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Family of U.S. Ebola Patient Quarantined; White House Preparing to Send Troops to West Africa to Help Contain Ebola Outbreak; Tweet Suggests Leak of Information from Ferguson Grand Jury Member; Interview with CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden on Ebola and Entereovirus
Aired October 03, 2014 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Now, one of the things I'll tell you as well is that, you know, when we come to Mr. Duncan and his family, there's obviously been a lot of missteps. They're in the places they need to be, but right now, you know, it's, it's clear that it hasn't been an easy path to get there.
GUPTA: Health officials now looking at 100 people in the Dallas area, who may have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan.
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: There could be additional cases who were already exposed. If that occurs, systems are in place so that they will not further spread Ebola.
GUPTA: As officials work to contain the spread of the virus, many are questioning, how did it get here? In Liberia, Duncan came into contact with an infected woman on September 15th. Four days later, the 42-year-old was screened three times and showed no symptoms, and was therefore permitted to board an airplane.
But Liberian authorities now say Duncan lied about his Ebola exposure on a health questionnaire. He was asked if he cared for or came into contact with an Ebola patient, and he answered no. Duncan flew from Monrovia to Brussels. Then boarded United Airlines flight 951 en route to Washington, connecting to flight 822 to Dallas.
While the CDC maintains he was not contagious during his journey, united airlines now voluntarily contacting passengers who flew on those flights. In Dallas, Duncan stayed in this apartment complex for days before feeling sick and seeking medical care, only to be sent home from the hospital with antibiotics even after telling them he had just travelled from Africa.
The hospital now admits they missed his travel history due to a workflow breakdown. Duncan was with his girlfriend, Louise, her child, and her two nephews. Louise, speaking exclusively to CNN's Anderson Cooper, recalls her fear when the family needed to be quarantined. LOUISE, GIRLFRIEND OF U.S. EBOLA PATIENT: They were going to be
monitoring all of us, my son should stay home, my nephew, everyone should stay home for 21 days. And we should not come outside. If we step outside, then they're going to take us to court. Then we will have committed a crime.
GUPTA: Health officials say the family hasn't shown any symptoms of the disease. Late Thursday, a special team was deployed to clean the apartment, and remove items Duncan used, but they were turned away, because they lacked the proper permit to transport hazardous waste.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Did the CDC recommend that you clean your apartment?
LOUISE: I told them, I said I put the Clorox on the mattresses on my bed. And outside Eric's dirty clothes are in a plastic bag all sealed up and that's it.
COOPER: How are you coping with this?
LOUISE: I'm just hanging in there, depending on god to save our lives.
GUPTA: I'll tell you, Chris, some of the details, just quite extraordinary. You know after all day trying to get the crew to go clean up the apartment, they get turned away because they don't have permits? The optics of this obviously not good, missteps a few places now along the way. But the good news again, Chris, if there's any good news, now people in Mr. Duncan and his friends and family are in the places they need to be, Chris.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: I hear what you're saying, Sanjay, I don't think it's just the optics, though. My question for you is we're going to have Dr. Frieden from the CDC on, and he's obviously the person responsible for this. Texas has become ground zero for this situation. It is the test case to see how we deal, whether we are prepared. It does not look good. The hospital is backtracking, blaming what happened on software. That's not promising because they should just be owning the situation that they missed it, and that's how you create better situations going forward.
And holding these people in their apartment, is that really the best place for them to be, Sanjay? Is it really the best situation that we learned about, the dirty sheets and everything they have in their apartment from an interview with Anderson Cooper? Love Anderson, thank god he got the interview and got the information out, but shouldn't the government have known that?
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, no question. And look, they may have known that. You know, they didn't share that. I don't know. But there's no question what you're saying is true, Chris. And I think that they probably really wish they could get a do-over on this in so many ways.
But again, now that the test case is happened and we've seen some of the flaws, I think the big question is, it's going to happen again. You know, we talked about this months ago and said it would happen the first time. And I will tell you and other people have as well, it's going to happen again. So how is it going to be handled differently next time? The idea that we can learn from some of these things to make it better going forward I hope happens. Not sure, but that's what I hope.
