Will Ebola Be Death Knell for Democrats?
The Democrat/Progressive Party may be signing their own death certificate in the 2014 elections with their mishandling of Ebola. One and half million people are quarantined in Sierra Leone. The first case has hit America. And all Obama has done is make a speech saying everything is fine here, but he’s sending American troops into harm’s way there. A ghastly virus that kills 50-100% of its victims and has no known treatment is something people notice. It is something women notice. Ebola is creating an epidemic of fear, for good reason. The Democrat ruling elite’s complacency, incompetence and leftist pieties are losing them the public trust.
Have you seen the photos from the TV Dallas/Fort Worth chopper of workers cleaning the Ebola victim’s vomit from the sidewalk in front of his apartment building? The CDC has it under control -- they ordered the vomit to be power washed. The area is not cordoned off, the workers have no protective clothing, and passers-by are tracking through the water in sandals. The blogger who posted them comments: “from the casualness of the guys doing the power-washing, it is unlikely that (1) they put any disinfectants in the power-washer or (2) they were even told what they were cleaning.”
The decontamination of the sick man’s apartment, including dirty sheets and towels, has not begun, even though his girlfriend, her son and two grown nephews are confined there. This is a nightmare for them. The CDC only learned from a CNN report that the sick man’s sweat-soaked sheets were still on the bed. They had done nothing to help the quarantined people.
Trust the government to keep us safe? Tell that to Duncan’s neighbors, the EMT workers now in quarantine, and the five men from the Sheriff’s department, all allowed to enter the apartment without protective garb. They went there to serve the official quarantine papers – also done a day late.
"They're very concerned," said Christopher Dyer, president of the Dallas County Sheriff's Association. "Their families are concerned. You've got to go home and tell your spouse, 'Hey, I was just inside this house where a guy had Ebola.'"
The occupants had not obeyed the initial requests to stay home and have no contact with anyone - not surprising, since they were sent no help with food or clean-up, and were not officially quarantined.
Her 35-year-old daughter brought over Clorox to help clean the house, and she sealed up Duncan's dirty clothes and towels in a bag. "But (authorities) said we shouldn't throw anything away until they can get back with me," Louise said.
That hadn't happened as of Thursday evening. Men in trucks from Cleaning Guys, a company that specializes in hazmat and biohazard cleaning services, were turned away for lack of the necessary permit to transport hazardous waste on Texas highways.
Even the hospital has nowhere to dispose of contaminated waste, because federal agencies are issuing conflicting directives on disposal.
Voters who ignored Obama’s many disasters are paying attention to this one. It is on American soil, it is effecting ordinary people like them, it is a human interest story, and it is scary. It also shows government as it is - lying, incompetent, and not even aiming at the basic job of national security and safety.
How many voters will decide they disagree with Democrats who say it’s best to import Ebola here and then quarantine exposed and dying Americans? Quarantine is how medicine contains epidemics. It is a normal public health response.
People have a common sense reaction: stop plane flights from West African nations. Why are we still giving visas to people from West Africa? Stop allowing businessmen, journalists and photographers, and other non-essential health providers to fly back and forth.
For liberals, multiculturalism trumps protecting American’s lives. Democrats tell us it is unthinkable to suspend air travel from West Africa. We must continue to allow thousands of West Africans to fly here every month. Yet it is not unthinkable for European countries.
The French government on Wednesday recommended its nationals avoid Sierra Leone and Liberia due to the risk associated with the Ebola virus and asked Air France-KLM to suspend flights to the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown. The government said its decision was aimed at those people whos presence was not absolutely necessary, and was driven by "developments in the epidemic and the state of the health systems" in those two West African countries.
American citizens are still working in and visiting Ebola hot zones. Ashoko Mukpo, an American activist for Sustainable Development stayed in Monrovia despite the epidemic and was recently hired by NBC to photograph Ebola victims. Now he has Ebola. The liberal media presents a happy story, that he is flying home. Mr. Mukpo’s father, Dr. Mitchell Levy, says he’s proud of his son’s integrity and very relieved he’ll soon be in America. What about all the other fathers in America? Are we relieved at this state of affairs? Mr. Mukpo could have come home last week, before he developed overt symptoms, and spread Ebola to his family and co-workers.
The four other NBC staffers in Liberia are flying home also, and will “self-quarantine’ themselves at home for three weeks. Believe they will? Dr. Nancy Snyderman, the network’s chief medical correspondent, in Liberia with three other NBC employees, claims there is actually no danger, because it is so hard to catch Ebola – even though her colleague just caught the disease.
