Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and his son Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), both doctors, disagree on whether or not the U.S. should institute a travel ban on countries affected by Ebola.
The younger Paul, who has criticized the Obama administration for "downplaying how transmittable" Ebola is, last week said that "a temporary hiatus on flights … ought to be considered" and that it's "only reasonable." In another media appearance he reiterated, "A temporary suspension of flights should be definitely considered."
His father doesn't agree. "Right now I would say a travel ban is politically motivated more than something done for medical purposes," he said today on NewsMax TV. Paul explained his view:
You've got to put it in perspective. We're talking about one person that's died, and we want to close down the world travel system. …
Over 500 people still die from tuberculosis every year, so you have a much greater chance of getting tuberculosis by flying an airplane, but you don't put a ban on everybody who has a cough to get on an airplane. …
Right now the flu season started, you know how many people are liable to die? Tens of thousands. Actually the estimate is between 3,000 and 49,000 people die every year from the flu, so if you really want to do good for the world let's ban all people who have a cold because they might have the flu.
Nevertheless, Paul did defend his son against criticism from Democratic National Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who accused Rand of "politicizing" Ebola. Ron said Rand's "medical opinion [was] expressed in sincerity."
Read Reason's Shikha Dalmia's explanation of why a travel ban would not be effective.