Yesterday President Obama expounded on his current rationale for declining to impose travel restrictions on visa holders from west African countries struggling with the Ebola outbreak (video below). Obama prefaced his statement with his customary red flag: “I want to make sure that everybody is clear about the issue.” See if you can follow this:
I don’t have a philosophical objection necessarily to a travel ban, if that is the thing that is going to keep the American people safe. But the problem is is that in all of the discussions I’ve had thus far with experts in the field, experts in infectious disease, is that a travel ban is less effective than the measures that we are currently instituting–that involve screening passengers who are coming from West Africa.
If we institute a travel ban instead of the protocols that we put in place now, history shows that there is a likelihood of increased avoidance. People do not readily disclose their information. They may engage in something called broken travel, essentially breaking up their trip so that they can hide the fact that they have been to one of these countries where there is a disease in place. And as a result, we may end up getting less information about who has the disease, they are less likely to get treated properly, screened properly, quarantined properly, and as a consequence we could end up having more cases rather than less….
Ah, the lessons of history! Where may they be found? I don’t know what he’s talking about here.
And I don’t find this to be comprehensible. It sounds like the kind of nonsense out of which Professor Irwin Corey made a productive living in comedy. Something is happening here, but I don’t understand what it is.