The Answer On Ebola Travel Restrictions: Ban Commercial Flights, Allow Medical and Aid Flights to Continue, and Quarantine Workers Before They Return

Why Aren’t We Doing THAT?

NBC News reports:

A majority of Americans support banning all flights to the United States from countries experiencing an Ebola outbreak, an exclusive NBC News online survey reveals.

A Petition to the White House requests:

the FAA ban all incoming and outgoing flights to ebola-stricken countries until the ebola outbreak is contained

The Petition currently has over 18,000 signatures.

And it is obvious that screening passengers coming from Ebola hotzone countries can’t work.

But the Centers for Disease Control says that – paradoxically – banning flights would increase the spread of Ebola:

A travel ban to the countries facing an Ebola outbreak could paradoxically make the problem worse, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden said during a Saturday press conference.


Frieden said the CDC would consider any and all precautions, but warned that a travel ban could make it harder to get medical care and aid workers to regions dealing with the outbreak.

He cited the recent delay African Union aid workers experienced trying to get to Liberia.

“Their ability to get there was delayed by about a week because their flight was canceled and they were stuck in a neighboring country,” he said.

But why can’t commercial flights be stopped… while medical and humanitarian flights are allowed to continue?

After all, the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and other governmental agencies worldwide say they are now starting to deploy enormous resources into stopping the spread of Ebola in Africa. These agencies all have private airplanes.

Those flights could continue.  And the limited number of healthcare and aid workers flying to Africa to fight Ebola could all be quarantined and/or tested for Ebola before they return.

So that would give the best of all possible worlds: the spread of Ebola by way of commercial flights would stop, but the flow of aid and medical assistance to Africa would continue unabated.

Postscript:  I am not a healthcare expert.  If an infectious disease expert sees a flaw in the above analysis, I’m all ears.

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  • cettel

    Of course, you’re right. But the head of the CDC, also obviously, isn’t intelligent enough to have thought of the idea; and President Obama, also obviously, doesn’t care enough about the matter to replace him with someone who can do the job that must be done.

  • Keith

    It is pretty ridiculous that we have not stopped flights from those countries fighting Ebola.

    • Jay Kmonk

      I agree it is ridiculous, but we all know the reason for it. Obama values Political Correctness over everything else, with NO exceptions.
      Don’t you wish we had a real leader … a strong PRESIDENT who doesn’t take any crap. Reagan would’ve solved this is less than 5 minutes … “I am invoking a travel ban from West African nations to the USA, effective immediately … if this hurts anybody’s feelings, then they need to toughen up”.
      This candy-a$$ we’ve got now is a world-wide embarrassment. Shame on all who voted for this wimp (twice!!).

  • Prairie Patriot

    Of course, what you suggest can be done. The question in my mind is “Why isn’t it being done?” I truly think there are folks in high places that don’t care or are truly incompetent. Both make for a bad situation.

  • kimyo

    again, applying the 9/11 handbook: for maximum effect, they need bodies falling out of buildings.

    the cdc is acting this way to provoke us into demanding that dallas be quarantined. it’s a plan, it’s not incompetence.

    an outraged public, demanding action, will feel a false sense of security/accomplishment once commercial flights to west africa are suspended.

    then the next installment of this made-for-tv movie* will give us i-phone footage of today’s version of bodies falling out of buildings (ie: dogs eating corpses and vomit-spewing zombies galore).

    *working title: ‘drones over dallas’

  • My Side Of Town

    People will get used to Ebola the same way they got used to homosexual marriage…
    Some media mainstreaming is is just what Doctor Obola ordered.

    • Larry Headcheese

      Homosexual marriage won’t make you bleed out of your mouth and die, “My Side”: Ebola will, though. So get your head out of your bunghole.

      • Jay Kmonk

        Actually, my neighbors are married homosexuals and one of the guys has had AIDS for many years, so they definitely can bleed out of their mouth and die. He has supplies of meds shipped to his doorstep several times a month. He showed me the write-up on the medicine sheet and I was shocked to read the warning label. “Do not miss a dose of this medicine or you could quickly become suicidal”, along with a long list of other warnings. Very scary stuff. He is still alive but doesn’t get around much. Just walks the dog about 50 feet (still in his bathrobe in mid-afternoon). Probably a sad existence.

        • Larry Headcheese

          Heterosexuals get AIDS too. Your anecdote contains no logic.

  • kimyo

    the spread of the below by way of commercial flights

    i think your autocorrect swapped in ‘the below’ for ‘ebola’.

  • jadan

    “The flow of aid and medical assistance” is human traffic. The risk of infection remains the same or even higher for this group associated with treatment facilities, while the absolute number of people is reduced. But all it takes is one to escape the net. The number of personnel required to identify and locate contacts of those who slip through will become prohibitive. There are only so many fingers to plug holes in the dike. This seems like an exercise in futility that is guaranteed to hasten economic collapse.

    We need a test that is quick and cheap so that each person can be cleared. Maybe this is where energy should be directed. An effective test would make quarantines leak proof. You take this little laser gizmo that targets the virus frequency and you zap the back of your hand, or maybe your crotch or wherever. The LED screen then shows one of two icons, a smiley face or a death skull. Simple, and quick! Get on it, DARPA, you lazy bastards!

    • kimyo

      i think you’ve confused darpa with pixar.

      regardless, why don’t we stop civilian air traffic in and out of west africa UNTIL your magic crotch laser scanner is tested and operational?

      preventing 20 cases today could mean 50,000 lives saved over the next year. sure, maybe they’ll all croak anyway the following year. but – a delay may provide us with enough time to refine the treatment process and throttle the death rate down to 25% instead of 60.

