Travel bans are poor policy response against Ebola
Debate Rounds (3)
In addition, travel bans are unnecessary and disproportionate as the risk of an infected person boarding a flight to the U.S. is extremely low and that risk can be further reduced by screening. If travel bans became standard operating procedure for infections, the U.S. would face the risk of travel bans around the world for disorders like enterovirus d68. This would cause devastating economic disruption, far beyond that of fighting Ebola itself.
Forgive me for taking so long to post an argument, I could not find the time to get back online.
I would like to begin by thanking you for sharing such an educated opinion, and I hope mine will amount to the same standard.
My response to your argument
Ebola is a disease that is not airbourne, it is very hard to catch, and it already has vaccines being developed. However, none of these factors alone do anything for us. Creating ONLY a travel ban will result in a very large amount of Africa dying out. Creating ONLY a vaccine won't stop the virus from spreading through people who already have it. The CDC (and other organizations) have to make a number of methods to collaborate and respond aggressively to Ebola.
A travel ban is a start.
Ebola is yet to have a cure. While it is still treatable at early stages, it will be easier to contain if it remains in Africa. I also believe you are misunderstanding what a travel ban is. A travel ban would be any resident of Liberia (or other infected countries) to depart in destination of America (and Vice Versa). However, the CDC is capable of using equipment to quarantine cases.
While I agree that it is easier to manage a disease like Ebola if it remains geographically contained, it is not necessarily the case that a travel ban will accomplish that purpose. As you point out, a travel ban by itself does nothing but worsen the situation within endemic countries by shutting off the aid (in personnel) that is needed to treat the disease. As the disease spreads within those countries, more and more people will be tempted to flee, and tempted to try to conceal where they came from. Currently about 150 people per day travel to the U.S. from these infected countries. (http://www.usatoday.com...) These people can all be screened. The odds of any one person having the disease is very low. With about 5,000 current cases (4,000 additional cases have died) out of a population of 16 million in the affected countries, the risk is about 3 in 10,000. And that risk is much less when you consider that people wealthy enough to travel are much less likely to be infected. Also, a symptomatic person who is obviously sick would be in no condition to travel. So we are only talking about the very low risk that an infected person in the asymptomatic stage of the disease will get on a plane and lie about his/her contacts.
Much better to maintain current travel and work together with the affected countries to ensure that infected travelers are banned, rather than banning travel wholesale.
Like I said in my first argument, a travel ban isn't going to solve Ebola, but it certainly won't hurt. What I got from your argument was that you think we should do more than that. No one disagrees with you. However, keeping it contained will give people more time to come up with a permanent solution.
"Much better to maintain current travel"
You're basically giving Ebola a flown escort to other countries. While Ebola is currently hard to catch, it won't be if it is in any and all countries.
Also, a travel ban wouldn't be cutting travel "wholesale", just on the hot spots of Ebola.
There is not a low risk of an infected person getting on a plane if a travel ban is not soon put in place. It will spread much quicker, and that would make the chance of an infected getting on a plane HIGHER.
All in all, a travel ban would slow the Ebola spread down and give scientists a chance to find a working cure to make the travelling world safe again. There really isn't anything but positive outcomes by implementing a travel ban. Thank you.
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