On Monday morning’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper, “ Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) told host Jake Tapper that a 21-day quarantine period for people possibly infected with the Ebola virus is inadequately short.
“Thomas Eric Duncan’s family was released from quarantine today, essentially you’re saying they should still be in isolation even if health officials think they’re ok,” Tapper asked Gabbard.
“When we look at the recent studies that have come out, when we look at some of the information that the World Health Organization has put out, we find that in about 5 percent of Ebola patients, the incubation period went beyond that 21-day period,” Gabbard explained. “So what I’m calling for the CDC to do is to recognize the seriousness of this illness and make sure that we’re erring on the side of caution, and understanding that extending this period where people are monitored or quarantined beyond the 21 days would be in the best interest of making sure more people are not infected here at home.”
Gabbard then told Tapper that a different problem needed to be addressed; namely, stopping the disease at its source and instituting a travel ban from countries hardest hit by Ebola.
“The situation as I see it is kind of like, we’re in a boat, there’s a big hole in the boat, the boat is filling up with water and people are scrambling and trying to bail the boat out with buckets but not actually plugging the hole,” Gabbard said. “And the hole that we have to deal with here is the fact that the procedures that are in place that allowed Mr. Duncan to come into the United States infected in the first place, are still in place today, and that is a gaping hole that we have to deal with.”
“So Congresswoman, President Obama says it’s counterproductive to have a travel ban, people will hide that they came from West Africa,” Tapper challenged. “Your response.”
“Mr. Duncan did not disclose that he had been in contact with people infected with Ebola, that’s a case in point right there that shows the holes in that argument,” Gabbard countered. “And secondly, as far as the broken travel, people can travel to different countries and take different routes. That’s why we have passports and we can look at the stamps and the visas in their passports to look back and see if their country of origin was coming from one of these West African countries that’s stricken with this illness.”
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