The United States of America – The Ebola Magnet – a Firestorm Opinion Piece by Harry Rhulen

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Harry Rhulen Headshot-1 by Marchet Butler

Emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty, that grand woman who welcomes all to the United States of America are these words written by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

These words have welcomed the millions to our shores. But we have a new problem: success. The United States has become a leader in many fields, including healthcare. We have proven that we have the ability to treat the Ebola virus. There have been several stories recently of individuals who came to the United States with the disease and were cured.

Our success has turned the United States of America into an Ebola magnet. Anyone with the means who has been exposed to the virus will attempt to get here. Treatment in African countries is unavailable and in most cases mediocre at best. As we saw in the recent case of the man in Texas, people will lie and mislead authorities in order to get on a plane. They will run the risk of contaminating others and their own family in order to make it to the United States.

Also in recent media has been the attempt to placate the public that unless someone is showing symptoms they are not contagious. Unfortunately, this is not really true. A patient will become symptomatic and not realize it for several hours. During this time they will be infecting others.

While we should continue to welcome all to the United States, we should do it carefully, with a lot of thought. Those coming from potentially dangerous areas should be scrutinized to a greater degree. Yes, the Constitution of the United States still applies, but the protection of all of our citizens and visitors must take precedence. Most of us will gladly bear a little additional discomfort to assure our safety.

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