New York City is facing it's first ever Ebola infection and once again, various agencies have to track down everyone who was in contact with the victim while he was contagious.
A doctor who recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola — the first case of the deadly virus in New York City...Let's assume it doesn't spread and they get a handle on it quickly. Even under this best case scenario, how many millions of dollars are being spent on control and tracking efforts in the United States? How many resources that could have gone to helping Americans (or anyone else for that matter) are being re-allocated to track this patient's past movements and make sure he hasn't spread the disease?
Spencer came back to the United States last week after treating Ebola patients in Guinea, where he worked for Doctors Without Borders...
Spencer was in contact with four people after he started exhibiting symptoms, authorities said. Ebola isn't contagious until someone has symptoms.
Three people — his fiancée and two friends — are being placed on quarantine and monitored, health officials said. The fourth person is a car service driver who had no direct contact with him and is not considered at risk.
Spencer also went for a three-mile jog and visited a bowling alley in Brooklyn prior to feeling symptomatic, according to Bassett.
The bowling alley closed Thursday as a precaution, but it said in a statement that health officials have determined there are no risks to customers.
He also traveled on three subway lines. "At the time that the doctor was on the subway he did not have fever ... he was not symptomatic," Bassett said.
[From Guinea to the U.S.: Timeline of first Ebola patient in New York City, by Faith Karimi, CNN, October 24, 2014]
As Ann Coulter said of a a previous case of do-gooders in Africa bringing the disease back home, whatever good was accomplished in Africa has just been undone by the expenditures necessary to treat and control the disease in the United States. This isn't meant to be an attack on the doctor — obviously, we wish him well. But it is a simple and objective cost-benefit analysis that at this point, these missions to Africa by both Christians and secular doctors seem to be doing more harm than good as far as controlling the disease.
This isn't necessarily the doctor's fault. There is an obvious solution — quarantine for any doctors that have been in direct contact with the disease until we can say for certain they did not pick up the disease in Africa. After all, prior reports show that doctors returning from the area are not even being questioned.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is boasting that New York is prepared — but wouldn't it make more sense (and be more efficient) to make sure the disease doesn't enter one of the world's most crowded metropolises in the first place?
Maybe what America needs right know is Doctors Within Borders.