After his disastrous CNN interview yesterday, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, posted a confusing tweet in which he asserted that the U.S. shouldn’t isolate countries where Ebola is running rampant. Was he trying to say that the U.S. shouldn’t restrict flights from West Africa? Who knows.
Earlier today, he was at it again:
That was in response to a CNN report that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas didn’t ask Thomas Eric Duncan about his exposure to Ebola:
We’re not sure, but we think Frieden was trying to say that the hospital did not comply with CDC guidelines.
If so, why not just say that? Here. Let us help:
The hospital did not comply with CDC guidelines.
That is an accurate statement — one that is materially different from what Frieden wrote.
Here he is, tweeting the same thing again — this time in response to USA Today reporter Liz Szabo:
We get it. Hospitals “must” ask about Ebola exposure. Problem is, the hospital in Dallas apparently didn’t do so, and there is no reason to assume that other hospitals will do so notwithstanding the CDC’s super-awesome guidelines. Sorry, Dr. Frieden, but repeating the mantra over and over again doesn’t change that fact.
Is anyone at CDC going to do anything to make sure that the agency’s guidelines are followed? Will the Dallas hospital be punished? Or is Frieden going to just keep insisting, like the Egyptian Pharoah Rameses, “So let it be written. So let it be done”?
In the midst of a worldwide public health emergency, we don’t think it’s too much to expect the director of the CDC — the most important public health official in the country — to communicate in a clear, straightforward manner with the American people.