CUOMO: Another thing we'll have to pursue is the flight that Duncan was on did go through Europe first. Where is Europe in terms of their urgency for this situation and sending people to West Africa? That's another dynamic here about how we control the spread going forward. Sanjay, again, thank you for being with us. We look forward to you helping me out in a conversation with Dr. Friedan from the CDC coming up. Michaela?
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, so at the CDC, it is all hands on deck right now as the U.S. responds to the Ebola crisis here at home. President Obama has reached out to the mayor of Dallas, promising him all the federal resources he needs to treat Ebola safely and to keep the disease from further spreading. Michelle Kosinski has more now on the administration's response. She's live of course from the White House. Hi, Michelle.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Michaela. Yes, there have been some calls for the administration to appoint an Ebola czar to deal with all of this. But the administration has said they feel the response is sufficient and they don't want to add another layer of bureaucracy.
So it's been two weeks since we heard the president announce this comprehensive plan to try to stop the spread of Ebola at the source in West Africa. What is the status of that? How long is that going to take? Well so far the U.S. has spent more than $111 million. That is by far, by far more than any other country. Behind the U.S. is Australia, at $7 million, although the U.K. has just committed more than $100 million, and U.S. spending is expected to top $1 billion.
How many Americans right now are over there dealing with this? It's 230. That might sound lower than expected, although the Department of Defense is about to send the first waves of U.S. troops, more than 1,000 of them. Among the goals are to build these Ebola treatment units and a field hospital with a total number of beds of more than 1,700. A senior administration official tells us that construction is starting now on the first treatment units and all the components of the hospital have arrived in Liberia. That is actually expected to be up and running in about two weeks. But all of these places need to be staffed by thousands of people, mostly locals. And right now the U.S. is starting the process of finding and training those people. Michaela?
PEREIRA: And that's the important part. It is really comforting to hear that there are international partners joining the effort further funds, further resources. Michelle, thanks for bringing that up with us.
CUOMO: All right, so with over 6,000 cases and more than 3,000 fatalities in West Africa, the U.S. is now prompted to send military, as you just heard, hundreds more troops to the region to fight the outbreak there. Let's get the latest numbers and exclusive new details from Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. Barbara, what do we know?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Chris. Well here at NEW DAY we have learned first some of the key details about how the military plans to keep those troops safe in the Ebola fight.
STARR: With 3,000 troops already tapped to head to Ebola-ravaged West Africa, CNN has learned the U.S. military is increasing its fight against the deadly disease. Hundreds more troops are being added to plans to help the infected countries contain and control Ebola.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's America -- our doctors, our scientists, our know-how that leads the fight to contain and combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
STARR: Approximately 200 U.S. troops are already in Liberia. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has signed orders for another 700 from the 101st Airborne Division to head to Africa in coming days to staff a command headquarters. And 700 more army engineers will be going to help build and advise on mobile hospitals.
CHUCK HAGEL, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We're standing up a field hospital and treatment units. And we'll be training thousands of health workers.
STARR: Even before most have left the U.S., military officials tell CNN the Pentagon is considering drastic measures to insure they don't come back to U.S. shores with the disease.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are working with experts right now, on this.
STARR: That could include enforced isolation for 21 days, the Ebola incubation period, for high-risk troops who may have come in contact with the disease. All troops deployed will be monitored daily for symptoms. And all service members will face increased monitoring for those 21 days before they are allowed to return to the U.S.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a complex emergency. Beyond a public health crisis, that has significant humanitarian, economic, political, and security dimensions.
STARR: So how concerned is the Pentagon? Well, these troops will be taking their own food, water, fuel -- all their own supplies to last for six months of deployment. They don't want to have to use anything off the local economy. How concerned are they? General Dempsey now is ordering a uniformed standard across the military for health protection and the rules for when these troops come home. They say they hope to keep 100 percent of the troops safe and healthy. That may be a very tough standard to meet. Chris? CUOMO: That's just the reality, isn't it, Barbara? They're going
into harm's way. They often do. This will be no exception. We'll have to follow the situation and make sure they're treated the best they can be. Thank you for the reporting this morning. It's very needed.
