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HHS whistleblower says American workers met Wuhan evacuees without taking proper precautions


But why?

Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

A government whistleblower told the Washington Post that more than a dozen Health and Human Services employees evacuated Americans from Wuhan, China, without any proper protective gear to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Wuhan, China, was the epicenter of the coronavirus — or COVID-19 — outbreak.

What are the details?

The allegations only get worse: The whistleblower told the outlet that none of the HHS workers reportedly had proper training for infection control, either.

None of the employees showed symptoms of coronavirus, according to the whistleblower — but none of the workers were tested, either.

The whistleblower — a senior HHS official based in Washington, D.C., according to the outlet — is seeking federal protection. The female employee says that she was unfairly reassigned after sounding the alarm on the alleged evacuation protocol. The unnamed employee says that she was notified on Feb. 19 that she will be terminated if she does not accept the new assignment.

She filed a complaint against the department on Wednesday with the Office of the Special Counsel.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Special Counsel told the outlet that it has, indeed, received the woman's complaint and is reviewing the case.

Ari Wilkenfeld, a lawyer for the whistleblower, told CNN that his client will not be intimidated into silence.

"We are hopeful that Congress and the OSC will investigate this case in a timely and comprehensive manner," Wilkenfeld said in a statement. "This matter concerns HHS's response to the coronavirus, and its failure to protect its employees and potentially the public. The retaliatory efforts to intimidate and silence our client must be opposed."

What else?

The news comes on the heels of the controversy surrounding Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar, who is accused of mishandling the response to the coronavirus epidemic.

The Centers for Disease Control warns that it's only a matter of when, not if, the coronavirus spreads throughout the U.S.

Azar, however, has continually insisted that the coronavirus is of low risk to Americans — directly contradicting advisories from the CDC. The CDC reports that the "potential public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, both globally and to the United States."

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