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SOTU Scoop
October 16th, 2014
04:27 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 16, 2014.

1. Ebola hearing on the Hill. The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was grilled by members of Congress about the response to Ebola cases in the United States. Many lawmakers expressed concern about how the CDC is handling a limited outbreak of the virus. Amber Vinson, the second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital nurse to contract Ebola, said she was cleared by someone at the CDC to board a flight from Cleveland to Dallas earlier this week after she called to report that she had a fever and had previous contact with an Ebola patient. "I have not reviewed exactly what was said but she did contact our agency and she did board the plane," Dr. Thomas Frieden told the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Frieden has said that Vinson should not have been allowed to take a commercial flight. Vinson is being treated at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital.

2. The other Ebola patient. Nina Pham, the first nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian to contract the virus is being transferred to the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland for treatment. NIH, along with Emory, are one of only four medical facilities in the country with isolated Ebola units. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Thursday's congressional hearing that Pham is in stable condition and is doing "reasonably well."

3. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital. The man in charge of the Dallas medical facility apologized for its original misdiagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, the hospital's first Ebola patient. "Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes," said Dr. Daniel Varga in written testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "Also, in our effort to communicate to the public quickly and transparently we inadvertently provided information that was inaccurate and had to be corrected. No doubt, that was unsettling to a community that was already concerned and confused and we have learned from that experience as well," Varga said.

4. The international response. As officials in Europe and Africa meet to map out a strategy to fight the Ebola outbreak, the World Health Organization is offering some disturbing new statistics about the virus. Health officials say the number of cases in West Africa is doubling every four weeks and by December there could be as many as 10,000 cases of Ebola per week. The WHO says it could be months before the outbreak is brought under control. Meanwhile the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee wants a halt in the issuing of visas to non-U.S. citizens from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the epicenter of the Ebola crisis. "This would be a prudent measure to mitigate the risk of Ebola exposure and contain its spread – a bedrock principle of health crisis management," Rep. Ed Royce (R) CA, said in a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry.

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