Ebola

Travel Ban: How Not to Fight Ebola

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Ebola is upon us and Republicans have a cure: A travel ban. Many have them been vying with each other to shame the administration into imposing one. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who is clearly positioning himself for a

Ebola
unicefguinea / Foter / CC BY-NC

possible 2016 presidential run, issued a press release noting that the ban would "seem to be an obvious step to protect public health in the United States." Donald Trump, who is threatening the country with another presidential run, tweeted that the president was being either "arrogant or stupid" in resisting it.

And then there is the master of understatement, Rush Limbaugh, who alleged that the main reason why the administration was rebuffing the ban was "political correctness.

Government exists to protect the life and property of its citizens. So there might be an argument for a travel ban if it actually worked and could be enforced without giving up on every civilized value.

But there isn't. A ban is unnecessary and would be quite likely counterproductive, I note in The Week today:

Unnecessary because there is already a de facto private ban in place, given that U.S.-based airlines stopped flying to Ebola-afflicted countries two months ago (to protect their crew and passengers from exposure — and themselves from lawsuits). And counterproductive for a whole host of reasons.

To see those reasons go here.

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136 responses to “Travel Ban: How Not to Fight Ebola

  1. Look at Israel during World War Z. Those damn zekes got over the wall anyway. Of course, they only had a travel ban on zombies, not microphone-hogging Palestinians. SPOILER ALERT.

    1. Fuck you. I was trying to forget that…that thing.

      1. You’ve got a man-crush on Brad. Admit it.

        1. I HAD a man-crush on Bradd or something close to it before I watched that steaming pile of a move adaptation.

          1. The book itself was flawed. So what can you expect from the Hollywood version.

            1. The book was great.

              1. Written by the son of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft.

    2. They didn’t in the book.

  2. Are they talking about banning travel to just the afflicted countries or ALL travel?

    1. The talk show I was listening to on the drive home was calling for “Closing the borders.”

      Whatever that means.

      1. It means ‘insanity’ which is the conservative response to anything border-related.

      2. Closing the borders…..*sigh*.

        East Germany closed its borders. I think that is what they mean/want. But it would work this time.

      3. It means Japan prior to 1853.

        There’s a strong sentiment in this country to establish a shogunate here (strong central authority, closed borders, strongly protectionist polices for domestic industries) – only instead of complete isolation we’ll keep using our military to stick our dicks in hornet’s nests around the world.

        1. And we won’t be stung, cuz ‘Murrica!!!!

      4. Whatever that means.

        I think you hire extra government workers to tape everything off. Although, nothing like that has ever been tried. Taping everything off. Oh the image of that makes me chuckle.

    2. In the time it took you to write that completely retarded question, you could have actually read the first fucking paragraph of the article.

      1. Ebola is upon us and Republicans have a cure: A travel ban. Many have them been vying with each other to shame the administration into imposing one. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), who is clearly positioning himself for a possible 2016 presidential run, issued a press release noting that the ban would “seem to be an obvious step to protect public health in the United States.” Donald Trump, who is threatening the country with another presidential run, tweeted that the president was being either “arrogant or stupid” in resisting it.

        I’m not seeing where it says if it’s a total ban or not. Unless you meant the linked article, in which case no one actually reads those.

      2. In the time it took you to write that completely retarded reply, you could have noted that the QUOTED TEXT does not say.

        1. God forbid you read the attached article before commenting.

          1. God forbid you read the attached article before slamming someone else for not reading the attached article.

            Ass.

    3. “Are they talking about banning travel to just the afflicted countries or ALL travel?”

      I haven’t heard anybody talking about “closing the borders”.

  3. How long before Ebola makes it way to Latin America? It will spread there nearly the way it has in Africa and swarms of people will flee to…..here.

    No, this is not an argument for a border wall….the berlin wall could not keep people from crossing and it was short. The southern border of the US is the longest border in the world between two countries. Keeping people from crossing it is an absurd idea.

    1. Don’t you mean the northern border?

      1. *headsmack* Oops.

        We have a northern border? The state of Canada doesn’t border any other countries.

