U.S. healthcare workers exposed to coronavirus?

U.S. healthcare workers exposed to coronavirus
President Donald Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Source: Reuters
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Daily US Times, Washington: A whistleblower from the Department of Health and Human Services has alleged that the US has sent a dozen government workers to assist Americans who came back from the Chinese city of Wuhan, without giving them proper training or protective gears. The complaint raises question wheather the U.S. healthcare workers exposed to coronavirus.

According to the New York Times and Washington Post, the whistleblower is a senior HHS official based in Washington, DC, and oversees employees at the Administration for Children and Families unit within the federal agency.

Wuhan is thought to be the place where the coronavirus outbreak originated, which has infected 82,000 people — most of them in mainland China — and killed 2,800.

The World Health Organization warned that the outbreak could become a pandemic and the US health officials announced this week they expected it to spread throughout the country.

The healthcare workers who were sent to assist help American evacuees did not show symptoms of the coronavirus and have not been tested positive.

New York Times obtained a portion of the complaint that was submitted to the office of the Special Counsel. The complaint shows that the team sent to assist the evacuees were “improperly deployed” to two military bases in California to aid in processing the Americans, who were evacuated from China and elsewhere.

The newspaper reported that the workers were ordered to go quarantined areas of Travis Air Force Base and March Air Reserve Base without proper training in how to handle infectious diseases and inadequate protective gear. The whistleblower said the officials were not trained how to follow safety protocols until five days later.

The first case of a US patient becoming infected with coronavirus through ”community spread” took place near Travis Air Force earlier this week, according to The Times.

The whistleblower also alleged that the worker also unfairly reassigned after raising their concerns to senior HHS officials, including those who work for HHS Secretary Alex Azar. Washington Post reported that, On February 19, the person was told they had 15 days to accept their new job or they would be terminated, The Post reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people needed to brace itself as the coronavirus sweeps the globe and is increasingly likely to spread within the US — a possibility that would most likely force changes to daily life for many Americans.

The director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, said during a press call on Tuesday: “It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen. We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad.”