As public anxiety grows, coordinator named to corral Ebola efforts – Part 1

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    The nation now has an official Ebola response coordinator. He was named today in a bid to corral any spread of the virus and ease mounting public anxiety.

    The appointment of Ron Klain came in a paper statement this morning, and the explanation came this afternoon from White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

  • JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:

    What we were looking for is not an Ebola expert, but rather an implementation expert. And that's exactly what Ron Klain is.


    Klain has no major public health background, but he's been chief of staff to Vice Presidents Gore and Biden. For the next five to six months, he will oversee the federal response to Ebola.

    For now, though, the White House is still ruling out a ban on travelers from West Africa.

    This was President Obama last night.


    A travel ban is less effective than the measures that we are currently instituting that involve screening passengers who are coming from West Africa.


    The president didn't address Ebola in any detail today at a Washington appearance.

    But governors in several states did, including Maryland and Florida, briefings to talk up their preparations. In Ohio, officials said they're monitoring 16 people who had close contact with Amber Vinson, a Dallas nurse who flew there last weekend and turned out to be infected.

    Meanwhile, a Vinson co-worker is now quarantined on a cruise ship, off Belize, in the Caribbean. She handled specimens from the Liberian patient who died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, but has shown no symptoms herself. And Nina Pham, the first nurse who contracted the disease in Dallas, was transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, last night.

    Today, Dr. Tony Fauci said she's in fair and stable condition.

    DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: We fully intend to have this patient walk out of this hospital, and we will do everything we possibly can to make that happen.


    Other exposed hospital workers in Dallas are being asked to sign binding pledges to avoid public spaces and public transportation.

    On the international front, the World Health Organization faced new questions about its fight against the outbreak in West Africa. An internal document obtained by the Associated Press said the agency has botched the effort.

    Dr. Peter Piot is one of the people who first discovered the Ebola virus and once worked at the agency.

    DR. PETER PIOT, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine: WHO is organized in a very decentralized way. And it's the regional office for Africa that is the front line. And they didn't do anything. And that office is really not competent.


    All of this as the WHO raised the official death toll to 4,546 people, out of more than 9,000 cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    We will take a closer look at what Ron Klain may be expected to do as Ebola response coordinator right after the news summary.

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