        1. WRONG! It borders Alaska!

          1. Gahhh! *doubleheadsmack*

          2. Same country.

    2. LA doesn’t have the same cultural practices as parts of Africa.

      1. Vaccination rates are terrible in both areas.

        1. Pretty sure Ebola isn’t one of the diseases that’s vaccinated for in most places. Does it come with a lot of secondary infections of measles or hepatitis?

          1. No, secondary infections aren’t so important to Ebola prognosis.

          1. Nature has a way to deal with such morons.

      2. It will spread like mad in certain areas. In other areas, not so much.

    3. We have 300 million people in this country. The border with Mexico is just over 3000 km. So we could put 100 people in every meter of border, if we had the will to do so.

      1. Nah, just make it a Rottweiler and Pit Bull Preserve.

  4. By the way, we have experience with a disease similar to Ebola…..Rabies. We beat it, we will beat Ebola.

    1. Until the rabies virus fucks the ebola virus and a zombie virus is born.

      (Yes I know this is not how viruses reproduce.)

      1. Its not?

      2. A person co-infected with both rabies and Ebola could be aggressive and bitey. Rabies transmits normally by bite but I imagine Ebola-mediated bleeding would make it worse. Rabies has such a variable incubation time however otherwise it would be a great zombie recipe!

        1. An *animal* infected with rabies is bitey – not people.

          Rabies causes brain damage and erratic and violent behavior – in animals this can manifest as biting (among other things) but that’s only because that’s the primary attack method of other animals.

          A human’s more likely to run away in fear or stab/shoot/strangle/beat you than bite.

          The real problem here is that rabies has a 1-3 month incubation period in humans and the Ebola is likely to have killed you before you even start manifesting symptoms of rabies.

          1. You are a blast at parties, aren’t you?

            1. Until he starts biting people…

    2. Fuck, it’s almost as good as ISIS and the WOD, why would we want to beat it? Don’t be silly.

  5. The lone voice of sanity questioning this burgeoning conservative narrative is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, which in itself speaks volumes about the state of the GOP.

    Or about the stupidity of this argument.

    If they are not able to respond expeditiously, thanks to a travel ban, we’ll be basically consigning a whole lot of people to a death sentence.

    That’s not the travel direction I’m concerned about.

    1. “If they are not able to respond expeditiously, thanks to a travel ban, we’ll be basically consigning a whole lot of people to a death sentence.”

      So it is our fault? Maybe saving the world isn’t our responsibility.

      That is some Manifest Destiny bullshit right there.

      1. White man’s burden.

        Similar but different than manifest destiny.

    2. Please don’t tell me there are people here who actually think this is a good idea.

      1. Look, you ban guns, and guns disappear, you ban travel, and travel disappears. Everybody knows this.

        1. Travel isn’t something you can hide in a backpack.

          1. Well, not a small backpack, sure, but a large duffel bag, probably.

            1. You fold your underwear around it and stuff it under the polo shirts.

    3. If relief workers, suppliers, etc know they can’t come back they’re not going to go there.

      1. Under what authority praytell are you going to refuse American citizens entry into their own country?

        1. The standard ‘Fuck You, That’s Why’ clause that the federal government does everything else under.

          1. Eh, I thought we hadn’t yet risen to the the level where FYTW was sufficient to keep an American citizen out of the United States, but I wouldn’t want to be the poor sap who found out the hard way.

            1. Eh, I thought we hadn’t yet risen to the the level where FYTW was sufficient to keep an American citizen out of the United States

              I don’t know about you, but I’m not allowed to enter the United States until I’ve answered a host of intrusive questions and possibly subjected to a search. And I live here!

              1. Well, they can throw you in jail, but it would be an American jail. Not much comfort, to be sure, but still on US soil.

        2. I’m not talking about refusing entry, I’m talking about what would happen if you banned flights from W Africa.

          They already refuse entry to terror suspects, btw.

          1. They already refuse entry to terror suspects, btw.

            Uh, what? The FBI has gotten so corrupt that they don’t even arrest actual criminals any more?

          2. Not in the United States they don’t.

            The closest you get to that is being put on the No-Fly List. But ‘suspected terrorist’ American citizen still can’t be denied entry if he walks to the border post.

