Pence unveils Trump coronavirus taskforce – with just THREE doctors

Is there a doctor in the house? Mike Pence unveils the White House’s coronavirus taskforce amid growing crisis and Wall Street plunge – with just FOUR medical experts out of 15 chiefs (and one of them isn’t even there)

  • Pence convenes first meeting of official White House coronavirus taskforce Wednesday afternoon- after appearing at the  conservative CPAC conference for a lengthy speech
  • Just four out of the 15 people on it are doctors, one of whom was named this morning and was not apparently at the meeting
  • Those on the taskforce include Larry Kudlow, the Trump economic adviser who earlier in the week said the U.S. was ‘airtight’ from the virus
  • Also on it is Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy Homeland Security secretary who had tweeted a complaint that he could not find a map of coronavirus’ spread
  • As they met Wall Street saw the worst stock market sell-off since 2008 with the Dow losing almost 1,200 points and officially entering a ‘correction’
  • Goldman Sachs warned U.S. companies could show no earnings growth this year because of the virus 
  • In California, the state said it is monitoring 8,400 people for potential coronavirus infection and worldwide the death toll continued to mount
  • Pence has gagged all health officials from speaking in public about the threat of the virus without his prior approval, and instead he gave a pre-recorded interview to Fox News’ Sean Hannity
  • And there was confusion over who is actually in charge of the taskforce with Pence saying ‘I’m leading the task force,’ but Azar would still hold the title of chairman – when Trump said Wednesday Azar was in charge

Mike Pence moved Thursday to project calm in the role of chief coordinator of the government’s response to the coronavirus, chairing the first meeting of the White House’s taskforce on the virus – which has just four doctors, one of whom was absent.

The taskforce held its first meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services, hours after it emerged that the Trump administration had ordered its own health experts not to speak in public without permission from Pence’s staff.

Pence only held the meeting after he addressed the CPAC conservative conference and just before Wall Street closed with the worst stock mark sell-off since 2008.

In Californiia, 8,400 people are now being monitored for signs of the virus, while in Florida the governor refused to say if anyone was being tested.  

Those on the taskforce include Larry Kudlow, the Trump economic adviser who earlier in the week said the U.S. was ‘airtight’ from the virus, and Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy Homeland Security secretary, who had tweeted a complaint that he could not find a map of the coronavirus’ spread.

The vice president named a seasoned medical professional, Debbie Birx, as his chief adviser on the response and said Trump had ‘tasked us to take every step necessary to protect the health of the American people.’But there was no sign of her at the taskforce meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services. 

The other doctors on the taskforce are Anthony Fauci, Head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Jerome Adams, the Surgeon General; and Robert Redfield, director of the CDC. 


Not a lot of medical expertise: Those at the table for the first meeting of the coronavirus taskforce are (clockwise from bottom left): Matthew Pottinger, deputy national security advisor; Keith Kellogg, Mike Pence’s national security advisor; Dr. Robert Kadlec, assistant HHS Secretary, who is not on the taskforce; Mick Mulvaney, acting White House chief of staff; Ken Cuccinnelli, acting director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services; Jerome Adams, the Surgeon General; Alex Azar, HHS secretary; Mike Pence, the vice president; Dr. Tony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary; and Brian Bulatao, the Department of State’s undersecretary for management

One doctor in the picture: Surgeon General Jerome Adams  (left) is on the coronavirus taskforce. Other members include (right) Joel Szabat, the acting undersecretary of state for policy at the Department of Transportation 

White House presence: Vice President Mike Pence, accompanied by left, President Donald Trump’s acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaks at a coronavirus task force meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services

Heat map: Mike Pence gave a fist pump in front of a map showing the death toll from coronavirus so far. 

