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Dear President Obama, it's flu season

By Robert T. Smith
web posted November 3, 2014

Based on a CDC study, over 200,000 people are hospitalized for the flu every year.  That number represents those hospitalized only, not those who are afflicted by the flu and don't go to the hospital, or those who check in and out of the Emergency Rooms.  From the CDC's own website, we know that...

"People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some may have vomiting and diarrhea"

What about stomach virus that also becomes more prevalent in the fall and winter months?  Fever, vomiting, diarrhea...all are now familiar symptoms to Ebola. 

Now that we have allowed thousands to enter our country daily from areas where the Ebola outbreak has occurred, what CDC procedure can be put in place for the hospitals to screen the many hundreds of thousands of patients who will imminently begin showing up at emergency rooms every day all over the country with the shared symptoms of Ebola, flu, and stomach virus?  Thousands of individual decisions will need to be made, guessing wrong even once will have severe consequences.  Surely the President and his advisors would have thought of this.

A nurse flew commercial to Cleveland, went to a bridal shop...a doctor took a subway to go bowling, both with Ebola.  The economic impact of closing and cleaning all these locations, the time it will take to track and observe all the contacts these two people made all have an economic impact, not to mention the social psyche ripple effect. 

A nurse who treated Ebola patients has threatened to sue for being detained in New Jersey and now Maine pending a 21 day observation period.  An arguably selfish and incautious act after committing months to treating Ebola patients in Africa juxtaposed with 21 days to ensure protection of fellow citizens here in her own country. 

These are foolish decisions by health care professionals, who should know better. 

What of the open door policy for thousands who travel from these Ebola outbreak countries.  Clearly there is a certain amount of risk to a laissez faire approach to this deadly disease.  Other countries have put reasonable travel bans in place.  Our one time temperature reading at a few airport entry locations is ridiculous in the face of such a deadly disease, with such dramatic potential social consequences.

As the Ebola crisis continues and the flu season kicks in, will people stop flying commercial, traveling by subway, attending sporting events, or dining out at restaurants, taking in a movie...ad infinitum?  Will hospitals begin the huge investment of isolating hundreds or thousands of patients out of an abundance of caution not knowing if it is the flu or Ebola? 

It would seem that the potential for economic and social chaos to ensue would be unacceptably high, not to mention the potential that additional cases of Ebola will occur with our open borders situation.  Unlike the flu, more than aspirin, fluids and bed rest are required to resolve Ebola.   A significant investment in resources is required for every case, and every new case brings with it additional concern to the general public.    

By survey, almost three quarters of the citizen class would like some form of a travel ban put in place.  But the ruling elite have poo pooed that idea.  How disappointed the ruling class must be in us, our lack of sophistication putting our own wellbeing above our fellow citizens of the world in Africa.

Imagine the family next door has the stomach virus going around in their house, a fairly typical scenario in the winter months in much of the country.  Your daughter would like her neighbor friend to visit and stay for a sleep over.  Is it not a rational decision to decline that visit until the neighbor's situation improves, after all your daughters friend may not be showing symptoms just yet, but still have the stomach virus and possibly infect your family.  What would a reasonable adult do in such circumstances?  Send over chicken soup, go to the store for groceries or over the counter medicine to help...absolutely.  Take your daughter's friend temperature and invite her to overnight...no.

It is coming on flu season Mr. President, now what? ESR

Robert T. Smith is an environmental scientist who spends his days enjoying life and the pursuit of happiness with his family.  He confesses to cling to his liberty, guns and religion, with antipathy toward the arrogant ruling elites throughout the country.






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