          3. Still a stupid idea.

        3. Lois Lerner said it would be okay.

  6. Does Shikha Dalmia not know how to read her own sources? She claims US airlines don’t fly to Ebola infected countries, yet her source very clearly says “Today, only Delta and United offer direct, nonstop service between the U.S. and West Africa”

    What a strong argument you have when you just make up your own facts.

    1. Is every country in West Africa infected?

      1. Is it my job to do Shikha Dalmia’s job for her? She made an incorrect blanket statement that was contradicted by her own source. I’m sorry if this upsets you.

        1. No, she didn’t, and no, it doesn’t.

          1. “Unnecessary because there is already a de facto private ban in place, given that U.S.-based airlines stopped flying to Ebola-afflicted countries two months ago (to protect their crew and passengers from exposure ? and themselves from lawsuits). And counterproductive for a whole host of reasons.”

            Her source, the New Yorker, states that US airways still fly to Accra and Dakar, both of which have confirmed Ebola cases.

            So yes, she’s wrong and so are you.

            1. And there are a few that fly to Dallas and Atlanta too.

            2. But if feelzzz true.

            3. Now you are actually putting claims into the discussion other than just throwing shit around.

              Even so, I see no flights to Accra and I see only one case of Ebola in Dakar.

              1. … there’s no “outbreak” of ebola in Accra, either, although I did find some flights there.

            4. Her source, the New Yorker, states that US airways still fly to Accra and Dakar, both of which have confirmed Ebola cases.

              So does the United States.

        2. I’m sorry if this upsets you.

          I’m sorry you’re a fucking idiot who can’t read or understand the English language, but I usually don’t go about accusing people of malfeasance over my own stupidity.

          1. It’s amazing that you can write two lines of text without actually saying anything of substance. Congratulations.

            1. Well, consider the post I was responding to.

        3. No she didn’t. West Africa is a *region*. SOME of the countries in WA have Ebola outbreaks, others don’t.

          1. But they don’t have border fences, so it’s basically one country.

            1. Fun fact: Bullets stop people about as well as fences do. Better, even.

              1. So not very well at all then?

                1. So not very well at all then?

                  See, this is why I included “better, even” at the end. Although an unattended gun is no better than an unattended fence at stopping people.

                  1. Yeah, ask pretty much any authoritarian shithole of the last century how well the guns worked at keeping people in or out.

                    So, even working *better* than a fence (which works not at all) is still not working very well.

        4. I’m sorry if this upsets you.

          Um, yeah. Sure. I’m so upset. I’m just in tears. Wah. Boo hoo. Idiot.

  7. Shikha Dalmia

    How did I know?

  8. And counterproductive for a whole host of reasons.

    Which would be?

    I don’t think we need travel bans at this point, but I don’t see how they make it more likely to get into the country.

    1. It= ebola

  9. Unnecessary because there is already a de facto private ban in place . . .

    GODDMANIT! woman – how many times do we have to tell you that it only counts when the *government* does it.

    How can these *private companies* possibly know how broad to make the ban or for how long without direction from the ‘Top Men’?

    1. There are a lot of airlines that fly to the US that are not US-based.

      1. All the more reason why we need the United Nations now more than ever!

  10. Why can’t we take risk reduction measures? One good method is to suspend non-essential visas from countires with widespread Ebola infections.

    It will hurt the PR image of West Africa, hurt the African economy, and have negative foreign relation effects but the chances of the virus getting here will be lowered. Not doing so, may but a couple Americans, at risk.

    P.S. I am not really worried about Ebola. Just tired of the politics behind the virus. I wish Obama will just admit he a willing to sacrific a couple Americans on the alter of foreign relations, preserving the PR image of africa, and preserving their economies.

    1. I wish Obama would stop worrying more about Africa than the continent he was born in.

      1. Hawaii’s not a continent.

        1. Hawaii is part of North America.

          1. No, it’s not. It’s an island, not part of any continent. Geologically, it’s part of the Pacific Plate.

            1. Geologically, it’s part of the Pacific Plate.

              So is Los Angeles.

