Why we'll have more Ebola cases in the U.S. and how to do something about it

The only way to stop the spread of the Ebola virus is temporary travel restrictions from the affected area to other countries. Those who must return to the U.S. need to be quarantined for the incubation period of the virus. Otherwise, there will be more cases in the U.S.

Even under the worst possible conditions only a relatively small number of people in West Africa have been infected, but that number could get much worse. If the virus mutates and becomes airborne, that would be a public health nightmare; the United Nations official in charge of their Ebola response says the virus becoming airborne is "unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out" [1].

The Washington Post's "Why hasn’t the U.S. closed its airports to travelers from Ebola-ravaged countries?" [2] presents arguments against a travel ban, yet all are strawmen. Not all travel would be banned; aid workers could still come and go; cargo could be delivered under safer conditions.

Sharply restricting travel from the three countries most affected (Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia) wouldn't have a devastating financial impact on the rest of the world: the combined GDP of the three countries is just $13 billion [CORRECTED]. They could be given foreign aid to make up for any small disruption to their economies by not being able to send people to other countries.

There aren't travel restrictions in place for three reasons:

1. The elites - globalist leaders in the U.S. and other countries - don't want one [3]. If those elites wanted travel restrictions, there'd be travel restrictions.

2. Barack Obama doesn't want restrictions. In part this is just the public-facing manifestation of what the global elites want; but clearly he agrees with them. It's hard to imagine Richard Nixon and presidents before him (such as Eisenhower) not already have imposed restrictions by now; even Bill Clinton would probably have imposed restrictions if just for political reasons.

3. The sheer incompetence of most leaders who want restrictions. If they were doing the job they've assigned for themselves, Obama and Congress would feel enough pressure that they would have imposed restrictions by now.

An example of the last is the Rand Paul appearance on the Laura Ingraham show. She wants restrictions, and on her show Rand Paul asked "Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?" [6]. Those commenting respond in the way they've been trained: by mocking Paul's concerns. Both Paul and Ingraham have to know that many people will simply write off their concerns as a "FoxNews thing". What they say might influence some politicians, but those politicians will already mostly agree with Paul and Ingraham. They might raise the profile of the travel restrictions issue, but that can only go so far. Obama has absolutely no motivation to listen to them and do what they say. At the end of the day, all they're doing is posturing to their supporters.

Imagine instead that the Washington Post, TalkingPointsMemo, the Huffington Post, and similar sites were focused on enacting travel restrictions. Imagine that much of Congress supported those restrictions. Wouldn't there be restrictions fairly quickly?

That's what rightwing leaders aren't doing. They aren't forcing those who have Obama's ear to urge him to enact travel restrictions. Rightwing leaders have comfortable echo chambers that pay their rent. While they almost assuredly don't want more Ebola cases in the U.S., if there are more that gives them more to talk about.

The alternative is to force those who have Obama's ear to do a much better job. If - like Catherine Thompson of Talking Points Memo - they help help downplay Ebola, then impact their careers. Likewise with Abby Phillip of the Washington Post. In brief, discredit the intermediaries. The fact that rightwing leaders can't do that - they can't even conceive of doing that - is not only why there are no Ebola travel restrictions, but a host of other problems.

Want to do something about this? Help discredit those intermediaries, and also let rightwing leaders know that you're expecting them to achieve a travel ban, not just whine about Obama not imposing one.

CORRECTION: Earlier I said "the combined GDP of the first two is around $10 billion, and Liberia's is under $2 trillion". I read the stats wrong: in 2013 the combined GDP of the three countries was around $13 billion.

[1] dailymail . co . uk/news/article-2778022/

The longer the Ebola epidemic continues infecting people unabated, the higher the chances it will mutate and become airborne, the UN's Ebola response chief has warned.

Anthony Banbury, the Secretary General's Special Representative, has said there is a 'nightmare' prospect the deadly disease will become airborne if it continues infecting new hosts.

...He said: 'The longer it moves around in human hosts in the virulent melting pot that is West Africa, the more chances increase that it could mutate.

...'It is a nightmare scenario, and unlikely, but it can’t be ruled out.'

He also admitted the international community had been late to respond to what was the worst disaster he had ever witnessed.

He said: 'In a career working in these kinds of situations, wars, natural disasters – I have never seen anything as serious or dangerous or high risk as this one.'

[2] washingtonpost . com/news/to-your-health/wp/2014/10/01/
by Abby Phillip

[3] For one example, see the WaPo article above. For another, the World Health Organization opposed a travel ban in mid-August:
prisonplanet . com/flashback-world-health-organization-rejects-ebola-travel-ban.html

[4] thehill . com/policy/healthcare/

The White House said Wednesday it will not impose travel restrictions or introduce new airport screenings to prevent additional cases of Ebola from entering the United States.

Spokesman Josh Earnest said that current anti-Ebola measures, which include screenings in West African airports and observation of passengers in the United States, will be sufficient to prevent the “wide spread” of the virus.

The chances of a U.S. epidemic are “incredibly low,” he said.

“The reason for that is that it is not possible to transmit Ebola through the air. ... The only way that an individual can contract Ebola is by coming into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is exhibiting symptoms.”

[5] mediamatters . org/video/2014/10/01/