Ebola panic is spreading and five American airports are responding with temperature checks for people arriving from three of the heaviest hit African countries — Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. But ... the only good it's really going to do is calming people the fuck down.
According to the New York Times, this action at New York’s JFK, Washington Dulles, Newark Liberty, Chicago’s O’Hare International and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International airports is the first to increase security after Eric Duncan, the first man with Ebola in the U.S., arrived in Dallas in September. Duncan died yesterday.
Public health officials think the temperature checks are a waste of the little time, manpower and money they’ve got, but quelling Ebola fear is now political. Republicans are mad at President Obama for not freaking out enough and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, along with others, want travel from West African to be restricted until the outbreak is contained. The White House administration rejected that idea.
Health officials say that Duncan’s Ebola most likely wouldn’t have been found with a temperature check anyway so, what are we doing?
American health officials believe Mr. Duncan did not have a fever when he arrived in the United States, a view seconded by his family. “There’s a sense that this is a be-all-and-end-all and that this will put up an iron curtain, but it won’t,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. “At the very most, all we are buying here is some reduction of anxiety.” He added, “That’s worth something because, at the moment, we have a much larger outbreak of anxiety than we have of Ebola.”
Expect temperature checks as early as this weekend at the aforementioned airports. If you’re flying in to or out of New York’s LaGuardia airport, watch out— some of their cleaning staff decided Wednesday night was the perfect moment to go on strike.
Image via AP