Republican 5th District congressional candidate Mark Greenberg called Friday for the resignation of Thomas Frieden, director of the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over his handling of the country’s response to the Ebola virus.
Greenberg has called for a U.S. travel ban on West African countries affected by Ebola, a move that President Barack Obama has resisted and which also is opposed by his November opponent, first-term Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty.
Esty and other Democrats running for federal office this year have criticized Republicans for cutting funding they say would have left the country in a better position to contain an outbreak.
In criticizing Frieden, Greenberg cited testimony in which the CDC director told Congress that the agency was on top of the problem and would “stop Ebola in its tracks.” But then, after a Dallas health care worker who had treated the nation’s first Ebola victim called the CDC to report having a low-grade fever — but was still allowed by the CDC to board a commercial flight from Dallas to Cleveland — Friedan acknowledged that the CDC was at first unclear on how the disease was transmitted and what precautions should be taken.
“Friedan’s testimony underscores the Obama administration’s failure to control this crisis, and it is increasingly clear the CDC needs new leadership. Therefore, I am calling on Director Frieden to resign and asking my opponent to do the same,” Greenberg said. “I remain concerned for my family, my community, and the people of Connecticut.”
Ebola fears hit Connecticut on Thursday when Yale-New Haven Hospital announced that it was treating a Yale University student who recently returned from Liberia for “Ebola-like symptoms.” The student has since tested negative for Ebola, but will remain in quarantine as a precaution.
The previous day, President Obama canceled an appearance in support of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s re-election campaign in Bridgeport so that he could spend time addressing the crisis with his cabinet in Washington. Malloy was one of the first governors in the U.S. to declare a state of emergency, allowing state government to quarantine patients suspected of having the virus. Connecticut Republicans have called for a hearing on whether the state is doing enough to be prepared.
Greenberg urged Esty to join him “in calling for new leadership at the CDC.”
“The agency is in desperate need of a new direction, and only Director Frieden’s resignation will set the CDC on the right course to manage this public health concern,” he said. “For Congresswoman Esty to ignore this crisis and hope that it will not get worse until after the November election is putting all of our families at tremendous risk.”