Recently a government representative went on and on about how the Obama team needs to get ahead of images on the Ebola story. Rather than ask why someone was on the tarmack in sleeves while everyone else wore full hazmat suits, this official said such images needed to be kept from the public.
President Obama shared his willingness to appoint an Ebola Czar.
"The truth is, is that up until this point the individuals here have been running point and doing an outstanding job in dealing with what is a very complicated and fluid situation."
Obama will appoint Ron Klain, former chief of staff for Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. Klain is currently president of Case Holdings and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a technology-oriented venture capital firm. Let's consider the outstanding job of running point to date:
Sept. 26, 2014 - Duncan goes to Texas Presbyterian Health Hospital in Dallas with a fever and tells a nurse he has been to Liberia. But he is sent home with antibiotics and Tylenol.
Sept. 28, 2014 - Duncan returns to the hospital in an ambulance and is isolated.
Sept. 30, 2014 - The CDC confirms that a the first patient -- who would later be identified as Duncan -- has been diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil.
Oct. 8, 2014 - Duncan dies at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital.
Texas' experience with Ebola reveals how much public health is now a paper exercise, with little real capability. The CDC looks just as bad. The first case of Ebola in the United States resulted in error after error after error.
1) The case was not recognized in the Emergency Room. This gave the patient two days to potentially infect more people.
2) Nurses did the best they could without appropriate personal protective equipment and with no training on how to function, much less provide proper care and treatment of Ebola, even if it's strictly supportive care.
3) New cases of Ebola arose, not from family or friends, but from health care workers not on the list of people being monitored by the CDC.
4) Several ill or potentially exposed health care workers traveled on planes or a cruise ship. One called the CDC to share they had a slight fever and should they take their return flight home to Dallas from Cleveland. The CDC said it was okay to fly, while the public heard CDC Chief say it was appropriate for the nurse to have taken a trip. A hospital lab worker is in voluntary quarantine aboard a cruise ship off the coast of Belize.
What does Ron Klain bring to the table? Image management, not substance. He lacks any background in public health, infectious disease management, or epidemiology. He has not managed the response to any outbreak of disease in any part of the world.
As President of Case Holdings and general counsel for Revolution LLC Klain is a corporate executive. American management, with it's incessant call to do more with less, resulted in the gutting of our public health resources, reducing them to paper exercises. It brings to mind FEMA's Hurricane Pam disaster drill for New Orleans. The drill occurred a year before Hurricane Katrina struck.
Ronald Klain's Revolution LLC shows major holdings in two companies, Everyday Health and GAIAM.
Everyday Health, Inc. (the “Company”) operates a portfolio of health and wellness websites and mobile applications that provides consumers, healthcare professionals, advertisers and partners with content and advertising-based services.
Gaiam Inc. - We are a leader in the design, creation, and marketing of products and media for consumers who are interested in yoga, fitness, and wellbeing. Additionally, we operate a subscription video on-demand service, Gaiam TV, which is dedicated to creating, acquiring, and delivering conscious media. Through our business activities, we seek to position our brand as a trusted source for information and products that are relevant to our consumers’ active lifestyles and transformational journeys. Our broad distribution network includes retail, online, and digital channels. At the end of 2013, our brands were carried by over 38,000 retail stores worldwide. Our business is vertically integrated from product design and content creation through product development and sourcing, to customer service and distribution. This efficient supply chain enables us to provide quality products at competitive prices for all of our channels. We intend to build upon our authenticity and heritage in the yoga, fitness, wellbeing, and conscious media sectors. We believe that the size of our end markets is growing as a result of growth in yoga participation, greater awareness of health and wellness, and the success of our retail and online partners. We intend to leverage our product development, supply chain, and retail relationships to continue to expand and innovate our brand’s offerings enabling us to capitalize on the growth in our end markets.
Klain will be able to draw on Everyday Health's expertise in advertising and image management. Gaiam products can be an Ebola stress reliever.
Klain's appointment symbolizes what's happened to public health in our country. Obama appointed someone to get ahead of the story. It would've been preferable to have someone with subject knowledge, experience in epidemic disease management and character. Instead we get the man who cleaned up after Joe Biden's and Al Gore's gaffes.
Update 10-24-14: Texas’ top health official said Thursday that most hospitals can’t handle Ebola patients and that they should instead be treated at specialized care centers. “Not to throw stones, but the overall response from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been slow,” said William Sutker, infectious disease chief for Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
Update 10-25-14: An Ebola vaccine never got off the group due to low incidence of the disease in mostly poor countries.
Update 11-8-14: The mainstream media agreed not to report suspected cases of Ebola in the U.S. and the Pentagon, which studied weaponizing Ebola for nearly fifty years and may have had a role in the latest African outbreak, is now going to save the world by finding a flaw in the disease they likely made flawless.
Update 10-29-16: Klain threw aside his former boss Joe Biden for Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton according to Wikileaks John Podesta e-mails. What might be his reward?