As news helicopters swarmed over Dallas’ Love Field on Wednesday evening to watch the second U.S. nurse to contract Ebola board a private plane bound for Atlanta, one lone mysterious man stood out from the pack.
Holding a clipboard and directing the transfer, the unidentified man seemed to be the only person on the tarmac without protective clothing, wearing just a button down shirt and slacks.
While Ebola is not an airborne disease, his presence so close to patient Amber Vinson’s medical team sparked fears after he was seen grabbing a container and hazmat trash bag from one of the workers’ in full-protective gear and later boarding the flight.
He then flew with Vinson and the other hazmat-suited medical staff to Atlanta and local television crews spotted him with the stricken nurse as she disembarked at the airport in Georgia to be transferred to Emory University Hospital.
ABC News reports that the man is a supervisor for Phoenix Air, the company that flew Miss Vinson from Dallas to Atlanta.
When the plane landed in Atlanta, the man had still not donned any protective clothing and was seen openly interacting with Vinson and the other medical professionals caring for the nurse.
Members of the public watching were struck with disbelief at the man’s decision to throw caution to the wind.
‘He needs to be put on watch the second the plane lands so he does not infect anyone in Atlanta. This needs to be contained and I for one will be ticked of I hear a report next week that he is the next victim!’ Dean Pitts wrote on NBC Dallas’ website.
‘Our medical professionals in the biohazard suits have limited vision and mobility and it is the protocol supervisor’s job to watch each person carefully and give them verbal directions to insure no close contact protocols are violated,’ a Phoenix Air spokesman told ABC.
Vinson landed in Atlanta, Georgia before 8pm Eastern Time to be treated at Emory University Hospital
A CDC spokesman told KTVT that they didn’t think anything was wrong with the interaction since he ‘kept a safe distance’.
Miss Vinson’s flight landed in Atlanta around 7:45pm Eastern Time.
Social media was as equally impressed as they were dumbfounded by the man who has quickly become known as ‘clipboard man’ online.
Dan Hevia said what many shocked viewers must have immediately thought when they saw the brave or foolhardy individual when he wrote, ‘I’d like to know who the dude with the clipboard is so I can avoid him. C’mon!
Another incredulous witness was staggered, asking, ‘My infectious disease training may be a bit limited but fairly sure that clipboard isn’t Ebola proof.’
Others went straight to the heart of the matter, with Lib Media Exposed asking, ‘Who’s the idiot who thinks all the protection he needs from Ebola is a f******’ clipboard?’
Another Twitter user, Luke Murray pointed out that ‘clipboard man’ might be the recipient of a dubious prize, should the worst come to the worst.
‘So much for protocols,’ wrote Lurray. ‘Clipboard dude in the pic with nurse 2 is up for a Dawrin Award should something happen to him.’
The mystery man on the tarmac is just the latest questionable practice highlighted in the CDC’s handling of the Ebola outbreak in America, which started when Liberian patient Thomas Eric Duncan was initially turned away from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital last month after reporting a high fever.