Show and tell: Alex Azar – the HHS secretary- shows Mike Pence the department’s map of coronavirus worldwide. It relies on Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, for this map

Effort: Mike Pence was shown the worldwide version of the map of cases. Tabs open at the top of the browser show that he could also have been shown HHS’ own map of it in the U.S. but was not

Coronavirus cases in the US have now risen to 60, including 42 passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, three people repatriated from China and 15 on US soil

But first this: Mike Pence’s first public appearance was at the CPAC conference of Trump ultra-loyalists in Oxon Hill, Maryland – then he went back to Washington D.C. to chair the taskforce

First to get the message: This was the audience for Mike Pence’s CPAC speech which went on as scheduled, with the coronavirus task force convened when he returned to Washington D.C.

And as the taskforce met, there was new confusion over who exactly is in charge.  

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar stood side-by-side with Trump on Wednesday when the president announced that he was putting Pence ‘in charge’ of the government’s response to the virus. 

At the end of the press briefing in the White House, Azar said he was ‘delighted’ to have the vice president’s help, but also said he wanted to ‘clarify’ that ‘I’m still chairman of the task force.’ 

Pence explained things differently Thursday. ‘I’m leading the task force,’ he said, said Azar would still hold the title of chairman. 

On Capitol Hill, Azar told lawmakers Thursday that he was involved in discussions about Trump’s decision to designate Pence. He said he welcomed the heft that the vice president’s office brings.


Debbie Birx – Global AIDS Coordinator, DOCTOR. Previously CDC official

Larry Kudlow – Director of National Economic Council, NOT A DOCTOR. Said the U.S. was ‘almost airtight’ from the virus

Jerome Adams – Surgeon General, DOCTOR. Previously worked for Mike Pence in Indiana

Alex Azar – Secretary of Health and Human Services, NOT A DOCTOR. Previously U.S. president, Eli Lilly

Robert O’Brien –  National Security Advisor, NOT A DOCTOR 

Robert Redfield – Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DOCTOR 

Anthony Fauci – Head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, DOCTOR 

Stephen Biegun – Deputy Secretary of State – NOT A DOCTOR. Not present at meeting.

Ken Cuccinelli – Acting Deputy Homeland Security Secretary, NOT A DOCTOR. Asked on Twitter why he could not find Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus map

Joel Szabat – Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, NOT A DOCTOR 

Matthew Pottinger – Deputy National Security Advisor, NOT A DOCTOR

Rob Blair – Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff, NOT A DOCTOR

Joseph Grogan – Director of the Domestic Policy Council, NOT A DOCTOR

Christopher Liddell – Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Coordination, NOT A DOCTOR 

Derek Kan – Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy, NOT A DOCTOR 


‘I´ll be honest with you. When I heard the idea that the vice president would be willing to help add the force of his office to this effort, I said, quote, “That´s genius,”‘ Azar told Democratr Bill Pascrell. 

Until now, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had the role of coordinating the response across the government outside of the health care agencies. 

But before he convened the first task force meeting, Pence made his first public comments to CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he promised ‘we will continue to bring the full resources of the federal government to bear to protect the American people.’

‘The American people expect us to work together and I promise you, this president and this administration is going to work with leaders in both parties, will work with leaders across this nation at the state and local level and this president will always put the health and safety of America first,’ he said, to cheers from a Trump-supporting crowd.

Pence’s first interview on the coronavirus was being recorded to be broadcast Thursday night to Fox News’ Sean Hannity – with every other TV appearance by health experts subject to his staff’s approval.

Government scientists and health experts must now clear all media appearances in advance with Pence’s office, the New York Times reported. 

Even NIH virus expert Dr. Fauci, a staple on TV who has spoken about the challenges of the outbreak and precautions people can take, must get permission to appear. He told associates about the White House directive, according to the report.  

Although he has taken on a number of challenges as Indiana governor and a former House GOP leader, Pence drew fire after his appointment from Democrats over his own decisions when confronting high AIDS transmission in his home state. 

He has no medical background of any kind. He studied history at Hanover College and went on to learn a law degree. His resume includes a stint as a conservative radio host.

Missing entirely from the task force was National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director Nancy Messonnier, the doctor who warned Tuesday that coronavirus in the U.S. was inevitable.

She is the sister of Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general who oversaw the Robert Mueller special counsel probe, and was the target of conspiracy theory claims among Trump supporters that she ramped up her warning to hurt the president.

