Obama, Ebola, and the Little Dutch Boy

AFBrancoObamaEbola1092014In response to the death of the first Ebola patient in our country, Obama and his Administration have announced that they are going to take drastic steps to prevent a pandemic…They’re going to take Airline Passengers’ temperatures.

The New York Times reports that

Federal health officials will require temperature checks for the first time at five major American airports for people arriving from the three West African countries hardest hit by the deadly Ebola virus. However, health experts said the measures were more likely to calm a worried public than to prevent many people with Ebola from entering the country.

Still, they constitute the first large-scale attempt to improve security at American ports of entry since the virus arrived on American soil last month.

They are also a notable policy shift at a time of rising concern about the disease. Public health officials had initially resisted the move, saying such checks would be an unnecessary use of thinly stretched resources. But pressure for tougher action mounted. Republicans sharply criticized President Obama for what they called a lax response. Many, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have suggested looking at air travel restrictions from West Africa, something the administration has rejected.

The temperature check requirements were announced hours after the first Ebola patient to have the illness diagnosed in the United States, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, died in a Dallas hospital, intensifying questions about whether he might have survived had he been admitted to a hospital when he first sought care there in late September.

The president’s Republican critics were largely silent Wednesday after Mr. Duncan died and the administration announced the airport screenings. It was unclear if the Republicans saw the temperature checks as a sufficient response to the epidemic or if they did not want to be perceived as seeking political gain from Mr. Duncan’s death.

That Mr. Duncan was able to get from Liberia to Dallas as the disease surged out of control in West Africa underscored the risk of spreading disease in a globalized world. An infected Liberian-American, Patrick Sawyer, carried the disease to Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, on a flight for business. Mr. Duncan had come to the United States to reunite with family.

“We are a global village,” said Howard Markel, a professor of the history of medicine at the University of Michigan. “Germs have always traveled. The problem now is they can travel with the speed of a jet plane.”

The new requirement of temperature checks has broad implications for health departments across the country.

In a conference call with state and local officials Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Obama expressed confidence in the procedures already in place to prevent the spread of Ebola, but urged them to be vigilant in the days and weeks ahead.

“As we saw in Dallas, we don’t have a lot of margin for error,” Mr. Obama told the group, according to a transcript released by the White House. “If we don’t follow protocols and procedures that are put in place, then we’re putting folks in our communities at risk.”

Gosh, really, Scooter? That’s not what you said…

First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely. – President Barack Hussein Obama, “Remarks by the President on the Ebola Outbreak, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, 9/16/2014

Okay,. We know that the source of Ebola is Africa. Why don’t we install a quaratine?

Oh, no. Like every other part of the Obama Administration, the CDC is much too smart for common sense. After all, they are our intellectual superiors.

The first priority of federal health officials is to protect Americans from Ebola, but “an outbreak anywhere is potentially a threat everywhere,” the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Sunday.

In recent days, a handful of lawmakers, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, have called for restrictions on air travel between Ebola-affected countries in West Africa and the United States.

On Saturday, there was a brief scare at Newark Liberty International Airport when a passenger who had traveled from West Africa was ill on a flight from Brussels. A CDC official met the aircraft and the passenger was taken to a hospital, where “it became clear that the symptoms that individual had weren’t consistent with Ebola,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said. The patient was discharged and was feeling better.

Despite the concerns sparked by such incidents, Frieden emphasized the importance of keeping the travel pipeline open to Ebola-stricken countries in order to fight the outbreak at its source.

“If we don’t control the outbreak, there’s a real risk that it could spread to other countries in Africa” and beyond, Frieden said. “To do that, we need regular travel.”

“If we make it harder to fight Ebola in West Africa, we actually increase our own risk,” he said. He noted that everyone leaving Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is being screened and said the CDC is considering a plan to screen everyone coming into the U.S. from those countries.

“We’ve seen a lot of understandable concern because of the deadly nature of Ebola,” Frieden said. “We want (people) to be scared. We want them to have a healthy respect.”

Before Thomas Eric Duncan was diagnosed in Dallas, the CDC was getting 50 to 100 calls or e-mails daily. Now it’s getting about 800.

So, by “keeping the pipeline open”, we can better fight this disease?

That sort of twisted logic goes against every medical procedure that I have ever seen, and I worked 7 years with the physicians and the medical staff in a world-renowned hospital.

The normal protocol, which I have observed, firsthand, would be isolation, then treatment.

You don’t treat a deadly disease, like you are the little Dutch boy. holding his finger in the dam to keep it from busting open.

Now, with the death yesterday of the first Ebola Patient in the United States, and Ebola-like symptoms being reported by others, one has to wonder how long it will take before we receive reports of the infection of members of our Brightest and Best, 3,000 of whom have been sent into the Dante’s Inferno of Pestilence, Africa, by their Commander-in-Chief, Obama, to “combat” this disease.

May God protect them…and, us.

Until He Comes,




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