Late last week the Department of Homeland Security announced that not only would temperatures of all passengers returning to the United States on flights from West Africa be taken at airports, but that passengers from the region could only land at five major international airports in the U.S.
The latest case of Ebola in New York City proves that these enhanced airport screenings don't work. Doctor Craig Spencer returned from the country of Guinea in West Africa on October 17 after treating patients with Ebola. He was screened at JFK international airport upon entrance and didn't have a fever or other symptoms. The CDC cleared him. Six days later, Spencer was rushed to the hospital because he does in fact have Ebola and had been carrying the disease. Just hours before coming down with a 103 degree fever, Spencer took an Uber ride to a bowling alley and rode the subway. He has been riding the New York City subway system since he was cleared at the airport.
Patient didn't have fever or other symptoms of illness during screening; reported fever to health officials for 1st time today.— CDC (@CDCgov) October 24, 2014
Healthcare worker returned through JFK Airport on Oct. 17, participated in enhanced screening for all returning travelers from W. Africa.— CDC (@CDCgov) October 24, 2014
Screening procedures federal government officials have implemented at airports to make it look like they're doing something to protect the health of Americans, don't work to keep Ebola out of the country. It's only a matter of time before someone else from West Africa who isn't a doctor comes to the United States carrying the disease, but gets into the country due to being non-symptomatic at the time of entry. This is exactly how Thomas Eric Duncan, the man who recently died of Ebola in Dallas, brought the disease to the U.S.
Meanwhile, the White House still refuses to put a travel ban on the table as an option.