Doctors at a Texas hospital unwittingly release an Ebola-infected man. The hospital blames a flaw in the electronic health records system and then backtracks: The doctors blew it.
The home shared by the Liberian man and four people is a nest of infectious materials, where cleanup was delayed by more than a week due to a bureaucratic snafu. State health department officials apologize.
In Liberia, the U.S. assistance President Obama promised several weeks ago has been slow to arrive, according to The New York Times, "and logistical glitches have prevented the United States military from being able to quickly set up the hospitals and treatment centers needed to halt the virus." The general in command says it will take "several weeks" before the U.S. military is fully responsive to the months-old crisis.
Once again, Americans are reminded of the limits of U.S. social institutions—in this case various state, local, and federal government agencies and private-sector health systems that responded to the Ebola crisis slowly, inefficiently, and with a lack of candor that Americans, unfortunately, have come to expect.
Steadily, over the past four decades, the nation has lost faith in virtually every American institution: banks, schools, colleges, charities, unions, police departments, organized religion, big businesses, small businesses and, of course, politics and government. A Pew Research Center survey in October 2013 found trust in government at a near-record low. While specific federal agencies received generally high marks (including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Americans continued to lose faith in the presidency, Congress, and the two major parties.