The list of people who could have come into contact with Ebola in the United States has grown exponentially, what with the up to 100 original people who might have somehow been in close proximity to the man from Liberia who died from Ebola in Dallas, and then the two nurses who treated him who are now suffering from Ebola, and from the nurse who despite the fact she had symptoms (conflicting stories as to when she first experienced them) took it upon herself to fly from Dallas to Cleveland and back, and a lab technician who is on the watch list who took a Caribbean cruise. I mean no one actually knows what the true number is, but it began maybe at 50 then 100, and now well over that — at least several hundred or more.
(UPDATE, 10-19-14: the lab technician who took that cruise is just now reported to have tested negative for Ebola. Well that’s good news. And now more good news. A Spanish health care worker who was the first reported to be infected with Ebola outside of West Africa has reportedly had a full recovery.)
And the public has every reason not to believe reports from government and health officials are credible after they first assured everyone that there was virtually no risk of Ebola spreading in the U.S. because they had the knowledge and technology to stop it in its tracks, but later admitted mistakes were made and there are a lot of unknowns about Ebola.
Republicans, who will always tell you government can’t fix anything and who decry big government trying to run people’s lives, demanded that President Obama appoint an “Ebola czar”. So he finally did.
He appointed some guy named Ron Klain, a lawyer and seasoned political operative. While some, including me, are skeptical about appointing a non-medical person, at least one medical professional on the front lines welcomed the move, saying another doctor was not needed, rather someone who knew the ins and outs of government was.
And maybe so. Let’s just hope he will get things done, things coordinated, and not just play the role of spin doctor.
I for one would rather see government spend millions or billions on medical research than on programs to help insurance companies get new customers (Obamacare).
Let’s hope the government and medical professionals get their act together in the fight against Ebola.
Except for the very few infected people (well two?) so far in the U.S. and the poor and late Mr. Thomas Duncan, so far it is more of a scare near Halloween time, kind of like the great Tylenol scare of 1982 (seven people were poisoned via tampered bottles) or the great Cranberry scare of 1959, also this time of year (in that one no one died and there was no real danger, but people were advised not to eat cranberries due to a pesticide scare).
The potential of course is far worse. While we should not panic, our government and medical professionals on this case should work like they’re in a panic maybe.
And please, just tell us the truth. If we lose confidence in the professionals then the zany conspiracy mongers and reactionary it’s-all-Obama’s-fault types will hold sway.
In a previous post I wrote that Duncan came through the Dallas airport a day after me. Actually he was there before me. He was also at Dulles Airport outside of D.C. Once someone travels with a contagion, knowingly or not, the potential for its spread grows exponentially, of course. I think it is not for sure whether he had symptoms before coming into this country. One report suggested he lied to authorities about it.