              1. True, but it at least has a direct land connection to North America. I don’t know of any definition that puts Hawaii in North America.

                According to Wikipedia, it’s actually considered to be part of Oceania, though I think that’s a stretch. I guess if it absolutely had to be part of a continent, that’s the closest one, but still…

            2. Tulpa just got Tulpa’d.

        2. He speaks of the mystical Land of Mu.

        1. That’s where he was born. Unless you fall for the Kenyan myth.

          1. Unless you fall for the Kenyan myth.

            The Kenyan myth? Is that the one where they win all the marathons?

            1. No that’s the Kenyan Konspiracy.

            2. The Kenyan myth is when you believe the author blurb Obama used for years, which said he was born in Kenya.

      2. He has never cared about this continent.

    2. Why can’t we take risk reduction measures?

      Because it voilates the sacrosanct Gaia given right of free travel, which trumps a right to life, and is only superceded by the right to throw you off my lawn.

      1. Uh. Yeah. Freedom of movement is a big deal.

    3. “….preserving their economies. (West African countries)”

      Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

    4. This is a bad idea. It will cause harm to Americans too. Travel bans should only be implemented when 1) there’s a real threat and 2) they can work. Ebola not even a serious threat to America. You’re more likely to die of meningitis.

  11. Why don’t they just ban… Ebola?

    1. Outlaw Ebola and only outlaws will have Ebola, or something

    2. Ebola-free school zones.

      No Ebola within 1000ft of a school, daycare, or place of worship.

      Just like with guns and drugs, this should be enough to take care of the problem.

      1. We need a forever war on Ebola, to go along with our forever war on drugs and forever war on scary terrorists. It’s a control freak governments wet dream.

  12. I don’t think a flight ban is necessary, and a potential panic is a concern, but I’m not sold on her argument.

    If we banned flights to Liberia, we effectively reduce the chances of Ebola reaching the nation from slim to near zero. The border between USA and Africa is big ass ocean.

    But what if Japan still accepts flights from Liberia? Do we have to ban flights to and from Japan? Probably not. Their airports will (hopefully) have health screens, and even a slightest sign of fever from a Liberian passenger won’t go unnoticed. If an airport abroad receives an Ebola patient, that person probably won’t reach the USA.

    Does flights from Africa to America make temporary stops somewhere else? If not, how many Africans have the money to make two trips (somewhere else first, then to America)?

    I don’t think temp flight bans are anything new. If ISIS very takes over Syria and becomes a full blown state, we may ban flights there. And people who can’t fly out of there are all potential victims. But we can’t be the world’s police, and we probably can’t be the world’s doctor.

    1. ^ This.

      And there is no reason why a travel ban to ebola-infected countries could not include the proviso that doctors and aid workers can travel there, provided they fly back to a certain place where they can be checked out.

      There are no gods who will magically decree that Ebola won’t be a problem simply because it isn’t yet a problem. Shit happens; people do stuff in response. Hopefully most of what people do occurs in the private sector. But even a minimal government would be charged with doing two things: protecting people against force and fraud, and protecting the borders from ACTUAL threats (not job seekers).

      A temporary ban doesn’t mean the death of freedom.

  13. If your goal is to maintain control of the situation, rerouting the people most likely to be infected into a quarantine area and treating them makes more sense than shutting down all travel, which will only encourage desperate people to use routes where they will stay undetected (ie, the southern border). If, due to a plane ban, they try to make it here through Mexico, and in so doing cause an outbreak there, we will be in a world of shit.

    The only way a travel ban would have any hope of working is if you cut things off at the West African side, and I don’t think anyone is prepared to do that yet.

  14. I, for one, welcome our new Ebola Overlords.

  15. A travel ban is the way to go.

    If, and only if, we really knew where people travel too.

    We can block Africa. But one can fly to paris from Africa.

    1. The passport will have record of traveling from W Africa.

      1. Not necessarily.

        Lots of countries don’t stamp passports, some you can buy off and some fail to do it as a matter of course for certain countries.

        Cuba will typically not stamp US passports specifically to keep the passport holder from getting into a lot of shit on return to the us – not out of any concern for that person, but to ensure those sweet, sweet tourist dollars keep coming in.

