Having long resisted a travel ban to the U.S. from the hot zone in West Africa, the White House dug in further yesterday, expressing its displeasure with New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and other states that have imposed a mandatory 21-day quarantine on medical personnel returning from Ebola-ravaged countries. At the same time, the president’s Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, announced that the military would be conducting a “21-day controlled monitoring” of all troops returning from Operation Unified Assistance in Liberia.
ABC News notes that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was made aware of that decision, which suggests the administration is sending out contradictory messages.
The point may turn out to be moot judging from a 2010 study unearthed by the Daily Mail, which indicates that the Ebola virus can live on surfaces (think toilet seats) for as long as 50 days. The research, carried out by Britain’s “Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), found that the Zaire strain [of the Ebola virus] will live on samples stored on glass at low temperatures” for nearly two months.
The tests were initially carried out by researchers from DSTL before the current outbreak, in 2010, but the strain investigated is one of five that is still infecting people globally.
The findings are also quoted in advice from the Public Agency of Health in Canada.
It is hard to get a read on the administration’s motivation for its lax security, especially at a time when the phrase “out of an abundance of caution” appears in media coverage of each new outbreak here at home. Is the president’s refusal to act out of an abundance of caution to protect U.S. citizens driven by politics, as is usually the case? He has repeatedly claimed, as he did in his weekend address two Saturdays ago, that restricting travel to the U.S. from West Africa would make it difficult for medical personnel to reach the hot zone. But that’s a non-argument. Medical staffs could easily travel by military transport.
For once, it would be nice to know the real reason this contrarian president is putting the needs of his fellow countrymen last.
- As two more dominoes fall in the Ebola travel ban debate, Obama stands pat in weekly address
- What kind of parents take their 5-year-old to a country with an Ebola outbreak?
- BREAKING: Doctor returning from W. Africa tests positive for Ebola at NYC hospital (Video)
- Man nabbed with ‘Ebola’ heroin at New Jersey hotel; Liberian arriving at Newark reportedly cleared
- BREAKING: DHS announces ‘travel restrictions’ to limit Ebola risk … sort of
- Report: Obama plans to bring Ebola-infected Africans to the U.S. for treatment
- ER nurse: Ebola patient Duncan lied about e,posure at Dallas hospital too
- Horrible GOP trying to scare you about Ebola
- Tweet of the Day: CDC guidelines for reducing Ebola risks among health professionals riddled with errors
- Ebola scare at Pentagon after recent traveler to Africa vomits in parking lot