CDC Head on 'F&F': 'Sealing Off Borders' Will Not Work Against Ebola
CDC Director Tom Frieden pushed back this morning against those who argue that the United States should ban all flights from West Africa and not allow people into the country from places like Liberia.
Steve Doocy noted that the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. lied on a questionnaire before leaving on a plane from Liberia to Brussels and then on to Washington D.C. and Dallas.
Frieden answered that the idea of sealing off the border or banning flights entirely will not work.
"I wish we could get to zero risk by sealing off the border. But we can’t. The only way we are going to get to zero risk in this country is by controlling it in Africa. Until that happens, Americans may come back with Ebola. Other people who have a right to return or a visa to enter may come back. People will go to third countries and come from there. Sealing them off – first off won’t work. Second off, it will backfire. Because if we can’t get help in there, then we’re not going to be able to stop the outbreak and ultimately we will end up at higher risk, not lower risk," said Frieden.
Brian Kilmeade argued "we're in trouble" if the CDC is relying on travelers to be truthful. Frieden expressed confidence in the CDC's temperature screenings in the affected West African countries.
"We are doing very good temperature screening. That is, where it is going to be the most efficient. That is where they have a few hundred people leaving. We're using approved devices, trained staff checking every person who is leaving each of the three countries to see if they have a fever. [If you] screen people here, instead of a few hundred it would be a few hundred thousand, it would be inaccurate. And this is the way that we think we're going to be most effective at keeping people who are having a fever from getting on planes," he said.
Frieden says he realizes how "scary" the disease is for Americans, but assured people that the CDC is "stopping it in its tracks" in Texas by identifying each person who had contact with the patient and making sure they do not spread it to others.
Watch the full interview above.