Glenn Beck on Thursday brought in three medical professionals to answer common questions about the Ebola virus in “plainspoken English” with “no bull-crap answers.” Many of the questions were submitted by the audience on Twitter using the hashtag #TheBlazeEbolaChat.
“I think it’s better to prepare for the worst, and then great if it doesn’t get there,” Beck said on his television program.
The panel included Dr. Joseph Alton, advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner Amy Alton and Dr. Murray Cohen.
Cohen, who was with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for 21 years, began by saying how “incompetent” the CDC has been in handling the Ebola outbreak.
“They are completely incompetent,” he said. “I think that some of the pronouncements lately, particularly the one … which blamed the nurses, were frankly insulting. They were grossly incompetent. In fact they were negligent.”
“[There] was a time for very specific public health action that was not taken,” Cohen continued. “We know how to put public health measures in effect in places like Africa, places like Liberia. We did it in Nigeria, or the Nigerians did it. … They did it in Senegal, they stopped the epidemic. They did it three years ago in western Uganda, stopped the epidemic.”
But Cohen said that instead of taking common-sense steps to stop the disease from spreading, like shutting down air travel out of West Africa, we “talked and had meetings and set up committees.”
When Beck asked the experts about the CDC’s worst-case scenario prediction of 1.4 million Ebola cases in January of 2015 — which at a 70 percent death rate, means 980,000 dead — they all agreed it was “absolutely” possible.
Dr. Alton remarked: “For this virus to be truly controlled, we need to have no new nodes where new outbreaks can occur. And so for that reason, we have to — indeed, the strategy really should be — to contain it where it is and not allow it to go elsewhere. We are allowing it to go elsewhere by not restricting travel from the epidemic zone.”
Though CDC Director Thomas Frieden has repeatedly stated that restricting travel from the epidemic zone would be destructive, all three agreed that it was necessary, and pointed out that restricting travel out of the countries does not mean we cannot send in resources.
The group also discussed what families can do to protect themselves, and said basic steps like washing your hands, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep are crucial to building up the immune system.
But Cohen also warned against an “epidemic of panic,” reassuring that while Ebola is horrific, it is “not a real easy disease to catch.”
The general consensus was that it cannot survive for long on money that might change hands, and Clorox wipes will easily kill it.
More from the discussion, which includes suggestions on how to talk to your children about the disease, below:
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