Experts cautioned that a temperature check on arrival would almost certainly not have detected that Mr. Duncan had Ebola before he entered the country. The disease typically incubates for eight to 10 days before symptoms, including fever, develop.
American health officials believe Mr. Duncan did not have a fever when he arrived in the United States, a view seconded by his family. “There’s a sense that this is a be-all-and-end-all and that this will put up an iron curtain, but it won’t,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. “At the very most, all we are buying here is some reduction of anxiety.” He added, “That’s worth something because, at the moment, we have a much larger outbreak of anxiety than we have of Ebola.”
In the age of very short attention spans, especially with online news sites and subsequent emails trying to get views of their stories, the titles of stories are more important than ever. Not being a frequent reader of the stories on nytimes.com, I am still signed up for their daily email summary of stories I can find on their website for that day. This was the case today, when I saw the title to this story in the email, I was immediately drawn to click on the link so I could see what this story was all about.
The first two words of the story got my attention in less than a nanosecond. "Hmmm," I thought, "what is meant by 'newly vigilant' when it comes to screening for passengers that might have Ebola? You mean, our government was formerly NOT being very vigilant?"
As the author properly points out in her story, screening efforts - no matter how vigilant - would not have prevented Thomas Eric Duncan, now deceased from Ebola, from traveling to the Dallas area from Liberia, where the efforts to quell an Ebola outbreak is failing miserably.
And speaking of vigilance, the hospital where Mr. Duncan first went to the emergency room, sent him home, even while he was displaying possible characteristics of symptoms of being infected with Ebola and telling a nurse that he had very recently arrived from Liberia! Or how about the vigilance that was greatly lacking when it came to disinfecting the apartment complex where Mr. Duncan had stayed?
Well, let's talk about vigilance for a moment. Or, rather, the lack of being vigilant when we should be extremely vigilant when any crisis first pops up it's ugly head. Such an example would be allowing ISIS to take a large part of Iraq that our military fought so valiantly for, and then doing nothing about it until suddenly, ISIS puts up videos of Americans getting decapitated. And even yet, I do not count it as being a vigilant response when our dear leader promises us (and the enemy) that our efforts won't include U.S. soldiers on the ground (and yet, plans to send 4,000 military personnel into harms way in Western Africa!).
While trying to drive home the point, I'm sorry if this story ends up being a big buzz-kill despite the promising sounding title. Oh, but wait, there is more party-crashing news in this story. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had been calling for travel restrictions to and from Ebola-ravaged Western African countries, but once again, the administration proves it's lack of vigilant actions and refuses to do something that sounds so logical. In her Opening Statement on Justice last Saturday night, Judge Jeanine Pirro tells us exactly what the government needs to be doing, all great advice that is so obviously being ignored.
I highly commend Sabrina Tavernise for this story, and the attention-grabbing title (that perhaps an editor came up with). It was courageous of her to point out just how much vigilant behavior seems to be lacking across the land. But the President has it covered:
The new requirement of temperature checks has broad implications for health departments across the country.
In a conference call with state and local officials Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Obama expressed confidence in the procedures already in place to prevent the spread of Ebola, but urged them to be vigilant in the days and weeks ahead.
“As we saw in Dallas, we don’t have a lot of margin for error,” Mr. Obama told the group, according to a transcript released by the White House. “If we don’t follow protocols and procedures that are put in place, then we’re putting folks in our communities at risk.”
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Newly Vigilant, U.S. Will Screen Fliers for Ebola
By Sabrina Tavernise
October 8, 2014
ATLANTA — Federal health officials will require temperature checks for the first time at five major American airports for people arriving from the three West African countries hardest hit by the deadly Ebola virus. However, health experts said the measures were more likely to calm a worried public than to prevent many people with Ebola from entering the country.
Still, they constitute the first large-scale attempt to improve security at American ports of entry since the virus arrived on American soil last month.
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
rejected calls for a ban on travel from West Africa,
saying it would harm the surging effort to quell Ebola.
(Credit Erik S. Lesser/European Pressphoto Agency)
They are also a notable policy shift at a time of rising concern about the disease. Public health officials had initially resisted the move, saying such checks would be an unnecessary use of thinly stretched resources. But pressure for tougher action mounted. Republicans sharply criticized President Obama for what they called a lax response. Many, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, have suggested looking at air travel restrictions from West Africa, something the administration has rejected.
~~~ READ MORE on nytimes.com ~~~
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