Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Just my (perhaps uninformed) two cents...on banning travel from West Africa

I find the refusal to ban travel from the countries with large ebola outbreaks curious.  Does it not just make sense that one way to stop ebola from getting here is to not allow people, temporarily, to travel here from those countries?

The reasons I have heard to not ban travel seem flimsy.  What about relief efforts and aid workers?  Well, clearly, exceptions could be made for those people.  Perhaps even arrange for charter flights for them.  There could even be humanitarian exceptions made for people separated from family, funerals to attend, etc.  I think that problem could easily be handled.

Wealthy people could still simply travel to another country first, and then here.  Well, not if you do not accept people into this country holding passports from the nations where the disease is widespread.  It could stop with the passports.

People will then lie about where they've been.  Well, they could, but there would be a lot fewer people trying.  Isn't that like saying we shouldn't ban people from coming here because then they'll lie and come here anyway?  The current system allowed someone in who had been exposed to ebola.  Perhaps he did not know it.  The current open system did not prevent ebola from being brought to this country.

I have noticed there is a real dichotomy among people advocating for a travel ban and those resisting it. Liberals resist the ban.  Conservatives favor it.  Why is that?

I think liberals associate a travel ban with segregation and they are extremely sensitive to anything that looks like that.  Well, we do isolate patients here.  Why should it not be done on a global level?

Would we be abandoning countries that are poor and less equipped to handle medical emergencies than we are?  Not at all.  We could pour American resources at the situation.  We could give big grants to organizations already on the ground who have the knowledge and the wherewithal to handle ebola.  Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Relief Services, International Red Cross, Samaritan's Purse come to mind. We could build clinics!  We could send personnel. We could provide protective equipment.  Banning travel would not have to mean ignoring the problem or abandoning the suffering people!!

But it could mean preventing the disease from becoming widespread in the United States.

Am I missing something?

3 comments:

harecuts777 said...

The healthcare system has a policy called quarentine to try to slow the rate of spread. However travel bans and quarentines cause them to stay at home , however when they stay at home it can still spread to other family members . Therefore thetransmission rate of illnesses can never be stoped ,it can only be slowed. I think that if we ban travel , then no one will want to help the third world contries that are lacking in healthcare. If we dont help the 3rd world then a whole countrie will become extinict.

Luke Barber said...

The healthcare system has a policy called quarentine to try to slow the rate of spread. However travel bans and quarentines cause them to stay at home , however when they stay at home it can still spread to other family members . Therefore thetransmission rate of illnesses can never be stoped ,it can only be slowed. I think that if we ban travel , then no one will want to help the third world contries that are lacking in healthcare. If we dont help the 3rd world then a whole countrie will become extinict.

Rosemary said...

Luke, I totally share your concern about people thinking that it's a third world problem and not their concern. We certainly would not want a travel ban that had that effect. I think we should have a travel ban together with a massive relief effort pouring resources and supplies into the effected countries equipping them for this crisis and hopefully leaving them better prepared for any future crises as well. As Christians this is our very serious responsibility.

Thank for commenting!