As the hysteria over Ebola mounts, many people, particularly Republicans, are calling for President Obama to implement a travel ban to and from West Africa, where thousands have died from the disease in recent months. Despite the fact that only one person in the United States has died from Ebola, the editors of the conservative National Review, to name one example, say it would be "a commonsense measure that would help to keep the disease contained and the risk of its spread abroad low."
But actual experts in the field disagree. "Health and transportation experts were uniform in saying it wouldn't stem the spread of Ebola," Politico reports, "and could do more harm than good."
[T]he reality, the experts say, is that those kinds of measures have failed before. And this time, experts inside and outside the administration warned, throttling travel would hammer already devastated West African countries, make it difficult to send relief where it' needed, and send an unknown number of infected travelers into the shadows, increasing the difficulty of knowing how many were entering the U.S. [Politico]
Mike Leavitt, the secretary of Health and Human Services under George W. Bush, elaborated on the numerous problems that would result from a ban, telling the Associated Press:
But would the U.S. expand the ban to European countries if people there got exposed? And what to do about Americans who want to come home? [AP]
The White House so far has said it has no plans to institute such a ban.