President Obama may have been busy golfing this weekend, and his brand new Ebola Czar may have had more pressing matters to attend than the White House's Saturday evening meeting on the US "response to domestic Ebola cases" (because clearly the Ebola Czar is superfluous at such Ebola-related events), but that doesn't mean that the administration will once again be caught with its pants down the next time an Ebola index patient is unveiled on US soil. Nope.
In taking a page right out of America's response to the Ebola pandemic in... West Africa, where the US has dispatched several thousands troops to do, something, unclear what, earlier today, it was revealed that the U.S. military is forming a 30-person "quick-strike team", which according to CNN is "equipped to provide direct treatment to Ebola patients inside the United States, a Defense Department official told CNN's Barbara Starr on Sunday."
The team will be under orders to deploy within 72 hours at any time over the next month, the official said. The Department of Health and Human Services requested the military team, and the Pentagon has given verbal approval, the official said.
The team will include five doctors, 20 nurses and five trainers, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement.
The Pentagon has been working to determine what assistance it could offer the civilian health care sector following a White House meeting last week during which President Barack Obama said he wanted a more aggressive response, according to two Defense officials.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered chief of the Northern Command, Gen. Chuck Jacoby, "to prepare and train a 30-person expeditionary medical support team that could, if required, provide short-notice assistance to civilian medical professionals in the United States," Kirby said.
Jacoby is already working with the military on the joint team, Kirby said, and once formed, it will head to Fort Sam Houston in Texas for up to seven days of training in infection control and personal protective equipment. The training, provided by the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, will begin "within the next week or so," Kirby said.
The team will remain in "prepare-to-deploy" status for 30 days, he said. It will be able to respond anywhere in the U.S. if "deemed prudent by our public health professionals," he said.
To summarize: the Pentagon, as in the US army, will provide direct treatment to Ebola patients.
So just how exactly is the US army's crack 30-person "SWAT" team which has a whopping 5 doctors, more competent to deal to deal with what is, at last check, a medical situation than, say, America's medical professionals? Or is, in the parlance of our times, where an "Iraq military advisor" really means crack commando fighting Syrian troops on the ground on behalf of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, "direct treatment" merely a euphemism for something far less enjoyable?
For the partial answer to some of these questions, please read "Public Health Emergency Declared In Connecticut Over Ebola: Civil Rights Suspended Indefinitely, and also "Obama Mobilizes National Guard, Army Reserves To Fight Ebola" - they serve as a good starting point for where all of this is ultimately headed.