GOP Politicians’ Scariest Ebola Warnings

CHARLESTON, SC - SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to students at the College of Charleston during a town hall meeting on September 30, 2014 in Charleston, South Carolina. Paul has been speaking at a series of GOP events in the state, including the Universtity of South Carolina in Columbia. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Photo: Richard Ellis/Getty Images

Since the first Ebola case was diagnosed in the United States this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has attempted to assure Americans that there’s no need to panic. Ebola is ravaging several West African countries that were already severely lacking in resources, from medical infrastructure to public sanitation. However, the United States is entirely capable of “stopping it in its tracks” — or is it? Over the past few days, Republican lawmakers have been sharing some terrifying thoughts about the Obama administration’s Ebola response. “It’s a big mistake to downplay and act as if ‘oh, this is not a big deal, we can control all this,’” Senator Rand Paul warned. “This could get beyond our control.” Here are some other horrific things to consider before deciding to leave the house without a hazmat suit.

American soldiers sent to fight Ebola in Africa may get infected and spread the disease throughout the U.S.

In an interview with Laura Ingraham on Wednesday, Rand Paul questioned Obama’s plan to send 3,000 U.S. military personnel to assist West African nations in their fight against Ebola. “You also have to be concerned about 3,000 soldiers getting back on a ship. Where is disease most transmittable? When you’re in a very close confines on a ship, we all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea viruses that are transmitted very easily,” he said. “Can you imagine if a whole ship full of our soldiers catch Ebola?”

Texas representative Louie Gohmert agreed, telling Lou Dobbs on Wednesday:

Political correctness … is getting military members killed. This is the heart of the problem, political correctness, and by the way, the same kind of idea would send 3,000 military into where they can get Ebola that they can bring back. The military’s not trained to go catch Ebola and die. They’re trained to go in and kill the people that want to come back and kil us. The president’s priorities are all mixed up.

Workers unload medical supplies from a USAID cargo flight on August 24, 2014 in Harbel, Liberia. Photo: John Moore/2014 Getty Images

No one is coordinating the U.S. effort to fight Ebola, and Obama refuses to do anything about it.

Republican senator Jerry Moran is one of several Republicans calling on the president to appoint an Ebola czar. He told BuzzFeed that even lawmakers are having a hard time figuring out who to talk to. “I don’t think there is a person in charge,” he said. “And I don’t think there is a plan internationally to bring the folks together to combat this.”

The response is currently being handled by Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security and counterterrorism adviser, and the heads of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the CDC. A senior administration official told CNN appointing a czar would just “create another layer of bureaucracy.”

A health employee checks the temperature of President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana upon his arrival at Conakry International Airport on September 15, 2014. Photo: CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. is doing nothing to prevent people infected with Ebola from traveling to the U.S.

Senator Ted Cruz sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, asking if they “intend to take any steps to limit or suspend air travel to countries that have experienced a significant Ebola outbreak.” Senator Rob Portman called for elevated levels of screening at U.S. ports of entry and commented, “The time for action has come and gone and the CDC has yet to answer why they are resisting this next commonsense step that is long overdue.”

Thom Tillis, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House who is running for the U.S. Senate, went a step further, saying all travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to the U.S. should be banned immediately. “It makes absolutely no sense to risk more cases of Ebola in the United States by continuing to allow travel from Ebola-inflicted countries,” he said.

As the Washington Post explains, people from those nations are still allowed to fly to the U.S. because they’re screened for elevated temperatures before they’re allowed to board their flight. Several global public-health organizations say restricting air travel may worsen the situation by hurting the nations’ economies and making it more difficult for doctors and supplies to reach them.

Health workers wait to enter a decontamination room on October 1, 2014 in Monrovia. Photo: PASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images

We aren’t being told the truth about how easily Ebola is transmitted.

The CDC keeps saying Ebola is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids, but if that’s true, why are even health-care workers getting infected? Rand Paul told Glenn Beck:

I do think you have to be concerned. It’s an incredibly transmissible disease that everyone is downplaying, saying it’s hard to catch. Well, we have physicians and health workers who are catching it who are completely gloved down and taking every precaution and they’re still getting it. So, yes, I’m very concerned about this.

It’s true that many health-care workers in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone have caught the virus, but it isn’t because gloves don’t really protect against the disease. “In many cases, medical staff are at risk because no protective equipment is available – not even gloves and face masks,” the World Health Organization reported. “Even in dedicated Ebola wards, personal protective equipment is often scarce or not being properly used.”

But Rand Paul is a doctor, so surely he isn’t spreading questionable health information.

GOP Politicians’ Scariest Ebola Warnings