As I stated in my previous article on the Ebola crisis, there is probably little risk of a major outbreak of the disease in the United States.
But there is a cost.
Just think of the resources that were devoted to dealing with the late Thomas Duncan. 76 staff members of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital were involved in his care. One unfortunate provider was infected (fortunately, doing well according to reports). Her infection has triggered monitoring the other 75. If one of them comes down with it, another round of monitoring and possible infection commences.
A rate of one out of seventy-six does not sound ominous. However, do the math if the United States receives another unexpected carrier of the deadly disease. How about a few dozen?
British Airways and Air France, among other carriers, have already banned service to the countries suffering the wrath of Ebola.
The reason for Dr. Thomas Frieden’s objection to a United States flight ban to and from West Africa is evidence he does not want to admit his assessment of the medical establishment’s readiness to deal with this very dangerous virus was deeply flawed.
He is putting his personal image before public safety.
Regardless, the employees of the airline industry in the United States may decide otherwise. How long before flight crews, attendants and ground personnel decide they do not want to service routes in and out of the most affected nations?
No flight ban will be foolproof, but it makes no sense to increase the risk of spreading the disease through reckless disregard of human nature – people are going to want to get the hell out of West Africa, especially when WHO expects 10,000 new cases per week going forward. Undoubtedly, some of them will be asymptomatic carriers who will end up in our emergency rooms.
Dr. Frieden is suffering from Ebola of the brain. He needs to be removed and quarantined from formulating health policies.
We have other public health demands that will suffer as a result of redirecting valuable resources to combat Ebola.