President Obama said Thursday that his Ebola czar, Ron Klain, is planning to return to the private sector, signaling a further wind-down in the fight against the deadly virus that’s killed over 9,000 in West Africa.
Mr. Obama appointed Mr. Klain in the fall amid domestic pressure to confront the virus, which breached American shores for the first time last September amid the historic — and ongoing — outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
Many questioned what Mr. Klain was doing exactly, after he failed to give public remarks or appearances after his appointment.
The president pushed back at that “background noise” in his announcement Thursday, saying the czar fulfilled his mission by coordinating the U.S. response among several agencies.
“The results of that effort speak for themselves, so much so that we can now turn our focus to our ultimate goal of getting to zero cases in West Africa, which might have seemed unthinkable last fall,” Mr. Obama said.
Ebola’s spread has slowed dramatically in recent weeks, and Mr. Obama this week said only 100 troops will remain in Liberia as of April 30 — down from a peak commitment of 2,800.
The president took a victory lap of sorts Wednesday with officers and aid workers who worked on the front lines of the Ebola fight, including two Dallas nurses who tested positive, yet later recovered, after treating a Liberian man who carried the virus to Texas and later died.
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