The Times article focused on the ability of Ebola to spread. In the article it stated that the odds of its spreading throughout the United States was limited because of the advantages of our health care system and the reality that if you live in America your chances of survival are increased because of the medical technology available.
Has anyone died of Ebola in America? No. With a fatality rate of near 60% - 90% in Africa, we have a survival rate of 100%. Granted there have been only a few cases, but none have died. Even Mr. Thomas Duncan who is very sick and lied to get into the country is still alive at this printing.
Which raises the central issue of this article. At the conclusion of the Times article the author stated: “Whether he knew it or not, boarding that plane in Monrovia was Mr. Duncan’s best hope of saving his own life.”
My hunch is… he knew it! That is why he lied to get on the plane. That is why others will also lie to get on the plane. The human drive to survive is fundamental and people will do anything to survive.
Mr. Duncan will be the first of many more to come. When the disease begins to strike people with the financial ability, they will rush to the airport at the first suspicion of infection and seek transportation to the nearest Western country. A Black Market of false documents will explode, and that nation with the least border controls will be first on the list…the United States.
Less we forget, Mr. Duncan is NOT the first to attempt help in America. He is merely the first to successfully arrive here. Patrick Sawyer, a Liberian-American infected with Ebola, tried to escape Africa seeking the United States. He did not make it. He fell ill in Lagos, Nigeria and died, but not before infecting nineteen people killing nine.
On this past Saturday yet another incident occurred when a passenger from Liberia to the United States became ill inflight. The gentleman sitting next to him, during an interview with CNN, reported that there was no preparation for this event and once they landed it appeared there were no procedures in place to handle the situation. Thankfully, he did not have Ebola, but how long will luck sustain us.
President Obama’s misguided “Political Correctness” is placing the entire nation at risk. He has to know that, but he chooses to place his liberal philosophy over the safety of our nation. If we isolate persons to their homes who are exposed, what is the difference between that and isolating exposed people within their nation?
Travel from the infected countries has to be cut-off. The old prescription of Quarantine must be instituted. It often kept Cholera and Yellow Fever epidemics out of New Orleans. Isolation is the best means of defense. That was the only method that worked in the past and we can learn from the past.
Will this have a negative impact on the economies of West Africa and the world? Absolutely, but we cannot fantasize that Ebola does not exist and will not have an even greater impact should it metastasize globally.
Statements made by of the head of the Centers for Disease Control are misplaced. Dr. Thomas Frieden argues against travel restrictions because of the impact it might have on getting aid to disease ridden nations. You do not need unrestricted commercial air travel to deliver aid. He should know that!
As for those nations exposed to Ebola and the consequential isolation, it is our duty as a world community to help them. Provide whatever those poor people need to survive. That will be a lot because Ebola is having a devastating impact on the entire social, political, and economic fabric of those countries. This should include the introduction of medical volunteers from around the globe to help stem the tide of infection. They have to know that they have international support and everything that can be done will be done… at home! That might motivate them to seek help home and not try to flee and spread the disease.
It is our responsibility to help, but not our responsibility to assume unnecessary risks to our own national security. If travel is not restricted, the disease will spread. Despite what some “professionals” and “experts” might say. America is NOT prepared. The situation in Dallas has proven that. Infected people with the means to travel will travel. They will seek the means to survive, it is only human, and they will spread Ebola.
Remember, President Obama announced just days before Mr. Duncan’s arrival that it was “highly unlikely” that Ebola would arrive in the U.S. He was wrong then and he is wrong now!
Ron Chapman is an award-winning columnist, a businessman and a instructor of history at Nunez Community College.