The Campaign Spot

Why Aren’t We Stopping Flights from Countries With Ebola?

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Why Aren’t We Stopping Flights from Countries With Ebola?

What’s the upside in continuing to permit U.S. air travel from countries with Ebola outbreaks right now, like Sierra Leone, Guinea, or Liberia?

I’m sure if your business travel takes you to these places, you could be quite inconvenienced. I’m sure if you have family there, this, too, would make life more difficult. (Mind you, while the American government can stop air travel in between the U.S. and another country, there’s nothing stopping someone in one of those countries traveling to some other country and then getting a connecting flight to here.)


Several African nations have restricted or banned air travel from Ebola-stricken countries, and airlines including Kenya Airways, British Airways, Air Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria’s Arik Air have suspended flights from the countries. Front Page Africa reported on Wednesday, though, that Kenya Airways and Air Cote D’Ivoire are expected to resume some of their so-called “Ebola flights” this month.

Others airlines have greatly reduced air travel in the region. Some of that is a natural consequence of the fact that few people, save for aid workers and government officials, are traveling in and out of the region.

Add Air France to that list.

The Washington Post continues:

“It is not an optimal measure for controlling the import of Ebola virus disease,” said chief United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. “The measure does not reflect what is known about the way in which the virus passes between people.”

The U.S. has also similarly spurned travel restrictions in the face of a more infectious, though less deadly, disease like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) for similar reasons, even when sick passengers were coming to the U.S.

If someone isn’t exhibiting symptoms of Ebola, that person is not infectious. And one of the first symptoms of Ebola is a fever. In airports in all of the affected regions and across the world, passengers coming from flights from West Africa are being screened for elevated temperatures.

Okay, stop right there. That clearly didn’t work in this case.

Despite the fact that an infected passenger flew from Liberia to Dallas this month, that passenger was not sick — and was therefore not contagious — while he was traveling. And once people become symptomatic, they become very sick, very quickly.

Yes, but this means the infected person is walking around here in the United States for X amount of time before going to a doctor and getting diagnosed. And once sick, they’re contagious.

Over at Ace of Spades, Open Blogger contends:

My point is that a travel ban to the US would only work if the rest of North and Central America follow suit. I don’t know if that can be made to happen, and I also don’t know if the folks in charge are willing to undertake something that might be construed as racially motivated.

We were recently assured . . . 

I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home.

“Unlikely,” huh?

Ace, himself:

Meanwhile, even Chris Matthews wants to know why President I Got This told the American public that it was “unlikely” that Ebola would reach America’s shores.

Allah disputes the “unlikelihood” of it — all we’re doing is checking people for fever. That’s a symptom that might not present itself for days after the actual infection.

So why would Obama say this?

Because he says “Nothing to see here, folks, move on” to everything. He is worried how worries will affect him politically, so he does nothing but offer empty — and often outright false — assurances that he’s on top of everything.

Late Wednesday, the airlines released the patient’s flight details:

Details of the man’s 28-hour trip from western Africa emerged Wednesday. He flew on two airlines, took three flights, and had lengthy airport layovers before reaching Texas on Sept. 20.

Still, federal officials say other passengers on the flights are at no risk of infection because the man had no symptoms at the time of his trip.

The patient, identified as Thomas Eric Duncan by CBS Dallas station KTVT, left Monrovia, Liberia, on Sept. 19 aboard a Brussels Airlines jet to the Belgian capital, according to a Belgian official. After layover of nearly seven hours, he boarded United Airlines Flight 951 to Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C. After another layover of nearly three hours, he then flew Flight 822 from Dulles to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the airline confirmed.

Finally . . . remember the de facto travel ban to Israel?


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