A whistleblower is alleging that HHS officials dispatched more than a dozen workers to aid quarantined Americans evacuated from China, without providing proper training or protective gear — a move that potentially exposed them to the coronavirus infection.
The complaint from an HHS employee also claims those workers were not consistently tested for the virus, and their deployment came over objections from various HHS staffers.
The whistleblower is now seeking federal protection over allegations that the individual was unfairly and improperly reassigned after bringing concerns about the workers’ safety to HHS officials.
The Washington Post first reported the complaint, which was confirmed by the whistleblower’s lawyer, Ari Wilkenfeld. It was filed to the independent Office of Special Counsel, which handles whistleblower complaints.
“We are hopeful that Congress and the OSC will investigate this case in a timely and comprehensive manner,” Wilkenfeld said. “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.”