CDC Proves Central Power Is Not the Solution to All Problems

We have been treated to a string of stories asserting or assuming that only central power can save us from an Ebola plague. But the facts don’t add up.

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Monday, I pointed out how the media was campaigning for more centralized authority as the self-evident solution to our risk of an outbreak. The big problem is that states have autonomy and the CDC can only offer advice that no one is required to obey. If only we had a Federal cadre of doctor-dictators telling us all what to do, then we would have a chance to slow or stop Ebola!

But this lust for a continent-wide Master (plus Hawaii) is not supported by the media’s own stories. Yesterday I saw this CBS story: “2nd nurse with Ebola called CDC before boarding flight.”

In the case of Amber Vinson, the Dallas nurse who flew commercially as she was becoming ill with Ebola, one health official said “somebody dropped the ball.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that Vinson called the agency several times before flying, saying that she had a fever with a temperature of 99.5 degrees. But because her fever wasn’t 100.4 degrees or higher, she didn’t officially fall into the group of “high risk” and was allowed to fly.

Officials in the U.S. have been trying to calm fears over the Ebola crisis, but time and again events have overtaken their assurances.

In August, before the first U.S. infection, CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said: “We’re confident that we have the facilities here to isolate patients, not only at the highly advanced ones like the one at Emory, but really at virtually every major hospital in the U.S.”

Right, and one reason (not the only one) that “events have overtake their assurances” is that they told an exposed and sick nurse that she could get on a commercial flight.

Aren’t you glad there was only one nurse who got bad advice?

What if there had been ten or twenty exposed people who wanted to travel but who had been exposed and were feverish? What if they had all called and got the same erroneous script?

A central authority only works when it is one-hundred percent right. When it is wrong then it spreads that error across the entire country. In this case the mistake at the CDC only altered the behavior of one person. Be thankful.

Central power only assures us of mass uniformity. It doesn’t do anything to assure us that we will all march in the right direction.