“The biggest problem is the inability to track the disease. It actually makes quarantining MORE difficult and could actually cause the disease to spread faster.
Listen to the scientists not the nitwit politicians.”
I am going to assume you are being serious and have “bought in” to Dr Frieden’s latest “straw man” argument. Essentially that argument is: If we restrict flights or Visas emanating from the afflicted West African countries we will then make tracking infected individuals ineffective because then they will come here by illicit means “overland.”
First: All the chaos that is occurring now in CONUS was caused by one individual; Mr Duncan. Mr Duncan would still be able to come here unimpeded under the current screening methods. Mr Duncan would not have been able to come here if flights or Visa’s were denied to West Africans and none of the current tracking; additional infections and attendant chaos would exist here.
Second: If one infected individual has created this much chaos, do you seriously believe that the CDC and our current health care resources are capable of dealing with 10 such cases without a geometric increase in chaos and further infections? We currently have an estimated 150 West Africans flying to our country each day; that is 1050 individuals per week. Do you get the impression that 10 individuals “slipping thru the cracks” in a week is quite possible and even probable as the epidemic continues to rage thru Africa. (The epidemic was out of control back in April and the WHO’s response has been less than adequate; frankly it may well be beyond fixing at this point; but, I realize we need to try and I do support fighting the epidemic aggressively in Africa. My point is we should have started doing that 6 months ago!)
Third: When Dr Frieden used the term “overland” I have to assume he is referring to our own wide open southern border. That is a major problem; however, we have no idea who is coming across that border right now; so, I hardly think the scope of the current “tracking” can be all that accurate to begin with; it is, at best, illusory w/regard to the southern border. If you are not aware, CDR, USSOUTHCOM, General John Kelly, stated recently that he is very concerned that the epidemic will spread to South and/or Central America; the effect of which he summed up with the simple expression, “Katy bar the door.” Right now that door is wide open and we should be doing everything humanly possible to control it.
Fourth, Our resources to both track and treat Ebola infections are finite. By my count we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 beds available in the type of Isolation Units needed to safely treat Ebola infected individuals. (I am guessing at, perhaps, 12 beds at USAMRIID as I have not seen numbers quoted for their facilities; however, that figure may well be generous.) Given the high number of individuals required to track, isolate and treat those who were either infected by Mr. Duncan or had contact w/him or those he infected, I cannot see any way that our system, at its current configuration and level of training and staffing, can handle dozens of infected individuals simultaneously. Additionally, the trained hospital staff will almost certainly be reduced as some will become infected or exposed to a degree that will preclude them from performing their jobs. Of course, that scenario will both add to the patient load AND reduce the number of qualified staff available.
Bottom Line: If we do not at least temporarily restrict West Africans from coming here AND control our borders it is highly likely we will rapidly deplete our resources to a point where we will not be able to respond to those who need medical isolation, contact tracking and medical intervention.