The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday shutting down travel from West Africa to stem the spread of Ebola will put more Americans at risk.
The director of the federal agency, Tom Frieden, said restricting air travel from Liberia and other countries where the disease is rapidly spreading will be ineffective and prevent officialdom from doing its job.
“The only way we’re going to get to zero risk is by stopping the outbreak at the source” in West Africa, Frieden told MSNBC.
He added that the “right of return” is more important than preventing the disease from spreading.
“Even if we tried to close the border, it wouldn’t work,” he said. “People have a right to return. People transiting through could come in. And it would backfire, because by isolating these countries, it’ll make it harder to help them, it will spread more there and we’d be more likely to be exposed here.”
In addition to the “right of return,” Human Rights Watch argues governments should “limit use of quarantines” and “address the gender dimensions of the outbreak.”
On Friday journalist and author Jerome Corsi cited a study published in a scientific journal one month ago predicting the virus would reach the United States by the end of September.
The scientists said that in order to effectively combat the deadly virus air travel in West Africa would need to be shut down and a quarantined imposed. They said only “interventions on the ground” will prevent Ebola from spreading internationally.
“The current analysis shows that if the West African outbreak is not contained, the probability of international spread is going to increase consistently, especially if other countries are affected and not able to contain the epidemic.”
The scientists agreed with the CDC and the United Nations World Health Organization that imposing a quarantine “may hamper the deployment of personnel and support in the region, ultimately creating a counter-productive effect in the containment effort.”