So we have answered some questions about Ebola. But of course many remain. Most of them are coming from you, so keep sending them. The Twitter #EbolaQandA. And we will get answers from our panel in the next hour.
A lot of news this morning. Right to John.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks so much, Chris.
Protests growing louder in Ferguson, Missouri, ending what had been a relatively quiet period between activists and police. Nearly a dozen people were arrested overnight during protests at the police station. Meantime, a mysterious tweet has sparked an investigation into possible grand jury misconduct. CNN's Sara Sidner has more.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the tweet that has prompted an investigation into the grand jury deciding whether or not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson who shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown. The tweet was sent from a St. Louis woman's account and says "I know someone sitting on the grand jury of this case. There isn't enough at this point to warrant an arrest. #Ferguson." The tweet sparked suspicion that someone on the grand jury had broken the law and leaked information from proceedings that are supposed to be secret until a decision is made. The prosecuting attorney's office wouldn't give details of the investigation, but we found the owner of that Twitter account. She is denying to CNN she sent the tweet and doesn't want to be identified.
Was that your account that the tweet was sent from?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. It was my account but I haven't used it. You know, so I'm not sure if someone has hacked into it, because it had been hacked before. But you know, sending out a bunch of spam mails or whatever they call it, and so it's like I quit using it because it's silly.
SIDNER: Did you know someone on the grand jury?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I didn't.
SIDNER: Both the tweet and the Twitter account were deleted by Wednesday night. The St. Louis County court administrator told CNN in a statement concerning the tweet, "The matter has been referred to the prosecuting attorney for investigation. The court will hear the matter and take appropriate action if the prosecutor finds cause to believe misconduct has occurred."
Sara Sidner, CNN, Ferguson, Missouri. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BERMAN: Thank you, Sara, for that.
Breaking this morning, ISIS has now entered the key city of Kobani on the border between Syria and Turkey. They now control the southwest corner of that city, and Kurdish fighters are trying to push them back. This after Turkey voted to authorize military action against ISIS both in Iraq and Syria. Australia is also joining the U.S.-led coalition, saying it will launch air strikes against ISIS in Iraq.
The Secret Service will likely be without a permanent director until at least December. The White House plans to wait for a special panel to finish its review of the agency before making a permanent choice. A series of high-profile security lapses forced Julia Pierson to resign this week. Interim Director Joseph Clancy takes over next week. We will speak with a former agency director here later this hour.
A 28-year veteran of the Dallas police force fired for ignoring a woman's plea for help.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right here, what, baby? I'm on a call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That was the response that Senior Corporal Leslie Richardson gave to a woman who told him she was being threatened at gun-point and her children were being kidnapped by her estranged boyfriend. You can hear the woman in the background pointing her boyfriend out before the officer drove off. The boyfriend eventually engaged another officer and was shot and killed. No comment from Corporal Richardson.
PEREIRA: A horrifying situation there. All right, John, thank you.
We are going to take a short break here. The Centers for Disease Control keeping a watchful eye on the Ebola situation in Dallas, this as another American has been infected with Ebola overseas and is being prepared to fly home. We will speak with the head of the CDC about efforts to contain this disease coming up next.
CUOMO: Welcome back to NEW DAY. We're tracking breaking Ebola news out of Texas. First, four people were identified for possible infection; now it is more than 100. First, officials use the hazmat suits to deal with the Ebola patients on our soil. Now, a family is locked in an apartment under armed guard and we're learning more about their conditions from Anderson Cooper's interview than from the government.
So the question is obvious -- do officials know what they're doing? Or are they learning on the job? We have the best person to answer your questions here, Dr. Thomas Frieden. He is the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We'll also bring in -- or we have him now there now, good -- Sanjay is with us as well, our chief medical correspondent. so we can have a full discussion with this. And obviously, Sanjay, you're fundamental in our understanding of what's going on.