No place is far from Liberia as long as air travel is unrestricted. I live in a small town that is six hours from a big city airport, as insulated from Ebola travelers as you can get, right? I went to a photography lecture last night and learned we were privileged to hear from three National Geographic photographers, recently returned from shooting the Liberian Ebola epidemic.
Democrats’ reassurances are too flimsy to stand up to unfolding events. First Obama said it was unlikely an Ebola case would show up in America. We’re told sick passengers will be screened for a fever before they get on a plane in West Africa. As if Americans want to trust our health to corrupt and incompetent West African airport officials. In any case, there is no way to screen sick passengers who are not yet showing symptoms.
Yet White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama has “strong confidence” in West Africa’s airport screening. There is no need to limit West African’s access to America.
Will this reassure the public? Or will it make them doubt that our President has good judgment, or even serious intent, about safeguarding American lives?
Here’s an example of the screening of Liberian flights at this end, by U.S. Customs officials:
CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen said when she and two colleagues recently returned from reporting in Liberia, they got a mixed bag of responses from Customs and Border Protection officers. "We all said we were journalists who had just been in Liberia covering Ebola," Cohen said. "One of my colleagues was told, 'Oh, OK, welcome back home, sir' — and (was) just let in — that was it."
Cohen herself got a different response. "I was told, 'Wait a minute, I think I got an email about this,' and the border patrol officer went and consulted with his colleagues," Cohen said. That officer later told her she should check her system for 21 days. "I said, 'What should I be checking?' And he wasn't sure," Cohen said.
The third colleague merely had his boots checked to see if there was mud on them.
Our hospitals can handle it, we are reassured. But the very first case was mishandled and the Ebola victim sent home with antibiotics. Initial symptoms resemble the flu and busy ERs see a lot of flu sufferers. The nurse Duncan told he was from Liberia didn’t find it worth repeating to anyone. That happens in real life.
We’re told not to worry, Ebola is very hard to catch. This isn’t entirely accurate, and it doesn’t pass any common sense test of reassurance. Ebola does pass through sweat, innocuous sweat, through spit, through semen, through broken skin. The virus is able to survive dried onto contaminated surfaces for many hours. In cold temperatures it can survive for months.
Anyone the least bit germ conscious knows that contagious diseases are often spread by hands – unwashed hands touch a doorknob, you open the door, you rub your eyes or nose, you are infected. When you catch the flu, you miss a few days of work. With Ebola, you and likely your family, could be dead. People catch contagious diseases all the time -- even doctors and nurses using full protective gear. Ebola in Africa is spread by contaminated medical equipment. It is spread by sexual intercourse, even 7 weeks after the patient has “recovered.” It is spread by contaminated clothing and equipment.
It is can be spread by an animal. The virus has been found in mice, bats and domestic dogs. The CDC is working on reassuring the public, not being scientifically accurate, when they claim there is no danger except through direct physical contact with victims.
Which brings us back to America. As we have seen, there was no effective quarantine of the Dallas Ebola victim’s girlfriend, her daughter and eight other family members in the two households, just a suggestion from the judge that she stay in the germ-infested apartment with her children for three weeks. The exposed kids were allowed to be sent to school(s). And as of last night, the CDC had still not cleaned up her apartment.
Airport screening is a joke, both here and in West Africa. Our highly trained ER medical staff in Dallas mistook the early symptoms of Ebola for the flu.
Keeping Americans safe from Ebola requires a more serious effort than this, and the public can tell. They probably won’t learn that President Bush had developed stronger quarantine protocols, based on the CDC’s recommendations, but that Obama squashed them when civil liberties organizations and the airline industry asked him to. They won’t connect the dots to Obama’s many acts that have endangered and sacrificed American lives to his political base and leftist agenda.
Voters don’t need to be politically savvy conservatives for Ebola to have a political impact. A fatal, contagious disease purposefully allowed into our country is personal for people. When Democrats tell us the CDC can confine the outbreak to pockets, that it will never be widespread, listening with ears perked up with fear, the public hears between the lines: Democrats are okay with some dead Americans. Americans in their own homes, sacrificed on the altar of liberal hubris about the power of government and political correctness.
That doesn’t sound like the government we expect in America. We expect our government to go to extraordinary lengths to protect us, and we are not getting it.
Karin McQuillan is a regular contributor to A.T.. She is retired clinical social worker, psychotherapist and author of mysteries set in Kenya. She served with the Peace Corps in Senegal, in West Africa.