Two whistleblowers have accused the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of allowing COVID-19 to rampantly spread throughout detention centers housing migrant children, and then using “every effort” to downplay the level of infection in the facilities.
Arthur Pearlstein, Director of Arbitration and of the Office of Shared Neutrals at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS), and Lauren Reinhold, an Attorney-Advisor at the Social Security Administration (SSA), served as volunteer detailees at the Fort Bliss Emergency Intake Site near El Paso, Texas, from April through June 2021.
The two whistleblowers stated in their complaint, “COVID was widespread among children and eventually spread to many employees. Hundreds of children contracted COVID in overcrowded conditions. Adequate masks were not consistently provided to children, nor was their use consistently enforced. Every effort was made to downplay the degree of COVID infection at the site, and the size of the outbreak was deliberately kept under wraps.”