WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – A whistleblower from Health and Human Services is raising questions on protocol when it comes to the coronavirus, according to a story first reported by the Washington Post.
The whistleblower is charging that United States Health and Human Services employees did not use proper protective gear when they worked with Americans evacuated from Wuhan China who were headed to quarantine in California and Texas.
“It was kind of chaotic on the ground. To knowledge, were protocols followed at all times?” Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) asked Thursday.
“I’m not aware of any violation of quarantine or isolation protocols,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.
After that exchange with the secretary of Health and Human Services on Thursday, Rep. Gomez said the whistleblower had contacted his office.
Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR) said it appears there was a break down in communication inside the government.
“CDC had people there also that did have a much higher degree of preparedness, in terms of equipment in terms of masks, suits,” Schrader said.
The whistleblower complaint also alleges the employees were not tested for the virus and some boarded commercial flights to return home.
Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV) said this is one more sign the administration is not prepared for the coronavirus.
“When Trump took over, he just stripped away a lot of the positions that were put in place to deal with this issue,” said Titus. “He’s also put political people out front as opposed to medical experts.”
The whistleblower’s complaint alleges Health and Human Services threatened to fire the whistleblower. An HHS spokesperson said in a statement only that the complaint is being taken seriously and the whistleblower is being provided protections required by law.
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