Correction appended at 8:35 p.m. ET
The Ebola crisis in Texas has resulted in the death of one patient, the infection of two health care workers, and an endless round of finger-pointing—all of which is yielding a flurry of conflicting news accounts and a very confused public.
Here’s a rundown of who has been blaming who, and when.
The player: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, an infected nurse, and the CDC itself
- CDC Director Tom Frieden on Sunday blamed a “breach in protocol” for allowing the infection of nurse Nina Pham.
- Frieden admitted on Tuesday the CDC could have done more: “We did send some expertise in infection control but think in retrospect, with 20-20 hindsight, we could have sent a more robust hospital infection control team, and been more hands on at the hospital on day one about exactly how this [case] should be managed. We will do that from now on any time we have a confirmed case.”
- Frieden, commenting on the infection of the second nurse, Amanda Joy Vinson, said: “She should not have flown on [a plane].”
- But a CDC spokesman later explained to TIME that the agency had actually asked Vinson to travel: As officials widened the net of people who needed to be monitored, Vinson was in Ohio and the CDC told her to go back to Dallas. Her temperature was 99.5°F, the spokesperson said. “Most doctors would call that a slight temperature, not a fever,” he said. “At that point, she was asked by CDC to come back to Dallas so she could be monitored, and she came back.”
The player: Dallas nurse Amber Joy Vinson
Who they’re blaming: The CDC
- Vinson said she was cleared by the CDC for travel, which a spokesman later confirmed. She traveled to Cleveland to plan her wedding.
The player: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and National Nurses United
- The hospital originally released Thomas Eric Duncan, the first patient diagnosed in the U.S., who later died. Later, after his diagnosis, the hospital offered a number of reasons for not treating him immediately. At first, the hospital said a computer glitch was responsible for his travel history not being communicated to staff, and then said a nurse did not provide Duncan’s travel history to a physician. Finally, the hospital admitted it made a mistake.
- The hospital refuted claims from a nurses’ union that nurses weren’t adequately trained: “The assertions [of National Nurses United] do not reflect actual facts learned from the medical record and interactions with clinical caregivers. Our hospital followed the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and sought additional guidance and clarity.”
The player: Doctors Without Borders
Who they’re blaming: The CDC
- A Doctors Without Borders representative questioned the CDC’s preparation in the New York Times: “I’ve seen the CDC poster. It doesn’t say anywhere that it’s for Ebola. I was surprised that it was only one set of gloves, and the rest bare hands. It seems to be for general cases of infectious disease.”
The player: Emory University Hospital
Who they’re blaming: The CDC
- Sean G. Kaufman, who oversaw infection control at Emory University Hospital, told the New York Times that the CDC’s guidelines are “absolutely irresponsible and dead wrong,” and that he tried to warn that they were not stringent enough and “they kind of blew me off. I’m happy to see they’re changing them, but it’s late.”
The player: National Nurses United
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, the CDC
- A statement from the union cites “confusion” and “frequently changing policies and protocols” at the hospital: “No one knew what the protocols were or were able to verify what kind of personal protective equipment should be worn and there was no training.”
- RoseAnn DeMoro, the union’s head, contested the CDC’s claim that nurses didn’t follow protocol: “The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell.”
The player: Republicans
Who they’re blaming: Frieden, an open border, Democrats, President Barack Obama
- Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential candidate: “Look this administration couldn’t run the IRS right, and it apparently isn’t running the CDC right. And you ask yourself what is it going to take to have a president who really focuses on the interests of the American people.”
- Republican Rep. Thom Tillis, a Senate candidate in North Carolina: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got an Ebola outbreak, we have bad actors that can come across the border. We need to seal the border and secure it.”
- New Hampshire Senate candidate Scott Brown addressing his opponent’s record: “I think it’s naive to think that people aren’t going to be walking through here who have those types of diseases and/or other types of intent, criminal or terrorist. And yet we do nothing to secure our border. It’s dangerous. And that’s the difference. I voted to secure it. Senator Shaheen has not.”
The player: Democrats
Who they’re blaming: Republicans
- The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, in an ad targeting GOP congressional candidates: “Republicans voted to cut CDC’s budget to fight Ebola.”
The player: Dallas Nurse Briana Aguirre
Who they’re blaming: Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital
- Aguirre told NBC that she “can no longer defend [her] hospital at all.” She said infection control was far too lax, waste was not properly taken care of, and the hospital didn’t provide any mandatory education or information about Ebola outside of an optional seminar before Thomas Eric Duncan arrived at the hospital.
The player: National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins
Who they’re blaming: Budget cuts, Congress
- “NIH has been working on Ebola vaccines since 2001. It’s not like we suddenly woke up and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we should have something ready here,'” Collins told The Huffington Post. “Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready.”
Read next: U.S. Scrambles to Contain Ebola
The original version of this story misstated the first name of Amber Joy Vinson.
- Elliot Page: Embracing My Trans Identity Saved Me
- How Safe Is India's Railway Network?
- The 'Dopamine Detox' Is Having a Moment
- Column: How the World Must Respond to AI
- What the Debt Ceiling Deal Means for Student Loan Borrowers
- LGBTQ Reality TV Takes on a Painful Moment
- What NASA Can Teach SpaceX About Protecting the Environment
- The Best Movies of 2023 So Far