Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ebola Arrives in Dallas: Why The U.S. Needs To Get Serious About It

The news that a patient at a Dallas hospital tested positive for Ebola ought to alarm people enough, but the further news that he'd been carrying the disease around with him for 7 days before becoming symptomatic enough to show up at a hospital ought to scare people even more. And also, that most of this time he spent with his family members (he'd apparently just arrived in Dallas from Liberia and had shown no signs or symptoms on the plane - or so we've been told.).

The CDC said the patient had come to Texas "to visit family" and they confirmed Ebola after tests had already been conducted by a state lab.

Dr. Richard Besser, ABC Medical Consultant, asked last night about the incident said:  "It is very concerning".

Well, it ought to be!

Here's the thing: If lawmakers and Texas governor Rick Perry are so occupied with ISIS terrorists crossing the Mexican border why aren't they similarly exercised about the bio-terror of Ebola entering into the country aboard planes from Liberia? Or entering from ANY of the affected nations: Guinea, Sierra Leone as well as Liberia?  One would have thought that by now, with the cases in those nations increasing geometrically,  all flights originating from the Ebola -affected nations would have been halted - as other countries have done.  But no, it's business as usual in the US of A..

This isn't good enough! And I don't buy the soft soaping and PR that we have  "a great infrastructure to deal with an outbreak" as spouted by Zachary Thompson (Director of Dallas County Health and Human Services), and quoted in an AP report. 

The fact is, as reported on last night's ABC News segment,  when the patient (now identified as Thomas Eric Duncan)  first showed up at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, an RN completely blew it by not passing on the critical info that the man had come from West Africa. Because of this breakdown the hospital wasn't able to properly diagnose Duncan, so they released him back onto Dallas' streets.  It wasn't until Duncan's  2nd try three days later that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital finally got it right and admitted to the isolation ward. But no one knows how many people came into contact with this U.S. "patient zero"  in the hiatus between hospital stops.

Gen. Anthony Zinni, appearing on the Bill Maher Real Time show, was blunt in giving his assessment of the comparative dangers of ISIS and Ebola. He properly and correctly noted that the latter is a real "existential threat" but not ISIS - which is a regional threat. This is similar to how I already put it in terms of comparing ISIS to global warming. Again, the latter is the existential threat, not ISIS. ISIS is Halloween scary with their black masks, beheadings of journalists and screeching radical Islamic piffle - but not at the level of Ebola or climate change.

What should be done then? The U.S. forthwith needs to take off the kid gloves and treat all entrants from the Ebola -affected nations as possible bio-threats and potential  bearers of Ebola. This means shutting off ALL flights from the three affected nations until such time the outbreak is brought under control. Not to do so is, to me, little different from allowing ISIS -infected American radicals back into the country to wreak havoc. It is, in other words, common sense.

The fact that one Dallas hospital completely missed this patient's disease, and last week another doctor returning from Liberia expressed concern at arriving in Miami and not being screened, shows we are living in a fool's paradise and the luck may soon run out.

The appearance of the Ebola positive patient in Big D is a shot over our bow. It is now time to get serious and throw the hammer down, No more incoming flights from those nations until the outbreak subsides. We cannot put our trust and faith in the medical infrastructure alone!

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