My last post on the Ebola situation dealt with the internal contradictions of the CDC’s and the Obama administration’s public pronouncements on how transmission of the virus is and isn’t possible or likely. At that point there was disagreement among healthcare authorities about the possibility of airborne and surface contact infection. There still is.
I noted that it was odd that if, on one hand, the CDC was saying that they knew of no instances in which the disease was transmitted through the air and that contracting Ebola from a surface which the virus had settled on was nearly impossible, then why would it have been a major issue that Amber Vinson took an airline flight from Cleveland to Dallas. Seemed like a contradiction. It still is.
But now, President Obama has (yet again) recorded a video message in which he contends that ““Ebola is actually a difficult disease to catch. It’s not transmitted through the air like the flu, you cannot get it [Ebola] from just riding on a plane or a bus.”
What is interesting about this, is that the day before, a woman riding on a bus from the Pentagon to a Marine event, used the restroom after which she vomited and collapsed. A Pentagon spokesman indicated that “the individual indicated that she had recently visited Africa.”
The individual was then taken to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment and tests. That makes perfect sense, but then the parking lot where this took place was closed down and the bus quarantined.
A Daily Mail Online video report disclosed that health officials had instructed passengers who were on that bus to monitor their temperatures and any related symptoms for 21 days. “Then in several days, if they confirm then that she does not have [Ebola], then they basically they wipe away the rest of the 21 days for us. So again, it’s precautionary,” Col. Dave Lapan, a Marine who was on the bus told the Mail. Subsequent to this, medical authorities at Inova Fairfax informed the Marines that the woman was not infected with Ebola.
This is the very sort of thing that heightens the public anxiety about epidemics. When public officials say one thing, but by their actions, contradict the very essence of the information they disseminated, it not only causes us to wonder which story is correct, but whether important facts are being occluded. The only other interpretation is incompetence and that’s not good either.
Obama made essentially the same statement 3 weeks ago on another video message to citizens of the West African nations that are being plagued by the disease, saying that you “cannot get [Ebola] through casual contact, like sitting next to someone on a bus.” The CDC signed off on that statement. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told journalists during a press teleconference that the CDC had vetted Obama’s message to African residents before it was released.
During the conference call, CNSNews.com asked Frieden:
“In a video message to countries in West Africa that are experiencing Ebola outbreaks, President Obama told residents they cannot get the disease by sitting next to someone on a bus. But CDC recommendations state that travelers in West Africa who begin to show possible symptoms, or people who have experienced a high risk of exposure, should avoid public transportation, including buses. And we’ve also seen large amounts of concern regarding potentially infected people traveling on airplanes.
“My first question is, did the CDC vet this video message before it was released and posted on U.S. embassy websites, and is it true that a person runs absolutely no risk of contracting Ebola on public transportation, such as a bus?”
“Yes, CDC vetted the message, and, yes, we believe it’s accurate,” Frieden replied to the reporter. “I think there are two different parts of that equation. The first is, if you’re a member of the traveling public and are healthy, should you be worried that you might have gotten it by sitting next to someone? And the answer is no.”
“Second, if you are sick and you may have Ebola, should you get on a bus? And the answer to that is also no. You might become ill, you might have a problem that exposes someone around you.”
To this, it is reasonable to say, “wait just a minute. You either can get Ebola from being on a bus with an infected person, or you can’t. Both can’t be true.”
What’s more, CDC has contacted the 132 passengers that were on the flight with Ms. Vinson, as has Frontier Airlines, saying that even though she, “exhibited no signs or symptoms of illness,” public health officials “will begin interviewing passengers about the flight, answering their questions, and arranging follow up” and “individuals who are determined to be at any potential risk will be actively monitored,” according to a news release by the CDC last Wednesday.
The pilots and crew members have been put on 21 days leave, and the aircraft in question was taken to a maintenance facility for triple disinfection. In a statement Wednesday morning, Frontier Airlines said it cleaned the plane three times that transported the second patient, Amber Vinson, from Cleveland to Dallas Fort Worth Oct. 13.
According to Frontier Airlines, while in Denver, the plane will undergo a fourth cleaning, which will consist of “removal of seat covers and carpets in the immediate vicinity of the passenger seat. The airline will also change the environmental filters on board.”
Fourth cleaning? Folks, there are a majority of airliners that don’t even get one cleaning between flights.
Is this just a CYA in order to ward off potential lawsuits and public relations to re-assure passengers, or do they not believe the conflicting stories coming out of the White House and the CDC?
All of the statements we’ve heard up to this point, violate the laws of non-contradiction, logic and frustrate deductive reasoning. Of course, this is the Obama administration. There’s something to be said for consistency.