Dr. Thomas R. Frieden is the Director for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the past few weeks, the American people have seen him flail about spectacularly.
He has tried to instill calm in the public and instead made the situation worse. Under Frieden’s leadership, hospitals across America are confused about Ebola protocols, a nurse with Ebola and symptoms traveled on a commercial airliner with the CDC’s permission, and confusion has set in.
Frieden is in the unfortunate position of being a policy operative who has turned into a politician. He is doing a poor job at both. Prior to the CDC, Frieden came to Democrats’ attention as Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s healthcare expert intent on ending the scourge of second hand smoke and transfats.
Frieden’s resume is impressive. But we are not now dealing with a transfat problem, a diabetes problem, or a second hand smoke problem. Despite his efforts to make a comparison, we are not even dealing with an HIV/AIDS equivalent situation. Were we dealing with any one of those situations, Frieden’s expertise could no doubt shine.
No one expected Ebola would ever make it to the United States. Just a few weeks ago President Obama told the American public it would not make it here. It is here now and Dr. Frieden is not cut out for the job of calming a public and doing his job as CDC Director. It is not his fault. Events have gotten away from him and away from the administration he serves.
But Frieden needs to resign or be removed by the President as a first step in restoring calm by placing the CDC in more capable hands.
Another step the President must do is stop individuals who have been in Ebola hot zones from coming into the United States. Had he done so weeks ago, Ebola would not now be in the United States. Individuals from West African nations suffering through the Ebola epidemic should be barred from entry into the United States.
If West African nations can seal their borders to stop the spread of Ebola, we should be able to seal ours. The President’s fondness for an open border should not outweigh the lives of American citizens and the need to instill calm in an ever more jittery public.