Tags: Rand Paul | Ebola | screenings | risks | AIDS

Rand Paul: US Not Taking Ebola Risks Serious Enough

By    |   Friday, 10 Oct 2014 09:02 PM

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a persistent critic of the Obama administration's response to the Ebola crisis, thinks federals health officials are still low-balling the risks despite airport screenings and contact precautions.

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, Paul said the administration has not been very transparent about the threat.

"I understand people in government not wanting to create panic, and I don't want to create panic, either. But I think it's also a mistake on the other side of the coin to underplay the risk of this,” Paul said.

Story continues below the video.



President Barack Obama and officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health have maintained the nation's health care network is well-equipped to prevent an outbreak.

And the president has declared the likelihood of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is small, while the CDC has maintained that the virus can only be transmitted through bodily fluids.

"The administration has been saying over and over again, 'Oh, this is only transmitted through direct bodily fluids,'" said Paul, an ophthalmologist. "They make you think that this is like AIDS and not very contagious.

"And then in the next statement, they very quietly say, 'Oh, but if you're within 3 feet of someone, we call that direct contact.' Well I don't think Americans think standing within 3 feet of someone is direct contact."

"They also say it can't be aerosolized," Paul added. "But the question people should be asking is, 'Can it be transmitted by someone coughing on you?' I think the virus can be suspended in cough particles. They call that direct contact. But I think most Americans would think that's being aerosolized."

Paul believes the United States should temporarily suspend flights from Ebola-stricken countries, and doubled-down on that call Friday.

"I mean, if you want to visit your son or daughter and you're coming from Liberia, couldn't you wait a couple of months?" he asked. "I don't think that that is something so of such an immediate necessity that the chance for a worldwide contagion, I think it's not unreasonable."

CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden has warned the banning of flights could actually worsen the crisis and put the U.S. at greater risk.

Instead, the Obama administration has added extra Ebola screenings at five U.S. airports that are highly trafficked by West African travelers.

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Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a persistent critic of the Obama administration's response to the Ebola crisis, thinks federals health officials are still low-balling the risks - despite airport screenings and contact precautions.
Rand Paul, Ebola, screenings, risks, AIDS
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2014-02-10
Friday, 10 Oct 2014 09:02 PM
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