The American Maverick is not in the business of being an alarmist. Yet, the severity of the Ebola virus combined with the slow response by the White House and CDC, creates a very disconcerting scenario for our country to assure our citizens are protected from a mass outbreak.
Ebola can be a deadly virus. There is no debate. Health care experts state the havoc Ebola injects on the human body can be just as traumatic as experiencing sudden death.
A recent advisory by the World Health Organization (WHO), the world's chief watchdog on mass outbreaks, presents troubling information. The WHO reports that they project 10,000 humans to contract Ebola per week for at least the next two months in Africa. So, over the next two months there could be 80,000 humans carrying Ebola. To date, over 4,000 people have died from Ebola during this outbreak.
Sounds pretty scary. It is. And, the public needs to be keenly aware of how this could potentially balloon to a larger health threat.
The lack of decisiveness and prompt action by Barack Obama and the Center for Disease control is of great concern. And, unless firm action happens soon, America may be facing the largest threat to life since the 1957 Asian flu or the Polio epidemic of 1952.
Obama has slow rolled decisions throughout his six years as President. He may be able to get by with delaying a decision on troop deployments, how to respond to a diplomatic issue or put off the Keystone XL pipeline. However, all politics aside, when you are dealing with a highly contagious and deadly virus; swift, decisive action must be taken.
One thing that is a must when fighting such an epidemic is to act quickly. A virus like Ebola, if not rapidly contained, can spread without mercy throughout a population. Secondly, government should take all necessary means to contain and reduce exposure of the population to the source of the contagion (Africa).
These key actions need to take place by U.S. officials:
- Stop all incoming flights from the Ebola epidemic countries. Many other countries have already done this. This is the first act to stop those who do have the virus, yet may not physically have developed the symptoms of Ebola. Ebola has an incubation period of 2-21 days. So, a person coming from Liberia through a TSA screening without any symptoms including high temperature, may be contagious in just a matter of time.
- Strengthen screening of possible Ebola patients. After all flights are halted from those countries, enhanced screening of all passengers who had connecting flights from epidemic countries must be completed. First, reinforce all major airports with military physicians, epidemiologists and trained medical personnel, to work directly with TSA agents as they screen passengers for contagion. TSA agents are not trained to recognize symptoms or ask probing questions to identify risky passengers. Secondly, protocols must be enacted to allow authorities to hold symptomatic passengers in isolation until the incubation period has passed.
- Begin screening at other U.S. points of entry. Individuals entering the United States via boat from Africa should be screened. In addition, Customs and Border officials should enact screening protocols to assure immigrants are not carrying the virus.
- Halt the deployment of U.S. military to Ebola countries. Obama is sending over 4,000 soldiers to assist in Africa. As of today 450 servicemen and women are in Ebola hot spots in Africa. The government should assure these brave soldiers have all of the protective gear and supplies to survive. This deployment should be stopped and those troops should be deployed to reinforce our border from walking contagion. The WHO stated the death rate for humans contracting Ebola in Africa to be 70%.
- Accelerate development of Ebola vaccine. The WHO reports a vaccine may not be ready for Ebola until January. U.S. officials should work to waive bureaucratic red tape that typically delays American vaccine production. Since America has the best companies to produce such a vaccine, they should be granted explicit permission to ramp up high volumes of vaccine.
It is always better to be informed and decisive, than to be facing a no win scenario. That is why the White House, CDC and NIH need to get beyond the obsession with politics and remember that we are all humans. Because Ebola does not care what party you vote for.