"Why not just shut down the flights and secure the borders?" Elisabeth Hasselbeck asks about Our Ebola Nightmare on Fox & Friends today. Unfortunately, she asks not a fellow anchor but Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institiute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at the NIH.
Fauci: From a public health standpoint, that really doesn't make any sense...
The best way to protect America is to suppress the epidemic in West Africa. And if we completely isolate them, don't let anything in don't let anything out, we know from experience with public health, that marginalizes them, and you could have civil unrest, the governments could fall. And then you could wind up having the spread the virus to other countries in west Africa, which would only compound the problem.
Hasselbeck: What about something perhaps less extreme…
Fauci: Like what?
Hasselbeck: …Not a complete closing. I don't think anyone who has a heart wants some—a group of people to just suffer alone in the world, and there are those that want to go and help, and my heart is with them. But what about a partial ban? A closing of our borders of travel?
Fauci: A closing of our borders? I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean by that…
I'm sorry, but that doesn't work. If you look at the newspapers, if you look at the TV coverage, you think that West Africa is this nation of the people that you see on the front page of the New York Times sick in Ebola treatment units.
It's a much much larger—this is a nation of millions and millions of people—multiple nations, not one. You have Americans there, you have businesspeople there, people of dual citizenship, who have to go back and forth. It's completely impractical, and from a public health standpoint, not helpful, to [shut down borders]. And I think every public health official feels that way.
Yeah, but what do public health officials know about keeping us safe from infectious disease?