Why must Ebola 'protocols' be the same everywhere?

I don't get it; the calls to "standardize" the procedures for stop the spread of Ebola are heating up. But why?

Political opportunism, I suspect, on the part of some. The confusing policies of the Obama administration (yes, they are confusing) present his critics another reason to excoriate President Barack Obama for his lack of leadership (which also is a legitimate criticism). The call for standardization is now being heard even of Fox News, where you'd think that the reaction would be just the opposite.

Each state has its own public health laws to respond to the particular needs of its citizens and residents. And that's the way it should be, now

U.S. Coast Guard Health Technician Nathan Wallenmeyer, left, and Customs Border Protection Supervisor Sam Ko conduct prescreening measures on a passenger arriving from Sierra Leone at O’Hare International Airport's Terminal 5 in Chicago Oct. 16, 2014. Two people who became ill during their flights from Liberia to Chicago’s O’Hare airport are being evaluated for possible Ebola. Reuters

U.S. Coast Guard Health Technician Nathan Wallenmeyer, left, and Customs Border Protection Supervisor Sam Ko conduct prescreening measures on a passenger arriving from Sierra Leone at O’Hare International Airport's Terminal 5 in Chicago Oct. 16, 2014. Two people who became ill during their flights from Liberia to Chicago’s O’Hare airport are being evaluated for possible Ebola. Reuters

and in the future. If a state's public health authorities seek to err on the side of safety, so be it. And that's what's happening. It's called federalism. So, good for Illinois Pat Quinn to try to craft Illinois' own response to the Ebola threat.

Same goes for Obama's Ebola "czar," Ron Klain, who's getting criticized for his seeming absence from the scene. Who should care? Who needs him? Why another layer of bureaucracy headed by someone who hits the ground creeping? He's probably out of the public eye because he's taking up everyone's time trying to get up to speed.

For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit: http://www.madness1812.com

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  • Thanks for a well-reasoned post, Dennis. I notice that you use the word procedures most of the time. When, or more importantly why, did "procedures" get replaced by "protocols?" I always thought protocol was who got to sit next to whom, not how a disease was controlled (we hope).

  • I'm with the Maine nurse, who is insisting that the decision to take away freedom through a quarantine should be based on science, not politics. I am surprised that conservatives, who profess to be against government interference with liberty, now want federal, state and local governments to do so to serve the politics of fear. Even school boards are getting into the act!

  • In reply to jnorto:

    And I'm surprised that liberals, who profess to see government as the solution for everything, now want government to lay low. There's disagreement among conservatives, too, about how this problem should be handled, as I'm sure there are among liberals. And please, don't toss the "settled science" argument at me. This is a democracy, and we have the right to challenge the "experts," especially when they have been wrong. (Ebola did arrive on these shores, despite the experts'--and Obama's and the political left's--assurances that it would not). As I've said before, I'm not leading the pack of people who want to the most intrusive government action on this problem, but when it comes to politicizing this problem for their own political interests, the White House and liberals are right up there with the worst offenders on the right.

  • Your argument that this isn't "settled science," therefor everyone's opinion is a good as that of an "expert," doesn't hold water. The Fourth Amendment prohibits governments from "unreasonable" seizures of persons. Public health seizures (quarantine) require a showing by the government of reasonableness just as arrest warrants do. Fear and politics are not enough, even in a democracy. This should be clear to both liberals and conservatives. The Maine nurse is insisting that the government carry its burden of showing the need to seize her. Only science-based opinion will meet this burden.

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