October 22, 2014

Wondering, on Wednesday (v8)

Nancy Snyderman, the NBC News doctor who didn't pay attention to her voluntary Ebola quarantine, is now officially free to pick up soup in Princeton, NJ. And Ashoka Mukpo, the freelance cameraman who Snyderman associated with in Liberia, and who was diagnosed with the disease, is now Ebola-free and has been released from the hospital.

The two nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who succumbed to the disease, are doing better since contracting Ebola, according to reports.

Syracuse University rescinded an invitation to an award-winning photojournalist, on the 21st day of his symptom-free return to the US from covering the Ebola epidemic; they'll have him back later, if he's willing.

Idiots who yell "I have Ebola" on buses, planes, trains and automobiles, are not making any more appearances.

That leaves politicians and their associates in the media as the last remaining Ebola constituency we continue to hear from; they make (or grab) the headlines, and monger fear with their calls for border closings and flight bans and the like.

I'd love to know what their thoughts are on the statements below, which were included in a letter submitted by Dr. Thomas Welch, Medical Director of Syracuse's Golisano Children's Hospital.  The full letter is a worth a look; these excerpts will give you a sense of  that.
Preening politicians, ever ready for cameras, harass one of the world's most expert public health professionals in a theatrical performance billed as a Congressional hearing.
Children, including some in Syracuse, die in the US every year from vaccine-preventable diseases. Where are the Congressional hearings demanding to know why parents can "opt out" of immunizations and send their children to school, putting everyone elses's children at risk of fatal disease?
Thousands of Americans die of influenza, a disease which can be prevented by immunization and spread through the air.  Where are the calls for restrictions on air travel by unimmunized travelers or those with coughs?  
The economies of these impoverished regions are drawing to a standstill. The devastation of the disease will be followed by famine, and likely, political and social collapse. Such conditions breed terrorism and even worse political instability. This is the real threat of Ebola, not an American returning from vacation on a plane with a Liberian. This is the face of Ebola, not a stranded luxury cruise liner outside Belize. 
Would our politicians recognize themselves in these comments?  For example, I'm thinking specifically of the ones who wrote the Republican platform for the state of Texas, ground zero for Ebola in America, which addresses (in the worst possible way) the immunization issue Dr. Welch discusses in his letter:
All adult citizens should have the legal right to conscientiously choose which vaccines are administered to themselves, or their minor children, without penalty for refusing a vaccine. We oppose any effort by any authority to mandate such vaccines or any medical database that would contain personal records of citizens without their consent. 
Would our media companies recognize themselves?  Perhaps the major news organizations might see a chance to step back from the panic (Shep Smith being a notable exception)?

I'm wondering, on Wednesday.