30 Oct 2014 08:14 AM EST
- by Jorge Vargas, Editor; Image: Dr. Craig Spencer fell ill last week with Ebola in New York (Image source: LinkedIn)
Ebola is not a joke. Mr. Obama, however, is certainly taking it as one by letting his midterm election fears get in the way of enacting a common sense policy of mandatory quarantines for travelers coming out of the West African countries affected by Ebola.
Governor Chrystie has gone the furthest in his defense of mandatory quarantines but he's not alone, joined by California, Illinois, and New York. The quarantine rules were put into effect after a Doctors Without Borders volunteer Dr. Craig Spencer came back from West Africa, went on an apparent stay-cation in New York City and suddenly found himself sick with ebola some 48 hours later.
Reports are now emerging that Spencer initially lied to authorities about his movements. According to the New York Post, Spencer originally told authorities that he was at home the entire time and only admitted to his bowling outing and his subway rides when police found receipts in his apartments and other evidence in his credit card statements that he'd lied.
Whether or not the report is accurate, it goes to one central point: People lie.
And because people lie, and because the federal government doesn't want to rock the boat a week before the midterm elections, the states have stepped up to take their lying out of the equation.
Yes, these volunteers are doing great things in those countries. Yes, it's a shame that they have to be quarantined when they return.
But it's also true that they could bring the virus back with them inadvertently and that they could go bowling hours after they started to feel "tired," stirring up a mass panic and doing much more harm than good. That's what the quarantines are really about. They're not about science. The critics are right on the point that they're really about politics. They should be about politics. Keeping people calm is a very political job, and someone has to do it.
24/7 news media is not stepping up to the plate. Mr. Obama is not stepping up to the plate. The CDC is not doing it.
But a few governors are.
Hats off to them.
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