the expa dishes flow of
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personnel and equipment into the country. the only way to eliminate this outbreak and risk to the american public, is to stop the outbreak at the source. we are mobilizing significant resources to make sure supplies and personnel can get to the region and start meeting the needs of the region to stop the outbreak there. that's why now a travel ban is not on the table. >> reporter: does the president plan to cancel further political travels? is he going to continue his campaign travel or is this a one-day event? >> we'll evaluate it on a daily basis. this is obviously a dynamic situation. i have no doubt the president will postpone to attend to important priorities here. but whether a change in tomorrow's schedule is required, we just don't know that yet. and when we do, we'll let you know. major? >> reporter: josh, a couple months ago when the malaysia
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airlines jet was shot down over ukraine, the president carried on with his campaign schedule. a member of the staff said, abrupt changes to his -- the president's schedule can have the unintended consequence of unduly alarming the american people or creating a false sense of crisis. did you do that today? >> no, major. what drives these kinds of decisions are the president's responsibilities. you'll recall -- i don't remember if you traveled on that trip with us to delaware and new york, but over the course of that trip i think the president called five different world leaders while he was on the road, including president poroshen poroshenko, the leader of malaysia, including the prime minister of the netherlands, who -- that's the nation that bore the brunt of that tragedy. so the president was able to continue his schedule. it did include -- that did include some political events while also tending to his responsibilities as the commander in chief. as it relates to today's schedule, the schedule did need
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to be changed so that the president could fulfill his responsibilities as the leader of the country. we'll evaluate the schedule tomorrow based on his requirements. and if we need to make a change to his schedule so he can do what's necessary here at the white house, then we'll change his schedule. i don't know yet whether that will be required. >> reporter: you indicated at the top of your remarks that some decisions may very well be announced by the president. is that what makes this of such signature importance that he had to cancel the travel -- >> no. again, the reason this meeting is important because we're talking about the senior members of his team who are responsible for dealing with what is a pretty urgent situation here in this country. >> reporter: new methods announced after this meeting. is this -- >> quite frankly, major, i don't know the answer to that. if there are, the president will have the opportunity to discuss them with all of you at the conclusion of the meeting. >> reporter: have there been meetings the president have convened here that have not been on the schedule? >> the president has been
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freeblgt frequently updated and briefed on ebola. i don't know if any formal meetings have been convened but i know there have been a number of times the president has been updayed and briefed. >> reporter: can you understand the public watching this story play out can have genuine sense of either skepticism or possibly alarm because they hear, we know how to deal with this, we're taking all the proper steps, all the precautions are being implemented and yet someone who has it, doesn't show symptoms, gets on a commercial aircraft, even though the exposure risk is minimal, everyone on that plane is now being contacted. that creates at least a low level sense of alarm, but everyone that was on that plane, everyone who knows that person that was on that plane, and everyone remembers hearing a couple days ago, well, that's not going to happen. we've got this under control. do you understand how the public is becoming less confident and possibly more alarmed as this story plays out? >> people should continue to be
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confident in the response organized by the government in reaction to this specific situation. the reason for that is simply that we have a modern medical infrastructure in place that, again, has not been flawless. we pointed out why that was the case. that even one transmission to a health care worker is unacceptable. people should take solace in the fact that we know exactly how ebola is transmitted. it's not transmitted through the air. it's not transmitted through food or water. on close contact with the bodily fluids of an individual that has symptoms of ebola. but this is -- this is a deadly, graphic disease. >> reporter: should not have traveled. that was a big mistake. that looks to me, and i think it looks to most people evaluating this fairly, as sort of a gap in the system. something that should have been communicated very tightly within the texas presbyterian community, hey, don't get on a commercial aircraft, happened anyway. do you understand how that can create some degree of uncertainty among the public when trying to evaluate where the story's going and how tightly you have your arms wrapped around the situation?
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>> major, i can certainly understand the concern by the american public about this terrible disease. it's a deadly disease. but it is a disease that we know -- whose outbreak we know how to contain here in this country. that's what we're very focused on. from trying to meet the needs of the health karol care workers who have contracted the virus to investigating exactly how that virus transmission occurred, to doing the necessary contact tracing to ensure that other individuals who may have come in contact with somebody who had the ebola virus are aware of the risks they face and are monitoring their own health. that's active monitoring has now been expanded to include all of the health care workers that came in contact with the index ebola patient in this hospital in dallas. so, there are a number of steps we have taken. and i think the people can be encouraged that the federal government is demonstrating the kind of tenacious adaptive
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response that's required to dealing with what is understandably a pretty concerning situation. >> reporter: i guess my last question. does the president want his response team to be more tenacious and more urgent so stories and situations like this stop happening? >> well, i can tell you the president himself certainly feels a very strong sense of urgency about ensuring that his administration and the medical experts are mobilizing the kind of response that will ensure the safety and health of the broader american public. that's what the president expects. it's what the american people expect. and i'm confident that will be discussed at today's meeting. olivia? >> reporter: the president spoke today to the leaders of japan, uk, france, germany and italy. ebola was part of the conversation in each of these conversations. >> i don't mean to interrupt you. the conversation with the prime minister of japan was separate from -- >> reporter: it was? >> -- from the conversation with the other leaders. >> reporter: i didn't mean to imply they were together. he spoke to them together or
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separately. >> there has been intense modality with how the president speaks to world leaders, so i'm cognizant of those kind of details. >> reporter: i respect that. and i appreciate it. the president has said repeatedly now that he is not satisfied with the global response in terms of stemming ebola at the source. so my question for you regarding these various conversations, is whether he made any specific asks of these world leaders or whether he is satisfied that they've fully stepped up to their responsibilities? >> well, i'll say two things about that. the first is, more than a month ago -- i guess it was about a month ago, the president made an announcement at cdc headquarters in atlanta that he was going to make a significant commitment of department of defense resources in western africa to put in place logistical infrastructure that was needed to ramp up our response to the ebola outbreak in that region of the world. that continues to be a priority for his administration. the president is receiving regular


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