Pence’s own appointment was the subject of Democratic attack. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday cited Pence’s response as governor when Indiana was experienced a record-high rate of HIV infections due to sharing needles among drug addicts.  She pointed out that he slashed the public health budget and closed a clinic that did HIV testing at the time.  

‘We look forward to working together in a bipartisan and in a very candid way about our concerns about past performance or statements that were made,’ she said.

‘Let’s put that in perspective as we move to have adequate funding, the respect for science and evidence-based decision making and, again, reimbursement for state and local government and understanding the impact this has on our communities,’ she said. 

Bernie Sanders, the forerunner to take on Trump in the election, demanded Pence be replaced and the taks force packed with scientists and doctors, not ‘political cronies.’

‘First, they must replace Mike Pence with an expert on pandemics and disaster response,’ he said.

‘Second, the Trump administration must stop releasing misleading, unscientific, and false information about whether the coronavirus is controlled or when it will be controlled.

‘Third, they must immediately staff their response team with experts and scientists to help us address a pandemic based on facts – Steve Mnuchin and Larry Kudlow are political cronies, not scientists.’

‘Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response,’ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter after his appointment.  

The White House response had done nothing to stop a dramatic market sell-off which saw Wall Street plunge.

Trump had blamed 2020 Democrats ‘making fools of themselves’ for the drop on Wednesday night but analysts said it was entirely driven by fears over coronavirus.

The Dow Jones plummeted 1,190.95 points, or 4.42 percent, to 25,766.64, the largest one-day point drop in history. It comes during the quickest market plunge on a percentage basis since the financial crisis of October 2008.

The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed more than 10 percent below their recent highs. That means the market is officially in a correction, which is a phenomenon that analysts have said was long overdue.  

At their heart, stock prices rise and fall with the profits that companies expect to make — and Wall Street’s expectations for profit growth are sinking as more companies warn that the virus outbreak will hit their bottom lines. 

Rising fears of a pandemic, which U.S. health authorities have warned is likely, have erased about $1.84 trillion off the benchmark S&P 500 this week alone.

Industry analysts and economists continued to sound the alarm as they assessed the impact of the coronavirus, with Goldman Sachs saying U.S. companies will generate no earnings growth in 2020.

Apple and Microsoft, two of the world´s biggest companies, have already said their sales this quarter will feel the economic effects of the virus. 

Microsoft’s stock lost 2.8 percent after it told investors that the virus will hurt revenue from its Windows licenses and its Surface devices.  

A five-day view of the Dow Jones Industrial Average shows the cumulative declines this week

Traders work during the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. About five minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1.8 percent

Meanwhile, at the WHite House: The president spent 45 minutes in an Oval Office meeting with the actors and director of a play about the FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, then welcomed African-American supporters including Diamond and Silk to the Cabinet Room, where he complained he got no credit for containing coronavirus

American Airlines plunged 8.5 percent as airlines continue to feel pain from disrupted travel plans and suspended routes. 

Delta Airlines, which is reducing flights to South Korea because of the outbreak in that nation, fell 4.5 percent. 

Bank of America slashed its world growth forecast to the lowest level since the peak of the global financial crisis.

Financial warnings also came from Budweiser maker InBev and cloud-computing company Nutanix.

The virus has now infected more than 82,000 people globally and is worrying governments with its rapid spread beyond the epicenter of China. 

The price of crude oil fell 4.7 percent. The price has been falling sharply as investors anticipate that demand for energy will wane as the economy slows. 

Bond yields continued sliding as investors shifted money into lower-risk assets. The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell further into record low territory, to 1.28% from 1.31% late Wednesday. Gold prices edged higher.        

Ron Klain, who coordinated the U.S. response to the ebola threat during the Obama administration, had a sharp retort to Trump’s comment Wednesday that ‘because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low.’

Klain tweeted on Thursday: ‘Oh look: it’s the ‘Mission Accomplished’ tweet for #coronavirus.’ That was a reference to President George W. Bush’s premature claim in 2003 that major combat operations in Iraq had ended when the war was to drag on for years. 

