The Instigator
Benjamin_Manus
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Bennett91
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

This House Would implement aggressive screening and quarantines to prevent disease transmission

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Bennett91
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/14/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 765 times Debate No: 66995
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (2)

 

Benjamin_Manus

Pro

NOTE: This is an official Connecticut Debate Association resolution.

This is a utilitarian debate. It will do the most good for the most people. Yes, the government will have to spend money and yes, people will have to wait in line. But it's really worth it because one, that it will continue to keep the United States Ebola-free and two, because we can help keep other countries Ebola-free as well with our screening techniques
Bennett91

Con

Because my opponent is advocating a strategy I will need to know a few details as to its implementation. For example, where would these screenings would be done? Airports? Border crossings? In which country is testing done? What kind of tests? How aggressive is this plan going to be?

I will be arguing that current screening practices are sufficient. And that the best method of solving the Ebola crisis would be to not focus on more screening, but to invest more resources into battling Ebola within the effected African countries. This is what would be best and most effective for all peoples. However for this round I will attack the feasibility of the resolution.

Logistics of the Operation:

The reason why I ask for these details is because the logistics of what Pro calls for will play a vital role in the effectiveness of this "aggressive" plan. If we are to set up screening facilities at all major airports and border crossings in the West and infected African countries a serious question arises. Do we even have enough trained medical personal and technology to staff these facilities? Sure western countries may have enough for themselves. But the African countries in question certainly do not. This is not just an issue of money; we would have to send even more aid in the form of workers to Africa than we already do. Do we have enough staff to run efficiently facilities in both Western countries AND Africa? Given the seriousness of Ebola it would require volunteers to serve, and those are in relatively short supply.

Screening is it Worth it? [1]

Now on to the idea of screening itself, is it effective and detecting and stopping the spread of Ebola? The answer in short is not really. During the incubation stage Ebola is undetectable; it does not cause fever or any conspicuous symptoms. A healthy looking person could be screened, board a plane and travel to another country and no one would know the person was carrying Ebola. I"m not saying that screening and testing should not be done, but if they are currently not so effective then I question how much an even greater investment would pay off. After all, this is a utilitarian debate, if the resources can be better spent elsewhere other than aggressive screening and quarantines then I win.

What makes screening even trickier is we must know from which flights and countries should be screened. The BBC reports "There are very few direct flights out of the three [West African] countries and therefore most travelers have to pick up a connecting flight," says Khan. "So in order to ensure a country picked up the passengers that originated from one of the West African countries, they would need to screen all international travelers." That sees the number of airports where screening would be required go up from 15 to 1,238 and the number of passengers that would need to be screened rises to nearly 363 million. As a result airports would have to scan 2,512 passengers for every one that has had potential exposure to the Ebola virus."

When referring back to the logistics of the proposed operation, is it possible to screen 363 million people in an orderly and timely manner? Is all the time and money worth it?

If you continue reading the article it goes on to mention a different outbreak, SARS. "They [Canadian officials] introduced thermal scanners, which are supposed to detect those with a raised temperature. Almost 500,000 went through those scanners of whom 95 were thought to have a raised temperature... but on investigation none of them had a fever. " Overall, of more than a million people screened, not one case of Sars was found. The cost of this exercise was 17m Canadian dollars ($15m)," says Mabey." 15 million dollars spent with no results. Those resources could have been spent elsewhere.

Furthermore there is a possibility an infected person seeing the greater scrutiny will find another way to travel, perhaps by illegally crossing a border into a neighboring country, thus rendering screening pointless.
All in all increased screening does not seem to produce substantial results, and at best alleviates fear of spread. However this is a utilitarian debate, we seek physical results, not comfort.

Impact on the Economy:

Pro states that increased measures may cost more time and waiting, but that it's worth it. I would argue such pointless waiting is indeed not worth it, and is overall hurtful. Today we live in a global economy, the Ebola crisis has already drastically damaged the economies of West Africa causing food shortages and even worse poverty than before [2]. These conditions encourage the spread of Ebola. By increasing the restriction of movement this further harms the country's economy.

Final Thoughts:

My opponents main point in his very brief Round One Statement was that increased screening would keep the US and other countries Ebola free. I would say that it's nonsense as my previous points address. But more importantly under the current status quo there have only been 20 cases of Ebola outside of Africa [2]. How much more Ebola free can a country get? Would expending the vast amount of resources Pro calls for make us more safe when we already are extremely well protected and prepared for Ebola in the West? I say no it would not.

[1] http://www.bbc.com...
[2] http://www.nytimes.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Benjamin_Manus

Pro

To clarify some things that might have been unclear, "aggressive screening" would be done at all points of entry (ex: Airports, harbors, land borders). This would be done in the United States. To answer the question what kind of tests, customs officials and medical examiners will take blood work, look at travel history, take temperature, and ask general questions about their whereabouts.

Yes, we do have enough trained medical personnel and technology to staff these facilities in the United States. The rest of the "Logistics of the Operation" is invalid because we are not debating third-world countries, only the United States. Also, If one's travel history shows that that person has been to a non-effected country, then examiners will be more lenient in their testing, however, if that person has been to let's say Sierra Leone, more careful measures will be taken.

Returning to the Utilitarianism, side government/affirmative says that this is worth it. We already have screening measures in place, meaning adding "teeth" to the status quo, so to speak, won't cost as much as it would by creating an entire new system. If we are to keep the United States Ebola-free, then we must prevent from other carriers of the disease from entering the country at all costs.
Bennett91

Con

Even if we are to reduce the scope of screening to just the US you still miss several important points. Furthermore you did not specify just the US.

