If there is one thing that is becoming clear in the last few weeks, it is the divergence of opinion between a 'nothing-to-see-here-move-along' government and the 'not-afraid-to-say-it-like-it-is' people actually dealing with the Ebola outbreak. Today, that divergence became utterly chasmic as President Obama opined:
*OBAMA REITERATES CHANCE OF EBOLA OUTBREAK IN U.S. EXTREMELY LOW
Followed by CDC Director Frieden's perspective that:
"I've been working in public health for 30 years... The only thing like this has been AIDS. And we have to work now so that this is not the world's next AIDS."
and then none other than SOUTHCOM Commander, Marine Gen. John F. Kelly warns that:
"The nightmare scenario, I think, is right around the corner."
So whose truth do you choose to believe?
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Here's President Obama...
"Ebola is not easily transmitted... we are containing it... the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low... we've been taking the necessary precautions so that someone with the virus does not get on a plane to the United States..."
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Ebola poses a threat equivalent to AIDS and will become just as deadly without further action, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Tom Frieden said Thursday.
The remark is part of a marked increase in the intensity of warnings about Ebola from Frieden, the Obama administration's point man in communicating to the public about the virus.
"I've been working in public health for 30 years," Frieden told a World Bank and International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington.
"The only thing like this has been AIDS. And we have to work now so that this is not the world's next AIDS," Frieden said.
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Here's the head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Marine Gen. John F. Kelly... (via USNI)
“If it comes to the Western Hemisphere, the countries that we’re talking about have almost no ability to deal with it — particularly in Haiti and Central America,” SOUTHCOM Commander, Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, said in response to a question of his near term concerns in the region.
“It will make the 68,000 unaccompanied minors look like a small problem.”
An Ebola outbreak could encourage the poor and increasingly desperate populations in Central American countries — like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — to leave in droves.
“I think you’ve seen this so many times in the past, when in doubt, take off,” he said.
Though an ocean away from Ebola hotspots in Africa, a growing numbers of West Africans are using the illicit trafficking routes through Central America to enter the U.S. illegally and could introduce the disease in the U.S.
Kelly stressed through out the panel session at NDU how effective the criminal transportation networks were at moving people and material into the U.S.
“We see a lot of West Africans moving in that network,” he said.
Kelly passed on a story from a border checkpoint in Costa Rica — told to him by an American embassy official — in which five or six men from Liberia were waiting to cross into Nicaragua.
The group had flown into Trinidad and then traveled to Costa Rica hoping to travel up the Central American isthmus and into the U.S.
Given the length of the journey, “they could have been in New York City well within the incubation period for Ebola,” Kelly said.
The realities of a potential outbreak caused Kelly to ask his staff to start thinking about the affects to the SOUTHCOM area of operations (AO) and pay attention to the response of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The U.S. has sent 4,000 troops to West Africa to assist countries in dealing with the Ebola outbreaks in the region.
“The five services of the U.S. military will get it done and be a large solution to this problem,” Kelly said.
In the meantime, SOUTHCOM is regular contact with AFRICOM in the event of the worst-case outcome.
“We’re watching what AFRICOM is doing and their plan will be our plan,” Kelly said. “The nightmare scenario, I think, is right around the corner.”
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Truth... You decide?