At the White House, the president hosted two actors who will play the FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in a ‘deep state’ play, The Daily Beast reported. He spent 45 minutes with Dean Cain, the former Superman, and Kristy Swanson, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 30 minutes more than was scheduled.

Then after 5pm, he held a meeting on ’empowering African-Americans’ in the Cabinet Room, attended by his supporters including Diamond and Silk – from Fox Nation – and Candace Owens, the former head of Turning Point USA.

He vented to reporters in the room that he was not getting credit for preventing the spread of coronavirus from ‘fake news’ and Democrats, saying: ‘I think it’s an incredible achievement what our country’s done.’

And he said that his Wednesday evening White House press conference had been good and ‘calming’ but that Chuck Schumer, the Democratic Senate minority leader, had said he was terrible. 

California is monitoring at least 8,400 for signs of coronavirus as 33 test positive for COVID-19 in the state including a patient with ‘unknown origin’ who ‘took FOUR DAYS’ to be screened for the disease as ‘they didn’t fit the criteria’ for infection 

California health officials are monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus symptoms after their arrival on domestic commercial flights, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday.

The state currently has only about 200 test kits, an ‘inadequate’ number, but has been in ‘constant contact with federal agencies’ that have promised to send a fresh supply of kits in coming days, he said at a news briefing in Sacramento.

California officials said 33 people had tested positive for the virus there, but five had since left the state.

On Wednesday, California reported the first known case of the virus in the United States of unknown origin. 

The patient had not recently traveled to an area with a reported outbreak, and was not exposed to another known infected person.

Dr Sonia Angell, California’s state public health officer, said local, state and federal health investigators were contacting and isolating individuals who may have been exposed to the patient in what could be the first US case of local ‘community spread’.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revised its criteria for who should be tested for the coronavirus and is shipping more test kits out to states including California, the agency’s director told lawmakers.

‘When a clinician or a public health individual suspects coronavirus, then we should be able to get a test for coronavirus so that’s the current guidance that went out today,’ CDC Director Robert Redfield said at a House of Representatives hearing on the government response to the fast-spreading virus.

The news comes shortly after it was revealed that the CDC took several days to test the woman, who is a resident of Solano County, which is about 35 miles outside of Sacramento. She was admitted into UC Davis Medical Center on February 19. 

Scroll down for video  

California health officials are monitoring 8,400 people for coronavirus symptoms after their arrival on domestic commercial flights, Governor Gavin Newsom (right) said on Thursday

The state currently has only about 200 test kits, an ‘inadequate’ number, but has been in ‘constant contact with federal agencies’ that have promised to send a fresh supply of kits in coming days, Newsom said at a news briefing in Sacramento. This image shows medical staff treating patients infected by the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Monday 

An email from medical center officials to employees revealed that the CDC took four days to test the patient for the deadly disease despite requests from staff at the center.

The leaked memo also suggested medical center staff may have been unnecessarily put at risk after dozens were told to go into isolation and watch for symptoms. 

The news comes after it was reported that the CDC took four days to test a woman for coronavirus. The test results came back positive on Wednesday. This illustration shows a transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first US case of COVID-19

According to the email, the CDC didn’t test the patient, who has not been identified, for coronavirus until February 23. 

It has also been revealed that experts like Dr Adrian Hyzler, the chief medical officer for Healix International, believe the virus could spread in the US overnight like it did in Italy. 

‘It spreads very rapidly because of the ease with which you can pass on this virus through respiratory droplets and surface spread,’ Hyzler told The Daily Beast. 

‘There is every possibility that this could happen in the US,’ Hyzler said, referring to the outbreaks in Iran and Italy.

Hyzler then pointed to a place like New York City where the coronavirus ‘would spread very rapidly on a crowded subway or metro system’. 

Hyzler told the Daily Beast that quarantines could help, but ‘if community transmission had already occurred in a city like NYC, then a citywide shutdown would be almost impossible to organize, and it would be much less effective’.

