As of now, two Americans have contracted Ebola in the United States, both of them nurses who had direct contact with Thomas Duncan, who was infected in Liberia and died in Dallas. Why was Duncan in the United States to begin with? Because he lied to airport screeners in Liberia, falsely telling them that he had no prior contact with Ebola victims.
Duncan arrived on our shores on September 20th, nearly four weeks ago. It is understandable that West African nationals were allowed entry into the United States back then. But why on earth is there not a travel ban in place by now?
One astounding answer to that question comes from Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who was in the No Spin Zone Wednesday evening. Murphy revealed that he personally spoke about a ban with Dr. Tom Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Here is Congressman Murphy's account of that conversation: "He explained to me that the concern was that these are fledgling democracies, and if we put a travel ban that might affect their economies and harm them."
Wow! If that is an accurate representation of what Dr. Frieden said, it ranks among the most irresponsible statements ever uttered by a public health official. He is focused on "nation building" in West Africa, risking the lives of Americans in the process. Frieden's job is to protect our health, not to worry about the economic health of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
It's worth remembering that Dr. Frieden's last job was as Mayor Michael Bloomberg's health czar in New York City. He engineered the city's ban on large sodas, which was eventually overturned by the courts. And, according to the New York Times, Frieden had the proud distinction of being "the only city agency head who keeps a bowl of condoms in the reception area of his office."
You're getting the point here. Dr. Thomas Frieden is the very personification of the politically correct nanny state when it comes to soda, free condoms, cigarettes, and trans fats, but he risks American lives out of concern for "fledgling" West African nations. Perhaps he would be more diligent if Liberians were drinking Big Gulp sodas as they were boarding in Monrovia.
The not-so-good doctor is not the only bureaucrat spewing nonsense these days. Asked about a travel ban, White House spokesman Josh Earnest worried that it would "prevent the expeditious flow of personnel and equipment into the region." Wouldn't charter flights be equally "expeditious," Josh?
Let's be clear. There is absolutely, positively no reason that citizens from Ebola-stricken nations should be allowed into the United States right now. And there is no reason for Dr. Thomas Frieden to keep his job. He may have been ideally suited to fight a war on those dastardly big sodas, but he is intellectually unarmed when we are at war with a deadly disease. President Obama is urging hospitals across the country to protect Americans by learning and following the proper protocols. Well, Mr. President, how about protecting us from Dr. Frieden?
Beyond that, if Frieden actually said what Congressman Murphy claims, he should be investigated for dereliction of duty. We don't need a nanny or a foreign-nation-builder right now, we need a commanding general.
Doctors frequently quote the Latin phrase, "primum non nocere," which translates into "above all, do no harm." Dr. Frieden himself recited the "do no harm" dictum when he spoke with Megyn Kelly the other night. But he has already done great harm. And before he can do even more damage, he has to go!