Ebola Fearmongering

I seldom watch TV. But today I am on the road and watched CNN from a restaurant. I did not have sound, but I did see captions.

CNN’s headline story was ridiculous. CNN placed the blame for the intraday DOW plunge of 460 point on ebola.

There was no mention of the 21-Point Plunge in Empire State manufacturing Index. Nor was there any mention of weak consumer spending.

What about PEs in the stratosphere? No mention of course. (For discussion, please see Stock Buybacks Peaked With Stock Market in 2007: History About to Repeat?)

Instead, CNN assumed the DOW plunge was based on ebola.

Obama’s Lame Response

Fear is in the air, and it’s easy to assign blame. A few simple questions will help explain.

  1. Is there a chance of spreading the disease by coughing or sneezing? Yes.
  2. Would I want to sit on a plane next to someone who was in contact with an ebola patient? No, and neither would anyone else.
  3. Would I want to sit on a plane next to someone from a country where ebola is viral? No, and neither would anyone else.

To stop the spread of the disease and the accompanying panic, I have a fourth question:

Why isn’t there a flight ban on those from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone (and every other country where there is a major outbreak)?

Instead, we take temperatures even though the incubation period is as long as three weeks.

To top it off, today we learn 2nd Texas Worker with Ebola Took Flight With Elevated Temperature, and the Center for Disease Control OK’d the flight.

New shortcomings emerged Wednesday in the nation’s response to the Ebola virus after it was revealed that a second nurse was infected with Ebola at a hospital here and that she had traveled on a commercial flight the day before she showed symptoms of the disease.

The nurse, Amber Joy Vinson, 29, was on the medical team that cared for the Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan after he was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 28 and put in isolation. Vinson should not have traveled on a commercial flight, federal health officials said, when she boarded Frontier Airlines Flight 1143 on Monday, en route from Cleveland to Dallas-Fort Worth.

One official said Vinson had called federal health officials before boarding the plane to report having a slightly elevated temperature but was allowed to fly.

Second Texas Nurse with Ebola Transferred to Special Facility

The Guardian reports Second Texas Nurse with Ebola Transferred to Special Facility.

Concerns over US response intensify after reports say the nurse told the CDC that she had a fever but was still allowed to fly.The second nurse diagnosed with Ebola in Texas is to be transferred from Dallas to a special bio-containment unit in Atlanta, officials announced on Wednesday, as they acknowledged failings in the response to the arrival of the virus in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also said that the 29-year-old nurse, Amber Vinson, flew on a commercial flight from Cleveland, Ohio to Dallas with a low-grade temperature a day before she was diagnosed. While in Ohio, she also reportedly travelled from Cleveland to Akron.

Concerns about the US response to the crisis intensified on Wednesday night when it was reported that Vinson told the CDC that she had a slight fever before she boarded the flight but was not told to stay put.

Vinson is the second healthcare worker to have contracted Ebola at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas, which treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian who was the first patient in the US to be diagnosed with Ebola. Another nurse, 26-year-old Nina Pham, was diagnosed at the weekend. Both had cared for Duncan, who died in an isolation ward on 8 October.

The second infection called into question the Dallas hospital’s ability to protect staff treating Ebola patients, and raised concerns about the quality of the initial response to Duncan’s diagnosis by state and federal agencies.

Dr Tom Frieden, the CDC director, conceded on Wednesday that Vinson should not have been allowed to take the flights to Ohio. “We will, from this moment forward, ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement,” Frieden said.

According to Frieden, the two nurses who contracted Ebola in Dallas had “extensive” contact with Duncan in the days before he was diagnosed, when he was extremely ill, excreting large quantities of highly contagious body fluids.

Protocols? What Protocols?

“Were protocols breached? The nurses say there were no protocols,” said National Nurses United Co-President Deborah Burger in a call with reporters Wednesday.

Is the US attempting to contain the disease or not?

In typical US fashion, no one can come up with proper protocols until after panic sets in.

Texas governor Rick Perry cut short a trip to Europe to deal with the ebola crisis in Texas, and President Obama cancelled a campaign trip to deal with the outbreak.

Where’s the Common Sense?

In response to McCain Calls for Ground Troops in Syria and an Ebola Czar; Secret Friends a couple of people claimed I was overly downplaying the risk of ebola.

I plead not guilty. Before these latest incidents, I emailed there should be flight bans and procedures to stop the risk of spreading (and that was always my expectation).

What I did not see (but easily could have) was the totally inept response from this administration.

However, even Obama now realizes the situation is serious. He must, because he cancelled a campaign fundraiser. What can possibly be more serious than that?

So, rest assured, unless ebola quickly mutates, the odds of a massive outbreak in the US is extremely unlikely (provided of course common-sense protocols are finally adopted).

Will Common Sense Finally Prevail?

Well, not quite. I actually expect the underwhelming response so far will go overboard in the other direction by orders of magnitude.

Here’s an easy prediction: This will culminate with a claim from Obama that he saved us all from ebola.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock