• Special counsel also criticizes HHS general counsel for 'attempts to shame the whistleblower.'
The Trump administration's incompetence in managing the first Wuhan evacuees one year ago at the beginning of the COVID pandemic "increased the risk of infection transmission … to the American public as a whole," a federal watchdog concludes in documents obtained by the Washington Post.
Dan Diamond at the Washington Post reports:
As the first American evacuees from Wuhan, China, touched down at a California military base a year ago, fleeing the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, they were met by U.S. health officials with no virus prevention plan or infection-control training — and who had not even been told to wear masks, according to a federal investigation.
Later, those officials were told to remove protective gear when meeting with the evacuees to avoid "bad optics," and days after those initial encounters, departed California aboard commercial airline flights to other destinations.
The "most troubling finding" is that the government's handling of the Wuhan evacuees "increased the risk of infection transmission not only to deployed [government] personnel, but also to the American public as a whole," Special Counsel Henry Kerner wrote in a letter to President Biden on Thursday.
More: U.S. handling of American evacuees from Wuhan increased coronavirus risks, watchdog finds