According to the internal memo from UC Davis Medical Center obtained by CBS13, the patient was transferred from the NorthBay VacaValley Hospital on February 19 and was already intubated and on a ventilator. 

The patient, who is a resident of Solano County, is being treated at UC Davis Medical Center (pictured) in Sacramento

The leaked memo also suggested medical center staff may have been unnecessarily put at risk after dozens were told to go into isolation and watch for symptoms. This image shows a man wearing a mask and gloves in San Francisco on Thursday 

  • In Washington state, school administrators closed Bothell High School on Thursday over coronavirus fears
  • San Francisco’s mayor declared emergency to make it easier for city to combat possible cases of coronavirus
  • New York monitoring 83 people in self-quarantine for coronavirus symptoms after possible exposure to virus 
  • People are selling respirator masks on Ebay from $40 to $1,000 for brands that are usually only a few dollars 
  • Airlines that have evacuated people from Wuhan, China, have stepped up their aircraft-cleaning efforts 
  • The airlines are using Viraclean, a hospital-grade disinfectant that can kill herpes simplex and Hepatitis B 
  • Around 14 per cent of coronavirus patients tested positive a second time in one Chinese region, officials said 

However, despite requests from medical center officials for the CDC to test the unknown individual, the patient was only tested for coronavirus on Sunday – four days after they were admitted to the hospital – because ‘the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19’, the email said.

The email from the David Lubarsky, vice-chancellor of human health services, and Brad Simmons, interim CEO of UC Davis Medical Center, to the center employees confirmed that the test had come back positive Wednesday.

‘Upon admission, our team asked public health officials if this case could be COVID-19. We requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC, since neither Sacramento County nor (the California Department of Public Health) is doing testing for coronavirus at this time. Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered,’ said the email, which added that, ‘UC Davis Health does not control the testing process’.

The hospital has been treating one other confirmed case of coronavirus, though the other patient contracted the disease through travel after returning to the US from China on February 2.

Florida governor and surgeon general REFUSE to confirm whether any suspected coronavirus cases have been tested in the state 

Officials in Florida have raised concerns about transparency after refusing to confirm whether any suspected cases of coronavirus have been tested for the disease in the state.

‘There is still no known cases of coronavirus in the state of Florida,’ Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference in Tallahassee on Thursday morning. 

‘Obviously, if there is — and hopefully we don’t have — any identified cases, it is something we would notify the public about,” DeSantis added.

However, Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees declined to say whether anyone in the state had been suspected of infection with coronavirus but tested negative for the disease.

Rikvees and DeSantis cited state laws and privacy concerns for withholding any statistical information. 

State Democrats, who hold a minority in both houses of Florida’s legislature, blasted the Republican governor for failing to provide more information.

Florida Surgeon General Dr. Scott Rivkees (center) declined to say whether anyone in the state had been suspected of infection with coronavirus but tested negative for the disease

‘To be clear, we are all confident in Florida’s public health infrastructure and professionals in preparing and protecting us from coronavirus,’ said Democratic state Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez in a statement.

‘What we need is better management of public information,’ he added.

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, who represents the Orlando area, also called for more transparency.

‘I was disappointed that at today’s briefing, state officials failed to be forthcoming with the public about suspected cases in Florida,” she said in a statement to WJXT-TV.

‘As a top tourist destination and home to many vulnerable seniors, Florida is uniquely at risk from the threat of this illness,’ she said.

‘This is not the first COVID-19 patient we have treated, and because of the precautions we have had in place since this patient’s arrival, we believe there has been minimal potential for exposure here at UC Davis Medical Center,’ the email said.

However, the email said some staff members had been warned to go into isolation and to stay vigilant to any developing symptoms.

‘A small number of medical center employees have been asked to stay home and monitor their temperatures,’ the email said.        

The CDC confirmed that the person had not recently returned from a foreign country, and had not been in contact with another confirmed case. 

The news suggests that fears of the disease spreading locally in the US could now be a reality – while President Donald Trump continued to tell the public that the risk to Americans is ‘low’. 

