State governors are enacting quarantines on healthcare professionals returning from Ebola-stricken West Africa because the American public does not trust the Obama administration to handle the growing crisis, California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said Sunday.
"Governors of both parties are reacting to an absence of leadership," Issa, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CNN
"State of the Union" host Candy Crowley.
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Over the weekend, the states of New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have all imposed mandatory quarantines on people returning from West Africa, particularly healthcare workers, after Doctors Without Borders physician Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed with the deadly disease seven days after returning to New York City.
The alarm bells rang after the doctor admitted going to several places in the city after his return, including going bowling the night before he was diagnosed with Ebola. He remains in New York City's Bellevue Hospital.
However, Issa said he is not sure that the mandatory quarantines, which require those who treated Ebola to be quarantined for 21 days until they can be cleared of infection, will be effective.
"Science has told us, if we are to take them at their word, that if someone doesn’t have an elevated temperature or the other later symptoms, that we can rely on them not being contagious," Issa said. "If that’s true, then immediate isolation of people for 21 days is not the answer. Again, trust matters."
Had there been a way to continuously monitor the temperatures of people coming in from West Africa for at least 10 days, "then I think the public would have confidence," Issa continued. "The important thing is, we need to agree we made mistakes. The government needs to have a plan."
A monitoring system that does not rely in individual action could also restore confidence, said Issa.
"Do you know how many apps there are on the iPhone that you can use to monitor your temperature immediately?" said Issa. But without a reliable way to keep track of people, "we have the American people asking their individual governors to protect them."
Meanwhile, Issa said the Obama administration needs to step up and lead the country, and he does not believe the appointment of Ron Klain, a former chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden, to coordinate the government's efforts was the way to inspire Americans' confidence.
"The fact is, I’d much rather he find a four-star general or admiral to coordinate these people who have said things that didn’t turn out to be accurate, who have made mistakes and don’t want to admit them," Issa said.
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