Ebola Protection?

I normally avoid using this blog to comment on political issues and most current events. However, today I am so outraged about our country’s lack of leadership, I must comment. Today the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published his reasons for opposing travel restrictions to combat the spread of Ebola. His reasoning is faulty on several counts.

His points My counterpoints
A travel ban would essentially quarantine the more than 22 million people that make up the combined populations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. This is a red herring. There are 22 million people in these countries. There are not 22 million people trying to leave these countries.
We don’t want to isolate parts of the world, or people who aren’t sick, because that’s going to drive patients with Ebola underground, making it infinitely more difficult to address the outbreak. My understanding is that a lot of patients with Ebola are already “underground” in that they are fearful and distrustful of their governments and medical professionals. I fail to see how a restriction of travel privileges would contribute meaningfully to this problem.
It could even cause these countries to stop working with the international community as they refuse to report cases because they fear the consequences of a border closing. There’s some circularity in your reasoning. You’re saying we can’t restrict travel because to do so would cause the Africans to fear the consequences of us restricting travel.
Stopping planes from flying from West Africa would severely limit the ability of Americans to return to the United States or of people with dual citizenship to get home, wherever that may be. I can’t believe there are huge numbers of people that fit this description, but regardless: if temporarily inconveniencing these people is necessary to protect the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, so be it.
… isolating countries will make it harder to respond to Ebola, creating an even greater humanitarian and health care emergency. As reasonable as this may sound, it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. Travel restrictions would limit people coming out of these nations, not aid workers who would want to go in.
Importantly, isolating countries won’t keep Ebola contained and away from American shores.  Paradoxically, it will increase the risk that Ebola will spread in those countries and to other countries, and that we will have more patients who develop Ebola in the U.S. If this is true, then why did Dallas quarantine the family members of Thomas Duncan? Not only did they quarantine these people, but they essentially locked them into the apartment with the clothing and bedsheets that he had infected. This action certainly “increased the risk” that Ebola would spread among those family members. Yet it was considered to be necessary as a way of protecting the community.
People will move between countries, even when governments restrict travel and trade. And that kind of travel becomes almost impossible to track. So, because it’s difficult, we won’t do it? Since when has that been good public policy?
Isolating communities also increases people’s distrust of government, making them less likely to cooperate to help stop the spread of Ebola. Ignoring people’s thoughtful, well-researched, scientifically-founded concerns is what increases people’s distrust of government.
Casting too wide a net, such as invoking travel bans, would only provide an illusion of security and would lead to prejudice and stigma around those in West Africa. So your concern about “prejudice and stigma” outweighs your concern for the health of hundreds of millions of Americans – including Americans of every race and ethnic group?
Today, all outbound passengers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone are screened for Ebola symptoms before they board an airplane. They are screened for a higher-than-normal fever. But over-the-counter medications, (which can be purchased in the airport!) reduce fevers!

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