Rep: CDC worried travel ban over Ebola would hurt African economies

A Republican lawmaker claims the real reason the Obama administration is opposing a travel ban for Ebola-stricken African countries is that U.S. officials are concerned about hurting their economies -- a dollars-and-cents reason, the lawmaker says, doesn't make much sense. 

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., whose House subcommittee is holding a high-profile hearing Thursday on the Ebola virus, told Fox News that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Tom Frieden is the one who gave him that explanation. 

"He explained to me that what the concern was that these are fledgling democracies and if we put a travel ban that that may affect their economy and harm them," Murphy said. 

But Murphy said the United States "should be his concern." 

The explanation to Murphy would seem to conflict with what Frieden and other top health officials have said publicly about the prospect of a travel ban, which they oppose. 

They frequently say that halting flights would hurt the flow of medical supplies and personnel in the region -- and in turn put West Africa more at risk. 

"Do no harm," Frieden told Fox News on Tuesday, when pressed on the calls for a travel ban. "If we do things that are going to make it harder to stop the epidemic there, it's going to spread." 

When asked whether the government could simply rely on charter flights to send medical supplies, Frieden claimed "charter flights don't do the same thing commercial airliners do." 

Murphy, though, claims that supply flights could still go in and out even if a travel ban for other flights were imposed. 

As for the economic argument, he said: "We can provide a lot of support to these nations. And the United States is doing it both to government and nongovernment organizations.  ... But I just don't understand the concept of if we stop flights in travel that would be a problem." 

Murphy's House subcommittee plans to host Frieden and other top officials on Wednesday. 

Among them, Dr. Daniel Varga, the chief clinical officer and senior vice president for Texas Health Resources, said in prepared testimony he is "deeply sorry" that "mistakes" were made at the facility, and will vow to determine how the errors occurred. 

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci also is set to testify. 

According to prepared testimony, Varga will apologize to the subcommittee for how the hospital handled the treatment of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who became the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. He died Oct. 8. 

"Unfortunately, in our initial treatment of Mr. Duncan, despite our best intentions and a highly skilled medical team, we made mistakes," the prepared testimony reads. "We did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. We are deeply sorry." 

Varga will say the team of medical professionals was "devastated" when Duncan succumbed to the disease, adding it is "hard to put into words" the sorrow the team felt. 

Varga also plans to mention the two nurses, both of whom contracted the deadly virus after caring for Duncan. He will say the team is "hopeful" about the progress of Nina Pham, the first nurse diagnosed and also will mention the second patient. 

"A lot is being said about what may or may not have occurred to cause Ms. Pham to contract Ebola," he will say. "She is known as an extremely skilled nurse, and she was using full protective measures under the CDC protocols, so we don't yet know precisely how or when she was infected. But it's clear there was an exposure somewhere, sometime. We are poring over records and observations, and doing all we can to find the answers." 

Varga will tell lawmakers the hospital group has made changes since its first encounter with Ebola, saying that the hospital was prepared to treat Ebola but fell short on diagnosing it. 

"As a result, following Mr. Duncan's initial admission, we have changed our screening process in the (emergency department) to capture the patient's travel history at the first point of contact with (emergency department) staff," he will say. 

Varga will also say the hospital system is also conducting further training sessions with its staff and communicating and collaborating with federal, state and local agencies
Fauci will also testify before lawmakers on the federal government's response to the crisis. According to prepared testimony, Fauci will say that although his agency is an "active participant" in attempting to stop the outbreak, it is still in the "early stages" of determining how best to treat and prevent Ebola. 

"As we continue to expedite research while enforcing high safety and efficacy standards, the implementation of the public health measures already known to contain prior Ebola virus outbreaks and the implementation of treatment strategies such as fluid and electrolyte replacement are essential to preventing additional infections, treating those already infected, protecting health care providers, and ultimately bringing this epidemic to an end," he will say.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/16/top-texas-hospital-offic...

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With no direct flights between W. Africa and the US, there clearly is no serious business travel.  I have traveled I think 2 million air miles for a company.  Countries that have real business and economy - like the US, UK, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, S. Korea, Mexico and more have serious air connections.  Where there are no serious air connections, there is no serious business.

At the risk of sounding mean, I think African Economy is an oxymoron.  Carved giraffes are just not selling that hot anywhere.  Baboon selfies, also, not so much.  And Phishing, Sea Piracy, and 100 piece drum bands just are not in demand.

In fact, this whole idea is what made the claim of Joe Wilson, husband of Valerie Plame so stupid.  Wilson said that Iraq did not go to Niger to purchase yellowcake uranium.  Odd, that is about all they have there, except for the wooden giraffe carvings.  Also if Wilson had any logic (but alas he was a liberal) he would ask ... "Wait!  Iran and Iraq hate each other.  If Iran is going nuclear, then Iraq would have to do that also."  That would have have won Joe the car if he used that logic on Jeopardy.  But instead, he goes down in my book as ... who? who?  Joe Wilson turns people into owls.

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