Infectious Disease Expert Calls Criticism of Ebola Czar 'Misplaced'

PHOTO: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci on This WeekPlayABC News
WATCH NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci: Criticism of Ebola Czar 'Misplaced'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today defended President Obama's choice of Ron Klain to be the administration's Ebola "czar" despite his lack of medical background, calling him an "excellent manager."

"I think that's a misplaced criticism," Fauci told "This Week" anchor George Stephanopoulos. "What we're talking about now is an Ebola response coordinator, somebody who has extraordinary, as he does, managerial experience ... leadership experience, which he has plenty of.

"He's going to rely on medical experts, like myself and Dr. Frieden and others, to do the medical things," Fauci said, referring to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Tom Frieden.

Fauci praised White House homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco and National Security Adviser Susan Rice, who had helped lead the administration's Ebola response efforts before Klain's appointment on Friday.

"Lisa Monaco and Susan Rice have been doing that. But they have other big jobs to do. They've been doing a terrific job, but they have other responsibilities We're talking about one designated person who's an excellent manager," Fauci said of Klain.

During the interview on "This Week," Fauci also defended the administration's decision to not ban travel from those countries in West Africa that have been hardest hit by Ebola.

"When people come in from a country it's much easier to track them if you know where they're coming from," Fauci said. "But what you do if you then completely ban travel, there's the feasibility of going to other countries where we don't have a travel ban and have people come in."

"The most important thing we want to do is to protect the American public. And we'll discuss any way – and the president has said that," Fauci added.

Fauci also said the new CDC protocols "will be finalized soon," saying that certain aspects of the current guidelines fell short in critical ways.

"The previous protocols were really based on a WHO [World Health Organization] model in which people were taking care of people in a different environment, essentially in the bush, as they say, in remote places almost sometimes outdoors," Fauci said.

"Those people did not have to do the tertiary care, intensive type of training that we do," he said. "So there were parts about that protocol that left vulnerability, parts of the skin that were open.

"Very clearly, when you go into a hospital, have to intubate somebody, have all of the body fluids, you've got to be completely covered. So that's going to be one of the things. The protocol will be finalized soon. But one of the things is going to be complete covering with no skin showing whatsoever," he said.

Fauci also gave an update on the condition of Nina Pham, one of the nurses who contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, saying her condition is "fair" and "stable," and she is in "very good spirits."

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