In Africa, Ebola is killing hundreds of people per week. Most of the people dying travel short distances to buy groceries, and if they are sick, they might not walk at all. There might be a high level of interaction between other people because many families are living very close together and that allows the disease spread more easily. But in Africa, long distance travel is not the norm.
We have had one person with Embola get into the US and the first thing that happen was that he got sent home from the emergency ward with some medications. Why?? Because he had no health insurance. Note though, he was seen by a doctor, the ER process works, but without insurance, he would have been competing for a hospital bed with someone sicker or in worse shape that could pay.
Now let’s look at reality in this country. We don’t just live and operate in a 5 mile area like in Africa. We have had one person successfully gain entrance to the country with Ebola. One of the two infected nurses that treated him, made a trip to Detroit and back to Dallas. One person that handled embola blood samples is even on a cruise trip in the Caribbean. Common sense suggests that to control a disease of this magnitude, is very easy when, most people don’t have the ability to move great distances. Once they have mobility, everyone has the potential for exposure.
If we were to eliminate flights to Africa, many suggest that it would stop nothing. I argue that it would slow them down. It could take a person 10 to 15 days to make it to an airport where they could have access to regular means of travel. So in most cases, the disease would be spotted before it went further. That is pretty much the case with immigration from Mexico, it takes about a month to get from Panama to the border into the US, and so there would not be much of a worry about Ebola infections.
The real problem that is severely understated is the fact that in the United States, we have high mobility. Do we have the resources to control several outbreaks? When you come to the realization that the resources are not there, then you understand why the battle has to be fought in Africa. We have to fix the problem there first, or we are at risk at home on a higher level. It won’t spread from village to village in this country, but rather hop city to city, like San Francisco to New York.
Our country’s emergency rooms are closing in droves, they can’t pay their bills. We even had one ER unit that was forced to stay open and was going broke slowly. All it took was for one person to die in their waiting room and the government shut them down for gross incompetence; “Please Brer Bear, don’t throw me in the briar patch.” They were not allowed to go out of business, because they served the public, but incompetence set them free. Go figure!
At the Pentagon the other day, someone threw-up in the parking lot and they called for a hazmat team. So examine our first responders. Their first question is “Do you have insurance?” Their second question is “Have you been to Africa or Dallas in the last 3 weeks?” At that point, the health care provider might be asking themselves, “Shouldn’t I be wearing some protective clothing?”
Ebola in the United States has only hit three visibly traceable people. What happens if it was to infect part of our invisible economy, a drug addict or hooker? A 6 to 8 hour wait, in an emergency waiting room, kind of turns ER into an incubation Day Care Center for Embola. What if the person arrives to ER unconscious? I guess if you are having a heart attack you don’t have to wait 8 hrs, but everyone else does. After one exhausting 6 hour visit there 30 years ago, my next visit was to Urgent Care. I showed them a credit card and saw a doctor in 5 minutes.
In this country, we have a war on who is entitled to health care and how will it be paid for. The government pays pitifully little for uninsured ER procedures, reducing the hospitals to steal from their insurance paying customers. Our government is great at appointing people to oversee a problem and issuing directives, but short on funds to really implement any sort of action.
The real worry could be a country like India with a very concentrated population, with many very affluent people traveling to or living abroad in other countries.
Ebola could change our way of life. If you think you have it, you can go sit with a bunch of others in ER for 6 hours who have some sort of stomach flu. The hospital’s employee dress code with people in orange space suits might make you wonder a bit, but then you’d realize that it’s kind of hard to throw up wearing one of those suits, so it wouldn't do you much good to be wearing one. Of course, ABC reports that the Dallas hospital that had the first case now resembles a ghost town. It’s kind of vacant. The good news, there is no wait time at that emergency room, just come on down.
Thousands die in Africa every week and one of them made it stateside. Presently three schools are closed in Cleveland and a commercial airplane has been taken out of service, so they can be decontaminated. ABC reported that “There are four hospitals with bio containment facilities in the United States, and they have 11 beds that can be used at any one time for Ebola patients,”--- and four of them are in use.
An orange hazmat suit, looks like the ideal Halloween costume, the color fits as does the symbolism it represents. 8 billion people in the world and Embola could kill 5.7 billion of them if we drag our feet on this. Congress with it's excessive hubris, won't do much, its an election year and an incubation period of 21 days is too short an interval to have a public opinion on. I’m just hoping the disease is more partial to Democrats who are for everything.
Remember one thing, the problem will go away if we do nothing. And when you think about it, oddly that's correct, if we are not around, the problem ceases to exist.