As WH sends mixed signals on quarantines, research suggests Ebola virus can live on surfaces 50 days

As WH sends mixed signals on quarantines, research suggests Ebola virus can live on surfaces 50 days

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.

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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