Doctor, thank you for joining us; we know you have a lot on your plate. But CNN is all over this story. So we want to make sure the right message is getting out.
Texas has become the ground zero, not because of the numbers involved of who's infected, but how it's being handled. You have the hospital now backing off the common-sense accountability and saying it was about software. You have people trapped in an apartment; we're learning more from them inside than from you about their conditions. It seems to be house cleaners were sent there to clean up a hazmat area. It seems like the planning is not in place. Do you agree?
DR. THOMAS FRIEDEN, CDC DIRECTOR: Well, it is the first case of the Ebola diagnosed on American soil. And we're all having to work some of the kinks out of what gets done. But, you know, key is the focus on what's most important here. What's most important here is identifying everyone who might have had contact with the individual when he was infectious and making sure we track them all for 21 days. And if any of them get sick, isolate them promptly. That's how we break the chain of transmission and control it here.
CUOMO: Right. I understand that, Doctor, but it just seems that the confidence keeps changing in its context. Originally, when were you on, you said, "And that's why, Chris, we're not looking at those people who were on the flight, because he wasn't sick yet." Well, now they are looking for those people. And at first it was just a handful and now the number's growing and that does shake people's confidence in whether or not there was planning in place. And we shouldn't just be learning now, because we should have been preparing for things like this for years and years. That's the concern.
FRIEDEN: Well, the key thing is to find every person who might have had contact with him between the 24th when he got sick and the 28th when he was isolated. That's the period.
We're assessing, about 100 people; that doesn't mean they had contact. We're seeing whether they had contact. This is contact tracing. This is tried-and-true public health. This is what we do day in and day out for lots of conditions. And we will identify people, both health care associated and community associated, who might have had some contact with him and every one of those will be monitored for 21 days. And the key thing is to identify if any of those people develop fever and isolate them. That's how we break the chain of transmission.
And, you know, I have to take -- I disagree a little bit with one thing you said. Ground zero of this is not in Texas. Ground zero of this is in West Africa. And until we stop it in West Africa, we're not going to get to zero risk anywhere else in the world. Because we are all connected. Whether or not we want to try to restrict travel, the fact is that people travel, people move. And if we restrict travel, it will make it harder to control Ebola there and, ultimately, increase the risk in other parts of the world, including here.
CUOMO: Sanjay, let me bring you in. Because the point the doctor just made there is also a source of confusion. How would isolating that part of the world make it harder to treat? You can still have all the first responders and the people who need to help going in and out; it's just about keeping people who may be infected from going to other parts of the world.
GUPTA: Well, look, anybody could potentially become infected, including first responders, and I think you just need to start carrying the equation out further and further. So you let first responders in. You're going to let them out or not let them out? I mean, how is that going to work? Because if they could potentially be infected, do you still let them out? You could see how that -- various permutations of that just keeps going and going. And you need to take care of people on the ground. I think withholding care, obviously, would be tragic mistake.
But let me follow up on something, Chris, that you said as well to Dr. Frieden. Dr. Frieden, I'm curious about -- I know you've had a very busy week. Who is in charge? And if you're in charge, I mean, can you mandate things to happen? We know what's going on in Dallas. Could you say, look, here's what you absolutely need to do in Dallas. This is required. I'm enforcing this to happen. And if you can't do that, why can't you do that? Somebody needs to have some leadership, it seems, over the whole situation.
FRIEDEN: Absolutely. And we work very closely with state and local governments. And when there's an episode in a state or local government, they are in charge and we support them in every way. They assign an incident manager; they establish an emergency operations system; they outline every aspect and we work very closely with they will. There's a great collaboration.
I think the issue that we've been challenged by is what do you do with the waste? That's been an issue that we've been working intensively with the Department of Transportation, which regulates the movement of potentially infectious waste. That situation I'm confident will be resolved today. We had hoped it would be resolved yesterday but I think we'll get it resolved today.