First this is a utilitarian debate which argues what is the most good for the most people. By limiting the debate to only the US you are ignoring what is good for the rest of the world, especially that of the truly effected nations in Africa. If all human beings are equal you can not limit the scope of this global crisis to the US. If "good" is to be defined as eradicating Ebola and stopping its spread then keeping the debate to just the US ignores the international context in which this crisis is happening. If we do not solve the crisis at its source then there will always be a looming threat of Ebola in the US. Saying that we should spend more resources on screening than we already do takes away from the true goal of solving the crisis. You wish US policy to treat the symptoms not the disease.

But fine, if you want to keep this a US debate then lets look at the current status quo and ask if more precaution is needed. How many American cases of Ebola have been diagnosed in the US? Four [4]. And of those 3 were hospital staff infected by the visitor who was being treated in quarantine. Tell me, with such a small number of US born infections how would increased screening prevent a problem that does not exist?

If we were to increase inspection beyond what is done now I again refer to my point made in Round One, the second paragraph in "Is Screening Worth it?" Most flights to the US from West Africa are not direct. Unless you're willing to inspect 363 million people who have come in contact with African passengers your plan with not be addressing the problem in an aggressive manner.

You say you want increased screening at ports, however under current levels of precaution "Ebola has never been transmitted by international shipping."[3]. How would increased precaution solve a problem that does not exist?

Under current monitoring conditions there has been no outbreak, everything has been controlled. There is no need for extra scrutiny. Your plan does not add teeth to the current practices; it would over burden the current procedures. You would be putting too many teeth and the program would choke on its own ineptitude. You say we must prevent carriers from entering at all costs, this is not a utilitarian point. If the cost is too great, as I argue, then it can hurt more people than it helps.

[3] http://www.joc.com...
[4] http://www.cdc.gov...
Debate Round No. 2
Benjamin_Manus

Pro

Everything has it's time. Including a major Ebola outbreak in the United States. With this resolution in place, we can drastically reduce the possibility of millions getting infected and possibly more dying. The cost of "beefing-up" screening is not too great to keep out Ebola. What's worth more? Hundreds of lives or a little extra money? It wouldn't burden the current procedures because we already have lines at points of entry that could extend for hours. What's 20 more minutes going to be?

I also apologize for not defining the terms in my first argument.
Bennett91

Con

You offer an argument based on possibility, not probability. As of now it is extremely unlikely that there will be an out break. Current precautions have shown to be effective. There is no evidence to suggest spending that extra money will save lives. There have been only 20 or so cases of Ebola outside of Africa under the status quo. It's hard to say how much extra money would be needed to make the screening system, which already has dubious results, be 100% effective at catching those infected. Your plan implies that 100% safety is possible, which could give a false sense of security. That could be even more deadly than Ebola under the current conditions. There is at the very least a question of diminishing returns.

I will end this round with a quote from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) that directly talks to the issue at hand. In the section "Why don't we restrict travel to the US?" they respond "CDC does not recommend stopping travel from countries with Ebola outbreaks. Travel restrictions balance the public health risk to others, the rights of individuals, and the impact of the recommendations on the welfare of the countries with Ebola outbreaks. They are based on the least restrictive means necessary to protect the public's health. The key to controlling this epidemic is to focus on stopping the spread at its source, and international humanitarian assistance must continue." [5]

Thank you for the debate. Vote Con.

[5] http://www.cdc.gov...
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Benjamin_Manus 2 years ago
Benjamin_Manus
This may be DDO, but in real debate, you have to learn to conform to the type of debate the competition is using. It's good practice and if you ever want to debate in real life, you'll have to know how to do it
Posted by Bennett91 2 years ago
Bennett91
This is DDO, it's best to learn our rules instead of expecting us to conform to yours. You should look at other debates to get a better sense of the structure.
Posted by Benjamin_Manus 2 years ago
Benjamin_Manus
A lot of the problem is that the two debaters are debating in two different styles and the voters don't know which is which. I was debating Parliamentary, where sources and statistics are not as important as ethics and he was debating Policy, where statistics is everything
Posted by donald.keller 2 years ago
donald.keller
Arguments: Pro stuck largely with idealistic opinions, and didn't bring up any solid and measurable numbers. A hundred lives or a little money? How much money, exactly? I have to know this before I can answer that? It's a loaded question in that it assumes only a little money would be spent first, and that it leaves out details needed to correctly answer the question without coming off as bad.

Con brought up very strong cases (the cost, the logistics, the long-term effect) that were mostly answered with incomplete comments that gave little to no substance or comparable numbers.

Sources: Con had none, Pro had some.

Advice: Pro should structure his cases better, and add more to them. A good case needs substance, and detail. Also, Pro should use sources to back his claims. I have no reason to believe a claim at face-value, and to be straightforward here, it'd be wrong to hold an unsourced claim at the same face-value as a claim with expert backing..

Pro should also utilize space to implement more than one argument. You want them to be strong, but you also want to back them up with more arguments. Each argument is a body part to an overall body... The less limbs, the last efficient that body is. Each argument strengthen each other, and even if the other argument gave out, the body can still stand.

Pro and Con can PM me for clarification or advice.
Posted by Benjamin_Manus 2 years ago
Benjamin_Manus
Not necessarily. I've debated against a Utilitarianism argument and won
Posted by Danielle 2 years ago
Danielle
Utalitarianism as a default value pretty much makes it impossible for Con to win.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by FaustianJustice 2 years ago
FaustianJustice
Benjamin_ManusBennett91Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Con simply brought more to the table in terms of history, potential, logistics... Aggresive scans and screening has a great argument, I don't think Pro was willing to demonstrate a scope.
Vote Placed by donald.keller 2 years ago
donald.keller
Benjamin_ManusBennett91Tied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.