Editorials, Opinion Pieces Address Various Aspects Of Ebola Epidemic

The following editorials and opinion pieces address various aspects of the Ebola epidemic and response.

New York Times: Keeping Ebola at Bay
Editorial Board

“The Ebola cases in the United States show that American hospitals and public health officials have much to learn about effective ways to protect health care workers and the public from possible infection. … [S]ome members of Congress, mostly Republicans, have called for barring entry to all people who have been in the Ebola-stricken countries as a way to keep the virus out. The danger is that if other nations followed an American ban with bans of their own, economies in West Africa would be crippled. That could only reduce the ability of those nations to fight the epidemic, and make it even more likely the disease would spread through porous borders to other African nations and beyond” (10/16).

Washington Post: Bipartisan solutions, not blame, can help in managing Ebola
Editorial Board

“The Ebola virus reached this country at the height of the 2014 campaign, so perhaps it was inevitable that the political parties would try to exploit it. … [T]his is an unprecedented challenge for the American health care system, and everyone involved — from the president to front-line health care workers — is acting in good faith and, necessarily, learning on the job. As for budget cuts, it’s preposterous to assert either that more money would guarantee a cure or that one party alone is responsible for the alleged lack of funds. … [E]ven if there’s no evidence that budget cuts ’caused’ the mistakes in the Ebola response, it’s likely that more resources, more thoughtfully allocated, may be needed in the near future. The broader lesson is to readjust federal priorities so that leaders actually have the capacity to prevent and, if necessary, govern through crises — and not just blame each other for them” (10/16).

Washington Post: Fight fear of Ebola with the facts
Richard Besser, chief health editor at ABC News

“…The best way to fight fear and stigma is with facts. The fact is that many viruses are easily transmitted, but Ebola is not one of them. … What we need to do is communicate, as strongly and as often as we can, what the real risks are and aren’t” (10/15).

Washington Post: Ebola challenges America’s ability to adapt
Michael Gerson, opinion writer

“…Those who pursue political sport during a health emergency — either finding a symbol of liberal incompetence or a symbol of inadequate public investment — are not helping matters. Fighting infectious disease is an essential federal role, not an ideological metaphor. … [B]illions in spending and thousands of hospital beds are now urgently required to prevent a human catastrophe involving the destabilization of West Africa. The spread of a global pandemic would make Ebola harder to fight for everyone” (10/16).

Washington Post: Ebola vs. civil liberties
Charles Krauthammer, opinion writer

“…President Obama, in his messianic period, declared that choosing between security and liberty was a false choice. On the contrary. It is the eternal dilemma of every free society. Politics is the very process of finding some equilibrium between these two competing values. Regarding terrorism, we’ve developed a fairly reasonable balance. But it took time. With Ebola, we don’t have time. Viruses don’t wait. The sooner we reset the balance — the sooner we get serious — the safer we will be” (10/16).

Dallas Morning News: Former Sen. William Frist: Ebola crisis in West Africa could last into next spring
Jim Mitchell, columnist

“…[Former Senate Majority Leader Bill] Frist estimates that 23,000 people will die of the flu this year, and in America less than ‘ten will die of Ebola, hopefully just one.’ And while every death is tragic, the reality is that protocols have to be strictly established and followed. ‘This is not contagious virus like flu,’ he said. … Frist, in town to champion global investment for sensible family planning policies in underdeveloped countries, said the world response to HIV/AIDS showed the value of a global response. … The overarching message is that the global health agenda must be just that — global…” (10/16).

The Guardian: We won’t beat the Ebola outbreak without bureaucrats and bureaucracy
Andy Ratcliffe, director of strategy and development at the Africa Governance Initiative

“…I have worked with the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea for a number of years now, and I know, with fast enough and big enough support from the international community, they will get Ebola under control. There will be many heroes in that story, the Liberian, Sierra Leonean, and Guinean public servants who are working behind the scenes to organize things — the bureaucrats — should count among them” (10/17).

Washington Post: On Ebola, we need a dose of candor
Eugene Robinson, opinion writer

“Let’s make a deal: We’ll all promise not to panic about Ebola if the experts — especially those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — agree to get their stories straight. … The thing is, Americans are anxious about Ebola but not panicked. This will change, however, unless experts speak more honestly about the nature of the threat” (10/16).

New York Times: Step One to Fighting Ebola? Start with Corruption
Josh Ruxin, executive director of Health Builders

“…[I]nternational pressure against corruption in poor nations must finally begin in earnest. In the long run, that will do more than all the aid groups can achieve. Where corruption is ended, prosperity thrives, and in a prosperous land, people can afford their own family health care. That is when they are safe from such things as Ebola. When they are safe, we all are safe — and only then. Corruption and Ebola are essentially the same hemorrhaging disease. If we cure corruption, we will have the healthy planet we all truly want and our children deserve” (10/16).

The KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report summarized news and information on global health policy from hundreds of sources, from May 2009 through December 2020. All summaries are archived and available via search.

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