President Obama lifted off from Atlanta’s airport Tuesday afternoon after a visit to the Centers for Disease Control.
Mr. Obama came to Atlanta to outline his plan to combat the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
The outbreak is believed to have killed more than 2400 people, and the U.S. government is drawing on more than a half billion dollars in defense spending to fight the deadly virus.
Speaking at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the president said this is the largest international response in the history of the CDC.
GPB reporter Jeanne Bonner was the Hartsfield- Jackson Airport for the President’s arrival and departure. She joined “All Things Considered” host Rickey Bevington by phone to talk about the significance of President Obama’s visit.
President Barack Obama will travel next week to Atlanta to address the Ebola crisis during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Obama will be in Atlanta on Tuesday. He'll be briefed about the outbreak and discuss the U.S. response with officials. Earnest says Obama will also thank the doctors, scientists and health care workers responding to the crisis.
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has become the first epidemic of the disease the world has seen in the virus’s 40-year history. That’s according to comments Tuesday from the head of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC director Tom Frieden said governments and private sector organizations aren’t responding fast enough to quell West Africa’s Ebola outbreak. He said the disease is spreading so quickly that healthcare workers and government officials can’t keep up with the number of newly infected patients or the burials. And that’s hampering attempts to contain the outbreak, despite deep expertise on what needs to be done.
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went to Capitol Hill Wednesday to testify about what he called an “unacceptable” series of safety breaches. Dr. Tom Frieden, who heads the Atlanta-based federal health laboratories, was in Washington to address the mishandling of potentially lethal anthrax spores in June. Since that episode, the agency has revealed there have been other occasions in which scientists at the CDC have mishandled small pox and avian flu virus samples.
In the wake of back-to-back incidents involving dangerous materials, CDC officials say some scientists have become complacent about following safety rules. A report released Monday found the Atlanta-based federal health laboratories used expired disinfectants and transferred dangerous germs in Ziploc bags after dozens of CDC employees were exposed to live anthrax bacteria in June. The report follows an announcement last week that a dangerous strand of the H5N1 bird flu had been combined with a fairly benign flu sample.
Friday was payday for the CDC’s employees. Or, rather, half a payday. Employees of the Atlanta-based public health agency received roughly half their pay last week due to the federal shutdown. Workers were paid for the one week prior to the shutdown, but the second week of the pay period was affected by the shutdown.
The government shutdown has damaged the CDC’s ability to detect and prevent disease, the agency’s director said Monday. Roughly 9,000 of the 13,000 employees of the Atlanta-based public health agency have been furloughed by the shutdown.
More than 250 people in at least six states have come down with a stomach bug that could be linked to foodborne illness. The Centers for Disease Control says the cyclospora infection causing diarrhea and other flu-like symptoms has been reported in Iowa, Nebraska, Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia and Connecticut.