(by Byron York, Washington Examiner) -- On Sept. 16, President Obama visited the headquarters of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The agency is the lead organization in the federal government's efforts to prevent the introduction and spread of the Ebola virus into the United States, and Obama used his remarks there to update Americans on those efforts.
The chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States are "extremely low," Obama said. U.S. are working with officials in Africa "to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn't get on a plane for the United States." And then this:
In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we've taken new measures so that we're prepared here at home. We're working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus. We're working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.
Obama added that in the unlikely event an Ebola case appeared in the United States, "we have world-class facilities and professionals ready to respond. And we have effective surveillance mechanisms in place."
Now two weeks later, the president's reassurances have turned out to be false. A Liberian infected with the virus, Thomas Eric Duncan, flew from Monrovia to Brussels to Virginia to Dallas. No screening at any airport stopped him, nor did any flight crews. The possibility that someone with Ebola reached American shores turned out not to be "unlikely" at all. And then, when Duncan arrived in Dallas, the doctors, nurses and medical staff at the hospital he entered were not prepared and in fact released him back into the Dallas population where, fully symptomatic, he had contact with lots of people. The system, in other words was not "able to deal with a possible case safely."