Calls mount for CDC director to resign over Ebola missteps

Dr. Manny Alvarez discusses the criticism


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," October 15, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: As Trace has just reported, Amber Vincent reportedly called the CDC before boarding the plane from Ohio back to Texas on Monday and was told it was OK to fly.

Dr. Manny Alvarez is a Fox News and senior managing editor for health news and he joins me now.  

And the CDC told her it was OK because their standard is you cannot fly if your fever is 100, 100.4 or higher, she was 99.5. Dr. Frieden today is saying, basically the CDC should not have told her that she could fly, given that she'd been exposed. And yet he's still is saying when that he came on here last night and talked about how there'd been no fever, he didn't know about Amber until overnight.

His underlings clearly are not funneling the information up or something else is going wrong.  

DR. MANNY ALVAREZ, FOX NEWS SENIOR MANAGING EDITOR:  Well, listen, this is not transparent. You know, this morning, when I saw the case of the nurse and I saw your interview last night with the CDC director, I was very confused. I mean, how could you be going on television at 9:00 and then a few hours later the nurse is in a hospital?  So, he had to know. And if he didn't know, he was negligent. I mean, I've been calling for his resignation I think since last week. I think that whoever was involved in managing these patients and telling this nurse to go ahead and get on a plane should be fired. This is not the standard --

KELLY: But those are the CDC's guidelines, that's the problem, although he says today knowing that she had been exposed to Ebola that shouldn't have been allowed.  

ALVAREZ: Look, when I hear the president talk this afternoon and say, look, we're going to send teams and we're going to have a better hands on.  "We know this virus. And if we do these things, you're not going to get it."  Well, we know that for a long, long time. You know, this Ebola has been around since 1976. You saw the CDC director get off the plane and put a whole bunch of protective covering to go because he knows how infectious Ebola is.  

KELLY: He says the reason he was so covered in Liberia and yet told us last night that you didn't need to cover your head and you didn't need to double glove and you didn't need to cover your feet, you know, your shoes, it's because those are the protocols being used in West Africa.  They do not mirror the ones used here and the ones used here are perfectly adequate.  

ALVAREZ: Well, because there they have Ebola. We never had Ebola here. So our protocols are very basic. You know, we have blamed -- first we blamed the nurse for breaking protocol. That kind of was confusing to me.  

KELLY: He dialed that back.  

ALVAREZ: Now we're blaming the hospital. Well, the hospital was really not well prepared for it. Despite the fact that everybody in the administration including himself said don't worry all hospitals were prepared. And I've been saying for a long time all hospitals are not created equal.  

KELLY: And even last night on the program he was talking about how individual hospitals should be able to treat this disease. And then today they fly this new victim of the virus to Emory. Which is what I've been asking him, why don't we send the ones who get it to Emory to places that are prepared?  

ALVAREZ: That is correct. Because there are maybe two or three hospitals that have the infrastructure, the know how to deal with this kind of infectious agent.

KELLY: OK. But meantime, since this is becoming now, not just a medical nightmare but a PR nightmare for the administration, they released a statement from someone who was being treated for the disease today, a doctor who's been treated at Emory saying, "I just wanted you to know, I just want to maintain my anonymity right now but I want you to know I am doing better." And so just because you get Ebola doesn't mean you necessarily die. They're trying to make people feel better about that. So if these nurses who have just contracted it thanks to this patient who was mismanaged, if they survive it, are they going to be OK?

ALVAREZ: Well, you know, there's some side effects from surviving Ebola. And that's another story. You know, when you look at the data of people, you know, the mortality rate for Ebola's about 70 percent, right?  So if you survive --

KELLY: Better in a country like ours. But still up to 50 percent.  50/50 shot of dying.  

ALVAREZ: Of dying. But if you die, that's one thing. But if you survive it, there are long-term consequences that can develop. You have, you know, chronic arthritis can develop, autoimmune problems, eye diseases.  If you have had a lot of high fevers for a long, long time for a young woman you could have fertility issues. So it's not so much that, "Yes, I went through Ebola, I survived, I get a t-shirt," and you move on.  There are some, you know --

KELLY: But let me press you on Dr. Frieden. Because obviously he's come under fire. But this is a virus. It travels. They're doing the best they can. Do you think there's anybody we can put in there that would say, "I've got it perfectly handled? I'm not going to let this transmit, it doesn't matter who lies to the airport authorities. You know, I will make sure not a single case gets into the United States or spreads."

ALVAREZ: Look, there's a lot of good scientists out there and private industry even in our Defense Department. This has -- right now we are dealing with the CDC problem that requires almost a military approach, a military hands-on approach. You know, if this virus ends up in South America or Central America, what do you think is going to happen? We're going to have chaos on our hands. You're going to have people going through the borders being afraid, and I don't blame them, they don't have the infrastructures either in South America or in Central America.  

KELLY: Well, that's clearly what happened with patient zero who got in Liberia, had been handling a dying patient who had Ebola repeatedly and then lied to the authorities about whether he had it because he probably wanted to get care here and even we could not save him.  

ALVAREZ: Listen, I looked at a press conference from August 4, the president of the United States was getting ready to welcome everybody from all the leaders from Africa. And there was a question about Ebola and they asked the president, are you worried about Ebola and he said, well, I'm not worried but we're going to have very detailed analysis of the people that are coming, we got to check them over there and then, when they get here we're going to check them also, back there on August 4th. And here we are in October --

KELLY: That's the thing, that piecemeal in his representations fall apart. And no one seems to be coming out and forthright and saying, "I take responsibility, we made a mistake. And here's how they're going to do better." They like to skip that first step.  Dr. Manny, good to see you.  

ALVAREZ: Thank you.

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