In his Weekly Radio Address, Saturday, President Obama continued his longstanding practice of justifying unpopular policy decisions by claiming the “experts” agree with him. There can be no-travel ban for West African countries infected with Ebola — because “medical experts” tell him that would be a bad idea.
“We can’t just cut ourselves off from West Africa, where this disease is raging,” said the man who only a month ago told us it was “unlikely” Ebola would ever reach our shores. “Our medical experts tell us that the best way to stop this disease is to stop it at its source-before it spreads even wider and becomes even more difficult to contain. Trying to seal off an entire region of the world-if that were even possible-could actually make the situation worse,” Obama continued. “It would make it harder to move health workers and supplies back and forth. Experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening, and make the disease even harder to track.”
But of course, no one is suggesting that health care workers stop fighting the disease over there – the idea is to stop infected individuals from those countries from being able to fly here. Thomas Eric Duncan has already proved how easy it is for that to happen, how ineffective the airport screenings are, and how easy they are to evade. There is a 21 day or longer incubation period in which an infected individual may not show symptoms. And a person with the disease can easily get through an airport screening even with a low-grade temperature as nurse #2 proved.
“We have to be guided by the science,” the president intoned. “We’re a nation of more than 300 million people. To date, we’ve seen three cases.”
A recent poll showed that 75% of doctors support a travel ban for travelers from West Africa, but no doubt, the president would argue that they are guided more by fear than by science, and thus don’t qualify as “experts.”
What about David Dausey, the Yale-educated epidemiologist – nationally recognized for his research on the spread of infectious diseases – who recently called for a travel ban in the Washington Post? Or former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, who said a travel ban should at least be considered?
Surely those experts are outliers. Most experts agree with Obama.
Nearly 30 countries including most African nations have instituted travel bans on West African countries dealing with Ebola outbreaks.
Though the Obama administration has insisted travel bans are not necessary, even countries outside of Africa are beginning to start restricting travel, with Colombia in South America and the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia on Wednesday adding their names to a growing list of nearly 30 countries that block travelers from virus-stricken Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
The border closings and travel bans have been credited with stemming the spread of Ebola to those countries, but Obama’s experts tell us we can’t cut ourselves off like they did.
You might wonder where exactly this ironclad “no travel ban” policy is originating from.
At the House Energy and Commerce hearing on the U.S. Response to Ebola Outbreak, Thursday, Rep. Scalise (R-LA) attempted to find out who was actually driving the policy. He asked CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden if he had had conversations with the White House about a travel ban, and struggled to get a straight answer.