Expert on Ebola Threat: US Officials in 'Denial,' 'Don't Want to Worry About It'
A top public health expert said U.S. officials are not prepared for a possible Ebola outbreak and do not even want to plan for contingencies.
Days after experts said an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. may be "inevitable," Dr. Jane Orient, the executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, said, "there are just many things about this virus that we do not know and yet we are assuming that it is not going to affect us here."
"I don't think that we are prepared at all," she said on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125. "You would hope that the public health authorities are on high alert and they are going to let you know immediately if something happens. But I just don't see that. The public health people that I've talked to just don't want to worry about it."
Agreeing with lawmakers and law enforcement officials who have said the same, Orient told host and Breitbart Chairman Stephen K. Bannon that there is currently "so much denial about" Ebola and, "we really do not know how serious it is." Orient said that there are, though, thousands of people from more than 100 different nations coming across the border "without any health screenings at all."
She said the situation is further complicated because nobody knows where the illegal immigrants are going and it is impossible to keep track of their health once they are released into the general population. She said though it is "not clear" whether Ebola is currently a threat, there is no doubt that there is an increased risk for diseases like tuberculosis because of the country's porous border.
Orient said that public health authorities have admitted that adults and the family members of illegal immigrant juveniles "do not get screened not the way children are" and since "the children are not getting chest X-rays," their screening is already "somewhat limited."
According to Orient, there are just a lot of thing about Ebola that "we just do not know." For instance, she said that the Center for Disease Control says that Ebola cannot be transferred in the air but Canada's health authorities believe it "could be transmitted via aerosol." In addition, she said "one man infected his wife 82 days after he recovered from it, and she died." Orient said "we don't even know if it is contagious before the person becomes sicks."
"I don't think that hospitals are prepared," she added.
She cited "limited isolation facilities" and physicians who are "not aware about what to look for." Doctors, she said, "are not being told you need to do a careful travel history or a contact history of people coming in" who have flu-like symptoms.
Orient also said that the "CDC talks to different stories." She said their message to the population is essentially, "it's not very contagious, don't worry." But when they transport a patient with Ebola, "they are wearing a spacesuit," she said.
"The inconsistency has to make people feel very insecure," she said.
Orient said that Ebola had been easily contained when it was in rural African villages. But now that it is in some of the continent's most populous cities, she said "it makes it a whole lot more serious and difficult to contain."