The concern over the Ebola disease, which has now reached the United States, has been the cause of heated debate amongst the government. Many Senators, congressional leaders, and even Governors are pushing for the ban. In the most recent congressional hearing, republicans and democrats took sides on whether or not President Obama should enforce a flight ban from countries where Ebola is a problem, especially Africa. Some say it is necessary to keep Ebola from reaching the U.S. but others argue that imposing a flight ban would only cause more problems.
Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida, Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas are pushing the president to impose the ban, urging him that it is the only way to stop the spread of Ebola. Suggestions so far have stated a ban is needed from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. They state that people with Ebola are going to be trying to get out and get treatment and that they are going to be traveling to do so. They also state that some may be infected but do not know it, and have not yet shown signs, much like the supposed story of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first man who brought Ebola to the U.S. Duncan was not showing signs of having Ebola, though he fell ill shortly after his arrival and had to be taken to the hospital in Dallas, TX. Even then, the hospital released him the first time because they stated that he was not showing definite signs of having Ebola. If others traveled in the same way they may also, unknowingly, bring it into our country.
However, the argument on the other side from opposing republicans and democrats of Congress, state that this is exactly why a ban would make things worse. First, because restricting air traffic from those areas would make it hard for medical personnel to arrive in the area with much needed medicine, causing the disease to get worse in other countries, which would not combat it. Second, they argue that the more the disease spreads the more people will be trying to get out and that it is possible for them to “break up” their flights so that it does not look like they came from a country where Ebola is a problem.
Igor Bobic of The Huffington Post wrote that another problem with imposing a flight ban is the fact that there are no scheduled, direct flights from the countries affected with Ebola, to the U.S. He states that Rep. Dennis Ross spoke with someone from the New York Times, as they argued over Ross’s suggestions on banning flights. The reporter from the New York Times told Ross that there were no direct flights from West Africa and asked Ross to identify which flights, specifically, he was suggesting to put a ban on.
Though the Senators and other government officials are pushing President Obama to impose a flight ban from countries that have the Ebola virus in large numbers, it seems that the President may be planning to do just the opposite. As the argument against such imposition is the fact that a flight ban would not directly take care of the problem, Pres. Obama plans to take care of it directly. According to sources a new report released suggests that the president is planning on actually creating more flights from Africa to the U.S. with a plane known as the N173PA, a military plane, that is designed to transport sick people for long distances. Though these are just rumors as of now, as the plane was really only officially meant to transport the two Americans, who now have Ebola, back into the United States.
With all of the commotion over whether the U.S. should impose a flight ban from countries stricken with Ebola and the concern over the virus spreading again to the U.S., it is sure that the disease will be dealt with, though the exact method of how is still unknown.
By Crystal Boulware