On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest essentially argued that because America has the ability to treat the disease, that it is unnecessary to implement travel restrictions in order to prevent it from coming here.
Speaking from the White House Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dodged questions about why flights from countries with Ebola outbreaks are still being accepted to the United States. He did not detail any future plans to stop flights from those countries, or to track connections through Europe to those countries, despite the first case of Ebola showing up in the U.S. after a Liberian man went to a funeral in West Africa and then returned home to Dallas.Now, CDC Director Tom Frieden is doubling down on the Obama administration's refusal to implement travel restrictions, arguing shutting down borders to Ebola stricken countries could make the situation worse and won't necessarily stop the deadly disease from spreading. What?
In his justification of the administration continuing to allow flights, Earnest argued that because people carrying Ebola don't have symptoms when they get on planes, there isn't a need to limit travel.
Earnest said Ebola will be handled through "rigorously applying medical procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control."
"I wish we could get to zero risk by sealing off the border. But we can’t. The only way we are going to get to zero risk in this country is by controlling it in Africa. Until that happens, Americans may come back with Ebola. Other people who have a right to return or a visa to enter may come back.
Click on link to see video of Dr. Tom Freiden explaining what the CDC is doing to fight Ebola:
People will go to third countries and come from there. Sealing them off – first off won’t work. Second off, it will backfire. Because if we can’t get help in there, then we’re not going to be able to stop the outbreak and ultimately we will end up at higher risk, not lower risk," he said.
So how exactly is the CDC screening for Ebola before people leave West Africa for the U.S.? What preventative measures are being taken? As he said in the clip above, "We are doing very good temperature screening. That is, where it is going to be the most efficient. That is where they have a few hundred people leaving. We're using approved devices, trained staff checking every person who is leaving each of the three countries to see if they have a fever. [If you] screen people here, instead of a few hundred it would be a few hundred thousand, it would be inaccurate. And this is the way that we think we're going to be most effective at keeping people who are having a fever from getting on planes."
There's just one huge problem with that. People can have Ebola and not show symptoms for days, just as the man in Dallas did. A reminder of the timeline.
According to the CDC, the patient being treated came back from Liberia after attending a funeral on September 19. The patient's symptoms started on September 24 and hospitalization began on September 28 in Dallas. Several family members to the patient may have been exposed. Because the patient did not get sick until four days after getting off the airplane, nobody who flew with the patient is at risk.And finally, while the CDC says the other passengers on the same planes as Duncan were at no risk of catching the disease because he wasn't showing symptoms, the agency and airline are frantically trying to track down all of the passengers who were on those planes...for some reason.