Chris Matthews: Didn’t Obama tell us it was “unlikely” Ebola would come to America?

posted at 2:01 pm on October 1, 2014 by Allahpundit

Via RCP. So he did, Tingles. So he did. Two weeks ago:

First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low. We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States. 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.

Why did O think it was “unlikely”? He was probably referencing this study picked up by Vox in early September estimating that the chances that someone carrying the virus would get on a plane to the U.S. undetected were only as high as 18 percent (and as low as one percent). Why that is, I don’t know. Ebola screening at airports relies mainly on thermometer readings; it’s easy to imagine someone who’d contracted the disease the day before his flight showing no symptoms, fever included, when he went to board his plane. (Which is pretty much what happened with the Dallas patient.) Even if O had some scientific reason to think the odds were against Ebola coming here, though, why emphasize that in his comments to the public? Matthews is correct: In his haste to reassure people that they have nothing to fear, Obama’s now given them reason to think “If he was wrong about the likelihood of Ebola reaching America, could he be wrong about the risk of an outbreak too?” It reminds me, in an odd way, of his famous “red line” comment about Assad and WMD. Why risk your credibility by saying something, however well intentioned, that you didn’t actually have to say?

As it is, the CDC’s already looking at the possibility of another case in Dallas from someone who was in close contact with the Ebola patient. If you missed the news last night, the patient actually went to the ER on September 26th (or was it September 24th?) but was sent home with antibiotics. Only when he returned a few days later in an ambulance did they suspect Ebola and isolate him. How many people made contact with him during that symptomatic stage when he was out and about? Exit quotation:

Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air