Are more Ebola cases on the horizon?
President Barack Obama convened a surprise meeting Saturday night on Ebola. The White House meeting of top officials and advisors took place after Obama played golf in the afternoon at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia with ESPN host Tony Kornheiser.
The urgent Ebola meeting came as Obama chided Americans in his weekly Saturday address for being concerned over three cases of Ebola when thousands are killed by the flu every year.
In a ‘who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes’ moment, Obama told the nation there is not an Ebola outbreak in Dallas, but that there may be more “isolated cases.”
“First, what we’re seeing now is not an “outbreak” or an “epidemic” of Ebola in America. We’re a nation of more than 300 million people. To date, we’ve seen three cases of Ebola diagnosed here-the man who contracted the disease in Liberia, came here and sadly died; the two courageous nurses who were infected while they were treating him. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them, and we’re doing everything we can to give them the best care possible. Now, even one infection is too many. At the same time, we have to keep this in perspective. As our public health experts point out, every year thousands of Americans die from the flu.”
…” As I’ve said before, fighting this disease will take time. Before this is over, we may see more isolated cases here in America. But we know how to wage this fight. And if we take the steps that are necessary, if we’re guided by the science-the facts, not fear-then I am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak here in the United States, and we can continue to lead the world in this urgent effort.”
Obama also said Ebola cannot be caught riding on a plane or bus. Obama did not say why the CDC is tracking down hundreds of passengers who flew on two flights with Amber Vinson, one of the two Dallas nurses to come down with Ebola after treating Liberian national Thomas Duncan before he died of Ebola.
“Second, Ebola is actually a difficult disease to catch. It’s not transmitted through the air like the flu. You cannot get it from just riding on a plane or a bus…”
Attending the not-an-Ebola outbreak meeting were public relations staffers and Obama’s legal team. The official readout of the meeting with a list of attendees was sent out to reporters following the meeting.
Attending were Jennifer Palmieri, Director of Communications and Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications and Speechwriting.
Also in attendance were Neil Eggleston, Counselor to the President and Brian Egan, Deputy Counsel to the President.
Katie Beirne Fallon, Director of the Office of Legislative Affairs was also listed as participating in the meeting.
Notably absent from the meeting list was new Ebola czar Ron Klain. The White House said Klain met earlier in the day with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and that he has not yet officially taken office.
The readout says in part that the meeting was held to make sure Dallas has the tools needed to handle additional Ebola cases.
The Ebola outbreak has come at a bad time for Obama. With just weeks to go until the midterm elections the Dallas Ebola not-an-outbreak hit two young single minority women—a key election demographic for Obama and the Democrats.
The Obama PR machine planted a story in Saturday’s New York Times designed to make it look like Obama was angry at the government for lapses in preventing the Ebola not-an-outbreak—the Limbaugh Theorem in action.
An Ebola info box has been placed at the top of the White House home page. It links to Obama’s weekly Saturday address about the not-an-Ebola outbreak and an explainer on the administration’s response at home and abroad. While the explainer mentions the military’s involvement it does not mention Obama ordering up to 4,000 troops and reservists to West Africa to help fight the outbreak.