Beckmann: Fight Ebola in Africa
President Barack Obama tried to reassure Americans this week that there’s no reason to panic over the spread of Ebola to our country.
Obama said, “I want you to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low.”
The president went on to promise: “We are going to be able to manage this particular situation.”
Please forgive us if we accept Obama’s words with a healthy dose of skepticism because of his previous empty promises.
Who can forget, “If you like your insurance, you can keep it. If you like your doctor, you can keep him,” when Obamacare was rammed through?
Who can forget his declaration that ISIS was the junior varsity among Middle East terror groups while the Islamic terrorists continued their march across Iraq and Syria in defiance of the administration’s pinprick air strike strategy.
But beyond Obama’s record of empty rhetoric is a growing list of conflicting statements involving Ebola, and a leader — Dr. Tom Frieden — for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who has a record of political correctness rather than a track record of successfully managing dangerous medical threats.
Just last week, Obama said that it was impossible to contract the disease while using public transportation while the CDC urged people to avoid public transportation “for their own safety.”
Our government claims quarantines — which are what a travel ban from Ebola-affected nations to the U.S. would be — don’t work and yet the CDC quarantined the family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian traveler who brought Ebola to Dallas and passed the disease to at least two nurses before he died from the virus.
Our government talks about establishing Ebola-specific medical centers in all 50 states while the president tells us the danger of a disease spread is not great.
Americans are getting the kind of political doublespeak for which Obama and his cronies have become famous, but its use to address Ebola is not like the myth of global warming, or phony claims about a healed economy, or the myth of an improved health insurance system.
This is deadly serious and Americans know it even if their political leaders do not.
Obama is entrusting the U.S. response to Frieden, the CDC boss, whose background fails to inspire confidence that he’s up to the task of actually protecting the American public.
Frieden’s background includes his time as New York City Health Commissioner where he developed the citywide ban on smoking, urged an elimination of the availability of Snapple in schools, and began the push to ban the sale of large soda pop sales to consumers by advocating for a special tax on the product.
It’s Frieden who reasons that the U.S. can’t ban travel to our country by inhabitants of African afflicted nations because these people might then just go to other nations on their continent and spread the disease.
Logic tells us he’s thus advocating for the potential spread of Ebola to the U.S. rather than other African countries.
And this week, Frieden expanded on his earlier public transportation remarks by explaining, in a real head scratcher, that “if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no.
“Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you,” he said.
Huh? You can’t get the disease from someone on a bus but that person can transmit it to others on that same bus?
Ah, well, as long as you’re not sipping on a large Diet Pepsi, you’re guaranteed good health.
The Obama administration could institute a very simple solution to reducing the risk of Ebola’s widescale spread to America.
It’s contained in a letter signed by Michigan Congresswoman Candice Miller to Secretary of State John Kerry and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson this week: Temporarily suspend the visas of individuals from the Ebola-ravaged nations of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone until the outbreak is under control.
More than 230 health care professionals have died in Africa while treating patients, and they come from a pool of doctors and nurses who were specifically trained to treat patients in the outbreak.
Already, two nurses in Dallas have been infected. A nation as large as ours can not realistically expect to train the entire medical community to avoid contagion, especially with 5,000 troops in the hot zone and someday returning to our shores with the potential of bringing the contagion to a much broader populace.
If we can ban big soda pops to protect the public, if we can focus our defense department on fighting global warming, then the least we can do is keep the people from the Ebola region from coming to the United States.
Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.