Various bipartisan leaders quickly shot from the hip in response to the recent Ebola developments:
Common sense dictates that we should impose a travel ban on commercial airline flights from nations afflicted by Ebola. -Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
I urge you to consider the enhanced danger Ebola now presents to the American public, and therefore request that appropriate travel restrictions be implemented immediately. -Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Florida) to President Obama
Are such epidemics best addressed by complete geographical quarantining… or focused isolation? I would argue the latter, especially regarding a disease carried by contact (no signs of the unlikely leap to becoming an airborne disease that can attach to the alveolar cells of the lungs).
The restriction of travel to and from an affected region of the world not only seems impossible to execute, its possible any benefits seem greatly outweighed by impeding a swift, international response for study and treatment. Such a need is further enhanced when the region in question includes some of the world’s poorest economies, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, demanding assistance.
The control, research, and treatment of a range of infectious diseases through vaccinations and safety procedures in modern medicine continue to advance around the world, including underdeveloped countries. While these minimally funded healthcare systems impacted by this recent Ebola outbreak have made great advancements in disease response and control, they still demand further outside support on an international level — from biotechnology to education and screening.
Instituting a travel ban would thwart short-term progress on attacking the disease quickly and thoroughly, and could even ripple into long-term results that could be catastrophic.
A travel ban is not the right answer. It’s simply not feasible to build a wall – virtual or real – around a community, city, or country. A travel ban would essentially quarantine the more than 22 million people that make up the combined populations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
When a wildfire breaks out we don’t fence it off. We go in to extinguish it before one of the random sparks sets off another outbreak somewhere else. —CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden
Let’s work on putting out the fire.
What say you?