Ebola fears in America reached a whole new level on Wednesday, when a passenger at Washington, DC’s Dulles Airport was seen wearing a partial-Hazmat suit while waiting for a flight.
The unidentified woman was seen sitting in an airport lounge, wearing a transparent blue plastic suit, on the same say a second nurse was diagnosed with the deadly disease in Dallas, Texas. The suit did not fully cover her arms, leaving her wrists exposed.
The photographer, who submitted the picture to the Daily Caller, did not approach the woman so it’s unclear whether the passenger was wearing the suit as a joke or was generally concerned about catching Ebola.
America’s ‘patient zero’ Thomas Eric Duncan flew into Texas last month from Liberia, with a layover at Dulles, but health officials say he was not showing symptoms of the virus at that point and therefore unable to spread the disease.
However, Amber Vinson, the second nurse to contract the disease after treating Duncan, flew on a commercial flight with a low-grade fever on Monday, the day before she admitted herself to the hospital with further symptoms of the virus.
The CDC confirmed today that they let her board the flight, since her temperature was below the threshold of 100.4F. But the health organization’s Director Thomas Frieden initially said she should not have been on a commercial flight, after having treated Duncan in the first ‘high-risk’ days of his stay at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital.
U.S. health officials Tuesday laid out worst-case and best-case scenarios for the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, warning that the number of infected people could explode to at least 1.4 million by mid-January – or peak well below that, if efforts to control the outbreak are ramped up.
The widely varying projections by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were based on conditions in late August and do not take into account a recent international surge in medical aid for the stricken region. That burst has given health authorities reason for some optimism.
“I’m confident the most dire projections are not going to come to pass,” CDC chief Dr. Tom Frieden said in releasing the report.