As you guys know, I have a radio show on the largest talk station in the country, WSB Atlanta. The CDC is based in Atlanta.
This evening, during break, an individual called the program claiming to work for the CDC and to have knowledge of the patient in Dallas, TX.
The source gave me information to lead me to establish credibility: name, occupation, background, etc. The source also gave me dates and travel information about the patient.
What makes the source seem legitimate is that the source provided accurate information including the patient’s arrival in the U.S. on September 20th and that the patient had come from a funeral in Liberia. The source provided all that information before those details had hit the wires and before the press conference.
The name of the source matches an individual at the CDC who would have this information.
You know as much about the source as I do, other than who the source purports to be.
Again, the source gave me information off the air and before it was publicly released that turned out to be accurate.
The source also gave me information that adds to the narrative. Taking my description of the source as presented, here are other details the source gave me.
The patient traveled from Liberia to the United States via Brussels and Dulles, VA, on to Dallas, TX.
The patient did not have symptoms when he arrived. But, and this is key and what did not come out at the press conference, the source tells me the patient actually did go to the hospital with symptoms on September 24, 2014. In fact, I assumed I was confused because the press conference said the 26th. I assumed I misheard the source. So I texted the source who called me back and, purported reading from the file, read that the patient arrived in Dallas, TX on the 20th of September, appeared in the emergency room with symptoms on September 24th. The patient was discharged with antibiotics and returned again days later with watery diarrhea and other symptoms, tested for both malaria and Ebola, and put in isolation on the 28th.
You know all I can tell you about the source. Perhaps the source is not legit, is pulling a prank, and was just lucky. But when the source called me back to confirm the dates, the source is insistent the patient first went to the emergency room on the 24th, the patient was discharged, and four days later on the 28th returned and was admitted and put in isolation.
Now, assume the source is just making it all up and is not legitimate. A few questions are still in the air:
From September 26th to 28th, where was the patient, if the timeline presented in the press conference was true.
From September 20th to September 24th or 26th, where was the patient?
There are a lot of unknown answers and the CDC will, I hope, err on the side of giving us vastly more information than we need instead of less.