Trump announced in a press conference Wednesday night that the US was ‘very ready’ to tackle the disease as he also handed Vice-President Mike Pence the task of leading the nation’s response to the disease.  

The US has taken extreme precautions to ensure that anyone traveling back from China has been quarantined in order to limit the spread of the disease.

News of the first case where a patient has no known connection to travel abroad or to another known case has raised concerns over how the disease could spread across America. 

A statement from CDC confirmed the first possible instance of ‘community spread’ in the US Wednesday evening.   

‘At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown. It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown,’ the statement said. 

The CDC did not rule out that the patient may have been in contact with an infected individual who is yet to be diagnosed or linked to the individual.

‘It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected,’ the statement said.

‘This case was detected through the US public health system — picked up by astute clinicians. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 15.’

Officials said they will be tracing the infected individual’s contacts to see how they may have been infected and if any other individuals may be at risk.   

A chief doctor at the medical center refuted Trump’s claims that the US is ‘ready’ for an outbreak and sent a stark warning that the local Californian community is not prepared. 

‘We don’t have that much data, so we don’t really know how many symptomatic, or asymptomatic patients there are in the community right now. The testing is very limited. We would like to have more widespread testing so we know where this virus is — who’s sick and who is at risk,’ Dr Dean Blumberg, the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, told CBS Sacramento.

Blumberg said that if community transmission is confirmed, there could be many more cases out there. 

‘We only have this one confirmed case of community transmission, but it suggests that we don’t know where they got it from, so the person who exposed them, so there’s probably other cases in the community that we don’t know about,’ Blumberg said.  

The UC Davis Medical Center has not responded to a request for comment from 

Health workers dealing with Americans in coronavirus quarantine ‘did not have proper training or protective gear and moved on and off military bases, interacting with public’

Health workers dealing with evacuated Americans held in coronavirus quarantine in California did not have proper training or protective gear and moved on and off military bases, a whistleblower has claimed. 

One Federal employee is even said to have stayed in a nearby hotel before leaving on a commercial flight, according to a report seen by The New York Times. 

A complaint was said to have been filed Wednesday with the Office of the Special Counsel.  It concerns more than a dozen Department of Health and Human Services workers who worked at two two military bases in California dealing with Americans evacuated from China in late January and early February. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed an infection in California in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient on Wednesday. The case emerged near the Travis Air Force Base, where part of the whistleblower report is focused.

The whistleblower, a senior leader at the health agency, wrote they ‘soon began to field panicked calls from my leadership team and deployed staff members’.

They say health workers ‘expressed concern’ about ‘staff being sent into quarantined areas without personal protective equipment, training or experience in managing public health emergencies, safety protocols’.  

Scroll down for video  

Two government chartered Boeing 747-400F cargo plane are seen parked at Travis Air Force Base after unloading some Americans evacuated from Wuhan on February 5

In this image from a video taken on Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, U.S. passengers who evacuated off the quarantined cruise ship the Diamond Princess and officials wait for the takeoff of a Kalitta Air airplane bound for the U.S., at Haneda airport in Tokyo

A Solano County, California resident who is the first confirmed case of the Coronavirus COVID-19 that was ‘community acquired’ has been held in isolation while undergoing treatment at the UC Davis Medical Center, pictured, for the past week

The report says the lack of training and protective gear means the workers pose a ‘potential danger to both themselves and members of the public they come into contact with’. 

‘They were potentially exposed to coronavirus; appropriate measures were not taken to protect the staff from potential infection; and appropriate steps were not taken to quarantine, monitor or test them during their deployment and upon their return home’, it adds.  

The Americans evacuated from coronavirus hotspots were sent to Travis Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base. 

It was not until five days after coming into contact with those being held there in quarantine that training in safety protocols was given, according to the whistleblower.    

The Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed the existence of the report. 

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs told The New York Times: ‘We take all whistle-blower complaints very seriously and are providing the complainant all appropriate protections under the Whistleblower Protection Act.’

They added: ‘We are evaluating the complaint and have nothing further to add at this time.’  

Source: Read Full Article