Tags: Barack Obama | Ebola Outbreak | Homeland Security | Ron Klain | czar | test | coordinating

Ebola Czar Faces Tough Questions as Confusion Reigns

By    |   Monday, 27 Oct 2014 09:24 PM

The Obama administration's Ebola czar, Ron Klain, is facing some tough questions as he tries to cope with the first test of his skill at coordinating the federal response to the disease threat.

"He's supposed to be the Ebola response coordinator," one reporter commented at a White House press briefing Monday, The Hill reports. "It seems that you have a need for some coordinating here."

Another asked: "What has changed since he started his job? Because it appears as though this week there's more confusion than there was last week, given what we're seeing in New York and New Jersey, and more differences between how the states are dealing with it."

Klain's first weekend on the job was marked by controversy over the unilateral decisions by New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie to quarantine for 21 days doctors and nurses who had traveled to western Africa to care for Ebola victims.

CNN reported the White House told both governors that it "has concerns with the unintended consequences of policies that are not grounded in science may have on efforts to combat Ebola at its source in west Africa."

Though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued new guidelines for treating returning healthcare workers, recommending "voluntary at-home isolation" and monitoring on Monday, it did little to clarify the rules emerging at state and local levels, The Hill notes.

A defiant Christie, despite the discharge from hospital isolation of the first healthcare worker to be quarantined under his new policies, said he wasn't wavering.

"I'm telling you guys this is going to become a national policy eventually. Eventually the CDC will come around," Christie said, National Public Radio reports.

There also was confusion about the federal government's handling of military personnel returning from west Africa, with the Army ordering a 21-day quarantine for soldiers returning from the three countries hardest hit by Ebola — even though the troops weren't directly assisting in medical treatment.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, however, that Pentagon "policy has not been settled and implemented yet," The Hill reports.

He also tried to tamp down any emerging criticism of Klain, noting he's been on the job less than a week and saying his tenure had already seen "a significant number of announcements related to the whole-of-government approach that the president has ordered to dealing with the Ebola situation," The Hill reports.

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The Obama administration's Ebola czar, Ron Klain, is facing some tough questions as he tries to cope with the first test of his skill at coordinating the federal response to the disease threat.
Ron Klain, czar, test, coordinating
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2014-24-27
Monday, 27 Oct 2014 09:24 PM
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