  • Jon Kamp

    Ebola in USA – You and Your Family are at Risk! Here’s what to do – Listen to Judge Jeanine Pirro!

    Help Do Something – Sign the Petition Now! And Spread the Word Not The Virus!

    The 1918 Flu Virus Pandemic infected over 500 million people across the world, including the USA, remote Pacific islands and the Arctic, and killed 50 to 100 million of them, that’s a 10 to 20 percent death rate.

    A large factor in the worldwide occurrence of this flu was increased travel. Modern transportation systems made it easier for soldiers, sailors, and civilian travelers to spread the disease.

    Now we have Jumbo Jets and the Ebola Virus….. With a 70 to 90 percent death rate!

    Help Do Something – Sign the Petition Now! And Spread the Word Not The Virus!

    You Can Help – Facebook it, Tweet it, Instagram it and ask your family and friends to sign the Petition!

  • Aryanne

    Many reasons:
    1. Stopping all travel except for aid and healthcare workers is like dieting except during lunch and dinner. There’s no point trying to erect a partial quarantine, except for the people who are most at risk of being carriers.

    2. Stopping only air travel and not ocean and road travel is silly. There’s no such thing as a partial quarantine. Meanwhile, the countries connected by road to West Africa are the ones where an Ebola outbreak would be a catastrophe and could spread further. An argument might be made for quarantine-screening flights to, say, India, since an Ebola outbreak in India is probably the worst-case scenario. But in North America or Europe, it’s not going to last.

    3. Where, exactly, do you draw the line? Commercial flights to West Africa aren’t exactly selling board games and candy. Liberia’s biggest imports are fuel and food, if you cut back on any of those, people will die. And then they need exports to pay for those, too. So unless you count all of that as “humanitarian”, you’re going to see far, far more deaths than Ebola would have ever caused. And if you do, you’ve pretty much already described the entire economy of the region.

    4. Ebola doesn’t spread easily. The only reason it’s a problem in West Africa is that every country there except Nigeria is a complete shithole. Only half of Sierra Leone even has access to clean drinking water. It would take a hell of a lot – something like another civil war, at least – just to get America to the point where Ebola could potentially be a serious threat. At this point, ladders are more dangerous to Americans than Ebola.

    In short – you’d only be stopping the lowest-risk travelers, you’d only be stopping travel to the least-vulnerable regions, you’d end up killing thousands, and all of this is to protect us from a disease that’s really not a threat to us.

    • kimyo

      There’s no point trying to erect a partial quarantine, except for the people who are most at risk of being carriers.

      of all the people on the planet, aren’t the people in west africa ‘most at risk of being carriers’?

      tell them, before they get on the plane, you will not be admitted into the u.s. this applies regardless of if they’re flying in via belgium or lagos and also to those traveling by ship.

      all it would take is obama saying ‘make it so’ and it would be done. would that stop every single incoming infected? of course not. but, if you block 99 out of 100, you get to say ‘mission accomplished’.

      At this point, ladders are more dangerous to Americans than Ebola.

      the thing is, if steve falls off a ladder, it doesn’t increase the chance that jim will also fall off a ladder. jim might not even be up a ladder. jim hates heights.

      the thing is, ladders don’t all get together to fly in to disneyworld or vegas, with every sneeze or cough recirculated a few hundred times for most efficacious delivery to the inner recesses of each traveler’s lungs.

      ladders don’t hang out on moist surfaces in school cafeterias or in all you can eat buffets on cruise ships.

      this is also not the america of the 1960’s. most of our antibiotics are no longer effective against superbugs. vaccines are either becoming ineffective, or the diseases they attempt to counter have evolved. outbreaks of mumps, measles, whooping cough, tuberculosis and enterovirus 68 in the vaccinated are occurring across the country. every hospital is constantly fighting mrsa, c-diff. cre.

      this means that disease avoidance and reduction of exposure are especially critical. any steps which reduce the amount of ebola arriving in the states will pay off in saved lives and reduced load on hospitals.

      an issue which should be of much greater concern given today’s circumstances is that historically, plagues killing millions have coincided with times of low solar activity. research into potential causes (increased virulence?, reduced human resistance? increased atmospheric sulfur dioxide?, increased animal/insect vectors of transmission?) should be a priority.

      Regular Solar Cycle Could Be Going on Hiatus.

  • RomeoTango

    If we fail to quarantine it outside the country, it will be quarantined stateside, city block by city block.

  • A.G.

    Sign the petition to: Have the FAA ban all incoming and outgoing flights to ebola-stricken countries until the ebola outbreak is contained

  • A.G.

    Have the FAA ban all incoming and outgoing flights to ebola-stricken countries until the ebola outbreak is contained

    • DavieandDanielle Budden

      I don’t believe there are flights from Ebola stricken countries to the U S. So we have to stop flights from West Africa to Europe. So basically we tell Liberia a country of millions that they can’t fly because 9000 people are sick. If you couldn’t go to Disney World because I was sick you would throw a fit you don’t know me.

  • Carol Wrzesinski

    I would like to know which countries have imposed travel restrictions from the hot zones. Can someone tell me?

  • The
    Ebola scare is becoming the tipping point of discussion everywhere. But I think
    there is till time to ban commercial flights from these regions. That said, we
    sure need to take extra care of the health workers, working in those areas.
    Commercial flights are definitely at risk. I hope the government makes some
    definite plans at the earliest.