The current state of Ebola hysteria has some in a panic and others scratching their heads. With its daily appearance in the news outlets one might think the end of the world was upon us. Others, like FoxNews’ Shepherd Smith, are saying get a grip, one has a better chance of getting hit by a truck then getting Ebola. Even in the Epicenter of the outbreak the numbers of people dieing is a very small percentage of the populous.
While Ebola is not a pandemic that is going to wipe out much of civilization like the plague, neither is it a non issue as Smith proposes. Like the flu, it is a disease that varies as to how contagious it is and in the likelihood of death according to the strain. Like all viruses, it also mutates regularly so what we know today could all change tomorrow. Adding to this is the fact that it has already killed a lot of people in Africa and has the potential to go global. All of this taken together makes it big issue!
Given the potential for Ebola to spread, and even the possibility of it getting out of control, containment is the greatest weapon against it. Development of treatments, while extremely necessary, will take time. Treatment therefore must be seen as secondary to containment. Most people understand this instinctively, that is most. Some like to pretend there is no possibility of wide spread infection while others see only the politics of the situation. A select few are trapped in an ideological cage, unable to see the obvious. President Obama is in the last category.
In truth, keeping Ebola out of the Untied States is a simple act of self-defense, equal to defending the country from terrorist or military attack. In this case, the only avenue open to preventing it coming to the United States, or anywhere else, is to restrict people from infected areas from entering the country. Given this, it seems wildly irresponsible to not even do simple step of banning non-essential travel out of Ebola infected areas. If such a ban was in place there would not be nurses in hospitals fighting for their lives in Texas and Atlanta or over a hundred individuals under watch in Ohio. If any of these Americans die it is wholly on the head of President Obama for his failure to do his primary duty of protecting the American people.
Let’s be clear, a travel ban does not mean restricting life saving medicine or the movement of medical personal. It just means all non-essential travel, like that of the now deceased Ebola victim Thomas Duncan, is not allowed. The few personal allowed to move in and out of infected countries would have to be heavily scrutinized but their movement could be facilitated. For certain this would have a negative impact on the economies of the countries affected, but it is necessary if the misery is to be contained. Other arguments, like that made by Dr. Manny on FoxNews, that it will encourage more people to flee west Africa and further spread the disease is senseless. People who can flee already are, which means those countries still accepting them are the only ones at risk. Add to that, that the only good way to get out of West Africa is by plane and you have a situation extremely easy to contain, if there is the will to do so. In other words. all arguments against a travel ban are without merit.
Unfortunately, keeping a lid on the out break is not on President Obama’s agenda, he is totally relying on treatment. A decision that continues to have political fall out. The President has shown no inclination to veer from his present course, if anything he has dug in his heels. The American people be damned, they have no right, in his mind, to put their safety before the people in West Africa. As made evident in his book Dreams From My Father, Obama feels a strong attachment to Africa and is a strident anti-colonialist. In his mind, the West has a lot to answer for in Africa and has an obligation not to abandon its hour of need. So strong is this viewpoint that it totally overrides his allegiance to the United States. As if to put an exclamation point on this, his administration is drawing up plans to bring infected foreigners to the U.S. for treatment while telling the military that infected soldiers will be banned from returning until the are well or die, which ever comes first. Such is the insanity of his ideologically closed mind.
In the end, Ebola will not change the course of history. It might even slowly go away as it has in the past. Even if a wide spread outbreak did occur, the death toll in Western nations, percentage wise, would not rise to levels in Africa; the people in the West are healthier and their medical facilities better equipped. This could all change if the virus mutated into something even worse. Even so, if it becomes a pandemic it will kill many thousands. The fact that even the possibility of such tragedy might be avoided by simple common sense measures, and that such measures are not being implemented, is pure madness. Barack Obama can name all the unqualified political hacks as czars he wants, it will not protect him from being seen as culpable for any future Ebola deaths caused by those fleeing infected countries.
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