It is past time for a travel ban

I wanted to write about this subject, but Joe Alton, MD has done a great job of it at Doom and Bloom.

A Travel Ban: Quick, Simple, and RIGHT

Recently, Ebola arrived in the United States when a man named Thomas Duncan stepped off a plane from Liberia. In the short time he has been in this country, he had direct or indirect contact with up to 100 people. Although every effort has been made to contain this case, it brings up the question as to whether a travel ban of flights from West Africa would have a protective effect for U.S. citizens.

The Director of the Center for Disease Control, Dr. Tom Frieden, has stated that ““If we take actions that seem like they may work, they may be the kind of solution to a complex problem that is quick, simple and wrong,”. His reasoning is that isolation of countries that have been ravaged by the epidemic would amount to cruel and unusual punishment. He also implies that needed help for these countries would somehow be hindered by restricting air travel from them. He says that the only way to ensure Americans are safe from the virus is to care for people in the Ebola-ravaged countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia who have it.

His statements are well-meaning but go against sound logic. The restriction of air travel FROM Ebola-ridden nations and the active transport of aid TO them are not mutually exclusive. I applaud our efforts to send the best care to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. However, a travel ban will decrease the chances of more Ebola cases here. A healthier U.S. means more resources sent elsewhere.