President Obama lied to sell Obamacare, and lately he’s using double talk to sell Ebolacare, his risky response to the virus sweeping West Africa.
Sadly, he’s turning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, once a trusted agency, into a PR arm of the White House lie machine. On Oct. 23, the CDC website posted an explanation of the ways it might be possible to catch Ebola, in addition to direct contact with an infected person.
The website listed being sneezed or coughed on by an infected person or touching an object contaminated with the virus. The information is straight of out of scientific journals. But it didn’t jive with Obama’s repeated claim that “you cannot get it from just riding on a plane or bus.” So the CDC took it down a few days later and refused to say why.
Expect such shenanigans to backfire with voters. Likely voters rate healthcare second only to the economy in importance to them, according to an Associated Press poll on Oct. 21. They also rate the government’s handling of Ebola as more important than immigration and twice as important as same-sex marriage.
AP polling also shows that only a meager 35 percent of likely voters feel confident they’re getting a straight story on Ebola. No wonder. The public know that in Obama’s administration, lying has gone viral. That’s the real epidemic threatening the nation.
As for Ebola, the risk of getting it in the U.S. at this time is extremely low, unless you work in a hospital treating an Ebola patient. Extremely low but not impossible. Here is what we know. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, sending droplets several feet, and they land in your eye, nose, or mouth, or possibly an opening in your skin, you could get Ebola. That’s the information the CDC posted.
You might also get it sharing finger food from a common plate with someone infected, according to research in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. What about touching a subway pole or bowling ball? Unlike Staph and other bacteria, which can last weeks on dry surfaces, viruses generally last only a few hours, at most a day or two. There is no definite research showing that people have caught Ebola that way.
A 2007 study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases shows Ebola survives much longer if it is in blood, for example, on a bloody bandage, tissue or tampon. The CDC included this information in its posting too, only seven years after it was originally published. Then there’s the risk of using a toilet right after an Ebola-infected person has used it and flushed.
Flushing sends droplets of water from the toilet bowl up into the air. Some common hospital infections are spread that way.
Investigators from the University of Illinois School of Public Health see the possibility of Ebola spreading that way too: “Regarding diarrhea . . . flushing emits a pathogen laden aerosol that disperses into the air.” Think airport bathroom.
The fact is, scientists don’t know all the ways Ebola can spread. The roughly 20 previous known outbreaks occurred in rural African villages, so research is scant. When the president says it can only be spread through direct contact, and CDC head Tom Frieden parrots that, you may not be getting the whole story.
In an Oct. 29 speech to the nation, Obama adopted a schoolmarm attitude, chastising those who disagree with him about quarantining healthcare workers for “losing their heads” and being driven by fear, not science. That’s untrue.
What we don’t know about Ebola would humble any scientist, but not the Obama administration. The exception is the Defense Department, which solicited research proposals on Oct. 24 to get more information on how Ebola spreads.
Last week the Associated Press hired several scientists to come up with estimates on how many cases of Ebola we’re likely to see in the U.S. The answers varied so widely, it’s clear no one knows. AP also surveyed hospitals across the U.S. and found almost none ready to handle Ebola. This is falling on deaf ears at the White House. But election results may deliver a dose of the humility that is needed.
Betsy McCaughey is a patient advocate, constitutional scholar, syndicated columnist, regular contributor on Fox News and CNBC, and former lieutenant governor of New York. In 1993 she read the 1,362-page Clinton health bill, warned the nation what it said, and made history. McCaughey earned her Ph.D. in constitutional history from Columbia University. She is author of "Beating Obamacare 2014" and "Government by Choice: Inventing the United States Constitution." For more of Betsy's reports, Go Here Now.
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