Sunday, October 19, 2014

You're Gonna Need A Bigger Shovel

The most obvious step to stop the spread of any disease is to quarantine those who potentially have it outside your own country.

But we're not doing it here, because "It wouldn't work and could actually make things worse," health officials say.

When someone has Ebola here, we put them in isolation.
When someone is suspected of Ebola infection, we now (after screwing up by the numbers for three weeks on epic clown antics) put them in isolation.
When someone has Ebola over there, the first thing Medecins Sans Frontieres does is put them in isolation.
When a health healthcare worker needs to treat someone with Ebola, they put themselves behind multiple impermeable layers of isolation.
That's what "barrier nursing" is all about. That's why we call those "isolation precautions".

Yet somehow, health officials, (and let's be clear here, only the ones carrying this administration's political water with both hands), are suddenly willing to throw all that common sense and prudence under the bus, and tell us, from their vast fund of knowledge of the intricacies of international air travel, customs and immigration procedures, travel screening protocols, and US and international law, that they have decided that this won't work?
How it blazes are they suddenly the go-to guys on this, despite getting it wrong about:

* Ebola never getting here
* Ebola being hard to catch
* "Any" hospital being able to care for Ebola patients
* Knowing how to treat the disease safely
* Having protocols in place that work
* Spending priorities for $10B since 2001, specifically to prepare for biohazard emergencies like this
* Being able to keep tabs on the contacts of just one infected Ebola patient
Those guys are the "experts" we're listening to on why this won't work?!?

This step is such easily workable common sense a growing list of other countries have figured it out:
Other countries — most recently including Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, and St.Lucia — have already taken steps to ban travelers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone or restrict entry until after a 21-day quarantine. Nigeria, Senegal and Democratic Republic of Congo are also on some of the banned lists.

So actual banana republic have got this, and we get the gang who can't shoot straight.
The administration has even admitted that we're only talking about a maximum of 150 persons a day, 94 percent of whom all arrive through five airports already adding the (worthless kabuki theatre) "enhanced" screenings anyways.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest on Thursday made clear the president is not considering a travel ban. "Currently, when individuals do travel from West Africa to the United States they are screened prior to departure in West Africa. They are screened again once they enter this country, and they are subjected to heightened screening if they have traveled in these three West African countries in the last three weeks or so," Earnest said.
Except those screenings are the exact ones that didn't stop Thomas Duncan from entering the country and travelling to Dallas, and won't stop the next Duncan from coming here either. Or the next ten after that.
Officials ask questions; Duncan lied about his exposure.
They check temperatures; a handful of Tylenol or ibuprofen thwarts that genius plan.

But if we drive that travel underground, we won't be able to track those people.

Right, geniuses, I forgot that everyone from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone will be a brilliant master of disguise, with multiple passports, multiple backstopped cover stories, and vast sums money and of technical and logistical support to make waltzing past immigration and customs agents in three different countries looking for world-class terrorists a total piece of cake.

All they have to do is get out of the three most-locked-down countries on the planet, travel overland hundreds of miles on a continent where that's difficult at the best of times, pull out their secret identity undercover passport, buy a plane ticket there, fool the immigration and customs authorities from their "cover" country, including speaking a different language or dialect flawlessly, then travel to a third country, say in Europe, withstand the screenings there without a slip, and then finally proceed here, and get past our immigration and customs authorities, all without a single hitch, on falsified papers, lying their way from stop to stop to stop, breaking about 20 international security and espionage laws, and most importantly, while potentially incubating Ebola in their bodies.

Yes, Dr. Frieden, I can see where that would be child's play for anyone, especially the products of the most backward and unsophisticated nations on the planet. Perhaps someone should tip off the recruiting departments at the CIA and MI6 to what clever fellows those people are.

If we've fallen so far that we can't spot 6000 a month people from Africa trying to sneak in here by pretending to be from somewhere else, we should just fire the FBI, CIA, Customs, Border Patrol, Immigration, the whole lot, tell the Pentagon to stand down, pull our collective national pants down, and tell Al Qaeda to come here now and have their way with us.

The reality, contrary to all the idiot savant naysayers, is that a travel ban and quarantine are ridiculously easy. ICE already has 20 designated quarantine stations throughout the country, including at the 5 most likely airports. We have quarantined infected people before, going back to forever. And uninfected people sneaking in are even easier: we arrest them, and ship them back (after helpfully photographing, fingerprinting, and DNA-swabbing them).
(Oh wait, I forgot, we'd have to actually enforce our borders and immigration law!) 

Overnight we would stop the unemployed package shufflers like Duncan and hordes more, to a metaphysical totality, and the legitimate ones who'd follow the procedures would be properly quarantined, eliminating any number of subsequent false alarms daily every time someone who once saw a map of Africa sneezes, coughs, or pukes in a public place. Total number of "medical experts" talking about that problem lately: zero. Hey, thanks for not being on those cases, Dick.

The reality is there is nothing coming or going to those three nations right now that needs to, which couldn't go on military mercy flights, and I'm pretty sure the US Air Force and Air Mobility Command have a pretty good handle on getting aid workers and relief supplies into and out of any third-world shithole on the planet at the speed of heat, only having done so, by my recollection, pretty much non-stop since 1942.

If they, in conjunction with their own medical officers, the CDC, the FBI, and the CIA can't figure out how to tell the sheep from the goats, we have far more serious national security problems than this one paltry virus.

So please, you bunch of braying "medical expert" jackasses, stop peeing on our heads and telling us it's raining, just to cover for a sad incompetent little president who couldn't find his own ass even with your help, and that of entire cabinet departments, plus the sum total of the national press corps.

ABC shovel-ready story on this.
CNN shovel-ready story on this.
NBC shovel-ready story on this.
CBS shovel-ready story on this.
Obviously, if ABCNNBCBS agree on this, it must be true, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Forbes shovel-ready story on this.

(Matthew Harper barely needs make-up for his clown role. Well cast, Forbes; well cast.)