Hamilton — Ebola: Will government protect us?
Will the world’s best health care system contain ebola to only a few cases and no more deaths? Will our government act in the international arena to reduce the number of ebola cases that reach the U.S.? Can we trust the Obama administration to tell us the truth?
So far, we “think” ebola is transmitted by coming in contact with the bodily fluids of ebola victims. The experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are saying ebola cannot be transmitted through the air. Bear in mind the CDC and the NIH do not have the best record for candor.
Recall, in the early 1980s, a number of young men in Hollywood were diagnosed with what was initially called: Gay-related Immune Deficiency (GRID). The CDC/NIH ditched GRID and substituted the hybrid name: Human Immunodeficiency Virus /Acquired Immune Deficiency Disease (HIV/AIDS).
While more common sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, have been virtually eliminated in the USA by contact-tracing and quarantine, those proven measures were never applied to HIV/AIDS — back when they might have curbed the outbreak. Moreover, countless lives could have been saved if the CDC/NIH had been more candid about the etiology of HIV/AIDS and launched an all-out prevention campaign, stressing the life-saving benefits of stringently applied prophylaxis.
Pray today’s CDC/NIH is being more straightforward with regard to ebola. But can we trust an administration that told us: We can keep our doctors, keep our health care plans, and our health insurance premiums will go down by $2,500 per-family?
Meanwhile, President Obama has ordered 4,000 U.S. military to West Africa. While that sounds like a wonderful gesture, it overlooks the realities of military life. It will not be possible to lock up 4,000 military personnel in West Africa until the causes and the transmission means of ebola are positively identified and contained. Many of our brave military personnel will be coming back to the U.S. on emergency/compassionate leave, sick leave, ordinary leave, as individual replacements, and due to unit rotations. Within the next 12 to 24 months, 4,000 military returnees from West Africa will be scattered all over the United States.
But wait. There’s more. This fall, over 50,000 Central American, unaccompanied minor children will enter our public schools; many with no experience on how to use a flush toilet much less wash their hands. That could lead to outbreaks of: cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, hepatitis A & E and about 15 other fecal-borne diseases which, like malaria, share some of the symptoms of ebola. How many children, teachers, and parents will have to be confined for ebola’s 21-day gestation period?
Given unrestricted airline traffic from West Africa, the eventual scattering of 4,000 military returnees across the U.S., and the advent of over 50,000 untrained Central American children in our public schools, the impact of ebola — even on the un-infected — could be enormous.
Even if we shut down airline traffic from West Africa, our open southern border will be understandably attractive to illegal immigrants desperate for ebola treatment. Given ebola’s long gestation period, passengers who lie about their exposure, ways to mask fever, then the current airline screening procedures seem more like public relations gestures than effective measures.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
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