As Ebola’s arrival in America becomes a more pervasive story, some candidates in the 2014 election are weighing in on the subject. Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina took some time to say that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is “giving us great guidance, but we've got to make sure the implementation is perfect.”
These remarks come after a second nurse caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian citizen who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, had become infected with the virus. The nurse, Amber Vinson, was about to fly to Cleveland from Dallas, but was experiencing a fever. She contacted the CDC about her symptoms. They told her she could fly on a commercial airliner because her fever wasn’t considered “high risk” at the time.
So, it seems the guidance isn’t great–and the implementation is far from perfect.
Earlier this week, over at CNSNews.com, investigative reporter Brittany Hughes got a rather interesting answer from CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden about Ebola's virulence. He said that you can't catch Ebola from an infected person sitting on a bus, but if a person is infected, they should not ride public transportation because they could spread the disease or something [emphasis mine]:
Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said during a telephone press briefing Wednesday that you cannot get Ebola by sitting next to someone on a bus, but that infected or exposed persons should not ride public transportation because they could transmit the disease to someone else.
During the conference call, CNSNews.com asked Frieden: “In a video message to countries in West Africa that are experiencing Ebola outbreaks, President Obama told residents they cannot get the disease by sitting next to someone on a bus. But CDC recommendations state that travelers in West Africa who begin to show possible symptoms, or people who have experienced a high risk of exposure, should avoid public transportation, including buses. And we’ve also seen large amounts of concern regarding potentially infected people traveling on airplanes.
“My first question is, did the CDC vet this video message before it was released and posted on U.S. embassy websites, and is it true that a person runs absolutely no risk of contracting Ebola on public transportation, such as a bus?”
“Yes, CDC vetted the message, and, yes, we believe it’s accurate,” Frieden responded.
“I think there are two different parts of that equation,” he continued. “The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no.”
“Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you,” he said.
Given that our government once said that we could protect ourselves from a chemical or biological attack by buying duct tape, this confusion–or lack of rationale–shouldn't be shocking.
H/T Weekly Standard