History can be an amazing teacher if you pay attention. The Spanish flu killed over half a million Americans in 1918, Polio killed thousands, Asian flu killed over fifty thousand, and of course, there was AIDs (and that epidemic wasn’t even airborne). With Ebola, America doesn’t need to reinvent anything when it comes to basic protocols of containment.
Why the President and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) did not place a freeze on incoming flights originating from West Africa is troubling, but points to the disturbing trend in big government to look busy, rather then actually accomplishing anything of significance.
Then we have the latest case in New York city, and this is the most troubling of cities for Ebola to hit. Why? Because over eight million people live in New York City, and in extremely close quarters. Ebola can spread with close contact and within a six-foot radius when symptoms are present, and it may get worse if it mutates and goes airborne beyond six feet.
(Photo: NYC Subway system courtesy of 212 Access)
Here are six Ebola policy changes we need now (#6 is mine)
I spoke with three experienced doctors (one specialized in infectious disease) and one Special Operations medic. Guess what happened? I got the best advice from a Navy SEAL friend of mine who trained as an Army 18 Delta Medic and later went on to the long course (if you’re military you know what that means).
1. Make finding a vaccine a top priority, not an after-the-fact
2. Plan for airborne mutations
3. “Give Doctors without Borders” Borders!
4. Equip and train ALL national and military hospitals, not just a few
5. Penalize those who are irresponsible with the virus (e.g. don’t sleep with your girlfriend if you’ve just returned from caring for Ebola patients in Africa)
6. Place an immediate ban on all flights originating from West Africa. Eventually, you lift the ban once containment measures are in place, and later just put people in quarantine as they return.
In a business school I attended outside of the Navy, we used to practice reading the world the same way professional economists do. It was one of my favorite exercises, one that I’ve carried into my own business and writing to this day. We would take in as much information as we could practically process in the media and with personal sources, and make a prediction based on the facts and personal experience. (Note: Always pay attention to the author or person and their background and experience.)
It’s similar to what I learned in the SEAL Teams. In the Special Operations community, we are taught to attack problems from different angles and play out tactics and strategies in our heads, with the caveat of knowing that a good plan executed quickly is often better then an excellent one put into place too late. Obama’s Ebola plan falls in the latter category.
When Ebola spreads to ten or twenty people in the Big Apple, what are smart New Yorkers going to do? They will get the hell out of the city, and that will be Ebola’s introduction to small town America, Walking Dead style.
I’m not being alarmist, I’m paying attention and being a realist. It hasn’t come unhinged yet, but you should make a plan with your family if it does. We’ll have some more detailed advice on the site soon, but the best short-term advice we can give you is to have a plan, and it should include traveling to a remote place to wait things out. You can also read Jonathan Wade’s post, “Are You Ready For Ebola?”
There’s a reason President Obama met with the nurse Nina Pham on national TV. Last I checked she wasn’t cured, she survived. Pay attention folks, the President met with her as a PR play to create a sense of safety and security in America – everything will be alright, until it isn’t.
(Featured Image: Nina Pham and President Obama courtesy of CNN)