  16. So to help stop the spread of the contagion, which uses the human as its transport mechanism, we don’t limit the transportation of the biological incubator?
    The Liberian government thought it good idea for 3 day quarantine, but they must not be as smart as the author
    Seems the US military had no problem getting people and material over to these areas without commercial airlines.
    And I am pretty sure the military transport aircraft can load a lot more equipment than your standard airliner.

    1. See post by an1sthes above.

    2. And I am pretty sure the military transport aircraft can load a lot more equipment than your standard airliner.

      You would be wrong about that. We have 3 major air transport options – (from smallest to largest) C-130, C-17, C-5. I can guarantee that the C-5 is not being used to ferry anything into West Africa – its too large and the infrastructure would have difficulty supporting it.

      C-130 is actually a *small* transport and the C-17 is the only plane that has capability similar to civilian industry – and there ain’t really a lot of those.

      1. Passenger aircraft, standard airliner. And we still use C-141’s. I see them flying around quite often near my house.
        Whether or not our or any militaries of the world choose to their transport aircraft, is well up to them.
        As for passengers leaving an area where a deadly disease is epidemic, I don’t see the value in that. To me at least, that is not containment and invites spread.

  17. The elite elected officials of the USA, being the worthless parasitical pieces of shit that they are. would love a travel ban (outgoing only) so that revenue cannot possibly escape. That’s the only future that they have, their only hope for continued existence as parasites. Otherwise, they would have to get real jobs and support themselves through their own efforts, which is impossible when you have no skills and are too dumb to learn any.

    1. While I agree – I don’t think anyone is going to be fleeing the US for sunny West Africa in large numbers.

  18. I’d settle for a temporary end to visas issued to residents of Ebola countries. Duncan should never have been issued a visa in the first place. That mistake probably cost us $500,000 at least, and maybe more infections. If medical personnel want to go there, fine, just test them when they return.

    On topic: Why American Samoa escaped the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic, and Western Samoa did not. Hint: quarantines can work.

    1. Is that link making the rounds somewhere or are you a regular reader?

      1. I think I first saw it on Blazing Cat Fur.

      2. Regular reader here, hence my link to Cochran’s latest.

  19. Lemme see if I’ve got this straight, a quarantine spreads disease and ‘open door’ policies don’t?

    1. I believe her point is, a ban on direct flights from West Africa to the U.S. is liable to cause desperate people to do indirect flights from West Africa to the U.S. — you know, unintended but foreseeable consequences.

      Whereas, allowing such flights but with screening and quarantine if needed is liable to get better results than the above.

  20. president was being either “arrogant or stupid”

    Obama is always arrogant and stupid.

    A ban is unnecessary and would be quite likely counterproductive,

    That is obviously nonsense.

    ++
    The Coming Plague by gcochran9

    Laurie Garret has an article out in the Washington Post. She say that there’s no point in trying to block the spread of Ebola by travel bans.

    The problem is, she’s full of crap. Look, there are two possible scenarios. In both of them, r, the number of new cases generated by each case, is greater than 1 in parts of West Africa ? which is why you get exponential growth, why you have an epidemic. If r < 1.0, the series converges ? a case generates a few extra cases before dying out.

    Everything we know so far suggests that even though it is greater than 1.0, r in West Africa is not all that big (maybe around 2), mostly because of unfortunate local burial customs and incompetent medical personnel.

    Now suppose that a travel ban blocked 80% of sick people trying to fly here from Liberia. We’d have 80% fewer cases in US citizens: and that would be a good thing. Really it would. Does Laurie Garret understand this? Obviously not. She is a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, but she is incompetent. Totally useless, like virtually everyone else in public life.
    ++

  21. continued…
    We hear people from the CDC saying that any travel restrictions would backfire, but that’s nonsense too. One might wonder why they say such goofy things: I would guess that a major reason is that they were taught in school that quarantines are useless (and worse yet, old-fashioned), just as many biologists were taught that parasites are really harmless ? have to be, because evolution!
    ++

  22. Are they talking about banning travel to just the afflicted countries or ALL travel?

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