The Boston Marathon bombing had the mysterious man on the roof. Sandy Hook had multiple shooters. 9/11 had...actually, nevermind. And yesterday, the Great Ebola Panic of 2014 debuted its own mysterious man photographed from a distance: Clipboard guy, who was spotted on the Tarmac without a hazmat suit when Ebola patient Amber Vinson was transported into an airplane.
You can see the man in the video above: He's holding some materials in his hand and looks on as Vinson is helped into a waiting plane by healthcare workers in hazmat suits. Though the man doesn't touch Vinson or come within the "splash zone" in which he could conceivably be splattered by Vinson's bodily fluids. He is perhaps uncomfortably close to Vinson, but that is a personal measure.
But the man, who has still not been named, also helped the hazmat team with its clean up:
He also boarded the plane after Vinson:
The reaction was about what you would expect: 'Who's the idiot with the clipboard?' Disbelief and panic as mystery man WITHOUT a hazmat suit helps second Ebola nurse board her plane to Atlanta, disposes waste and then climbs aboard" read the Daily Mail's headline. "Why No Protective Gear For Man With Dallas Ebola Patient?" asked Dallas' CBS station. He even got his own name: "Clipboard Guy."
"His role is to oversee the process of transport including on the tarmac," Randy Davis, vice president at Phoenix Air, told NBC News. "Part of our protocol is to have 1 person NOT in a bio-Hazard suit. "
Davis said the man, who he did not name, is the team's medical safety coordinator. Standard protocol is for him to wear street clothes, Davis said, because the suits can block field of vision and hearing. Davis said the man has been trained on keeping safe distance from patients and is ready to "suit up" if needed.
That Vinson caught Ebola only because the CDC bungled protocol implementation—which also allowed her to take a flight from Cleveland to Dallas before being diagnosed—certainly did not help matters, but "Clipboard guy" may never fade away for devoted conspiracy theorists.
Clipboard guy wouldn't have been there looking like a noob if the CDC was taking this seriously.
— Savannah the Bossy (@thesavvy) October 16, 2014
— Ken Freestone (@KenFreestone) October 16, 2014
— Northlandfox (@northlandfox) October 15, 2014
Uh, hello? Next Ebola victim may be the guy without a hazard suit holding a clipboard while the infected nurse boards the plane #KellyFile
— Grateful Girl (@sbethcarp) October 16, 2014