By Sal Bommarito
In this day and age, it’s difficult to obtain a consensus on any important controversy- even how to protect Americans from the scourge known as Ebola. Yet, I’m confused why the majority of Americans would hesitate to implement a conservative strategy to deal with those who risk their lives fighting the disease in Africa. I’m dumbfounded that any doctor or nurse would object to extra precautions. I’m totally stunned that our leaders would hesitate to ensure our safety, even at the risk of being politically incorrect.
Here are a number of facts that all Americans can appreciate:
• Health care personnel who go to Africa to fight Ebola are heroes of the highest order. They are brave first responders who risk their lives to save the world from a deadly disease.
• Health care personnel returning from a tour of duty should be treated with the greatest respect and least amount of inconvenience.
• Ebola is a huge potential threat to humanity that has the potential to kill millions if it is not dealt with carefully.
• The characteristics of Ebola are generally understood, but the protocols employed to this point have not been perfect. Some health care people infected with the disease have returned to the U.S. and mingled with the general population.
• Health care officials are confident in their assessment of the disease’s contagion. The science tells us that Ebola does not spread easily.
• A number of our leaders are taking a very conservative approach about the return of those assisting Ebola patients and have encountered backlash. Because of this, some are rethinking their positions.
The U.S. should be conservative regarding Ebola. A wrong decision could have the gravest consequences. We should treat courageous health care personnel with deference and comfort when they return home. Nevertheless, if some feelings are hurt by sensible precautions, so be it.
At this point, health care experts are confident that Ebola has a 21-day incubation period, and it is not contagious until the time a fever develops. Then the patient becomes more and more of a threat to others. The corpse of a person who passes from Ebola is a bio hazard. In fact, the way that some Africans inter those who die from Ebola results in many additional cases.
One logical solution is to require every single person who treats Ebola patients in Africa to be subjected to a 21-days of isolation in the U.S., no exceptions. If these people are not treated with the greatest care and comfort, such a policy may discourage others from volunteering to go to Africa to fight the disease. This would be a tragic outcome of any protocols.
So, I recommend that the isolation facilities used to isolate Ebola health care personnel be extraordinarily comfortable, a spa if you will. All volunteers should know in advance that their tour of duty in Ebola-infested areas necessitates an additional three weeks in isolation. But, the experience will be in a high service and pleasant environment that Americans would be happy to subsidize.