And the apartment issues I know are very concerning and I know the folks in Texas are working very hard to resolve them. I've already been on the phone with them this morning.
GUPTA: Is it necessary to have somebody who is absolutely in charge -- sort of a czar, if you will, over this? Who doesn't just provide guidance or recommendations, but provides mandates?
FRIEDEN: In every place, where Ebola is spreading, our number one recommendation is to establish what we call an incident management system, where one person is in charge and you break down the tasks into smaller tasks to make sure that everything gets done and followed up. That's been done in Texas. They've done exactly what we've recommended. They have an incident manager in place. We're supporting that person. The state of Texas is supporting that person and I'm confident we'll break the chain of transmission there.
CUOMO: Well, Doctor, as you know, we'll take a wait-and-see approach, obviously, but you know why people aren't inspired by what they see happening in Texas, when it doesn't seem optimal that having people locked in an apartment complex where there's bad weather in the situation and they're losing power and it's hard to get them food. It doesn't seem like it's the best state of preparedness, but we will wait and see on that.
Let me ask you about something that seems much farther down the road of urgency, that seems to be on the back burner. Enterovirus -- you know, hundreds of cases. It's in 42, maybe more states now. Do we know what we're doing with this? Because more and more doctors are saying, Chris, CNN, cover this. This is a real problem. This is really spreading. We've never seen anything like it. Do you agree with that assessment? And if so, what are we doing?
FRIEDEN: We have not seen widely disseminated Enterovirus D-68 like we're seeing this year and we're concerned about it. There isn't a lot people can do, but there are some core things. The bottom line is you can make a difference by washing your hands, not going out when you're sick, covering your cough, getting a flu shot. And if your kid has asthma, making sure it's well controlled. If you do those simple things, you're going to protect yourself.
CUOMO: So Sanjay, I'll give you the final point on this. These doctors seem to be in, at a minimum, a mild state of panic about Enterovirus, that they don't have their hands around it. And they think it is going to keep spreading. Where's the disconnect on that?
GUPTA: Well, I think that this is one of those things where they have a pretty good idea of how the outbreak will probably be controlled, and it does appear to have some seasonal component to it. So there's not any particular strategy for that, and, you know, in terms of a vaccine or something right now that they would give. But they, you know, they have a pretty optimistic view that this is eventually just going to come to an end because these seasonal things often do.
CUOMO: Sanjay, thank you very much.
Dr. Frieden, you do have a lot on your plate, as Sanjay pointed out, so thank you for taking the time to help us educate the public about what's going on. Last thing we want to do --
FRIEDEN: Thank you very much for covering this.
CUOMO: It's all about keeping it into perspective, not allowing panic to take hold, but at the same time really seem to be checking sources of confusion. So thank you. Look forward to having you on again. You too, Sanjay.
FRIEDEN: Thank you.
CUOMO: Damage control at the Secret Service is another big story for you. The search for a new leader begins. A former Secret Service director is going to tell us what needs to be done to fix that agency. Remember, it's not just about outrage, it's about making it better.
BERMAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Let's look at the top stories.
JPMorgan Chase, the nation's biggest bank, revealing the accounts of some 76 million personal customers and 7 million small businesses were compromised in a security breach. Company officials say there's no evidence that personal information such as account numbers and passwords were stolen by hackers. Still, though, very unsettling.
In Hong Kong, the standoff escalating this morning. Protests now being staged by people who oppose the initial pro-democracy protests. This comes on the heels of an agreement between the protesters and local officials to hold talks. The city's chief executive says he is not quitting his job but will send his top deputy to meet with protesters who are demanding democratic reforms.
A group of celebrities whose naked photos were leaked online, they are threatening to go after Google now. A California attorney sending the search engine a letter on behalf of a dozen actresses, models, and athletes, slamming Google for failing to remove the photos more quickly. They're threatening a $100 million lawsuit. Google says it removed tens of thousands of photos, many of them within hours.
PEREIRA: All right, thanks so much, John.
A patient diagnosed with Ebola in Texas, we know that. It's running rampant in West Africa.