After Texas Ebola Outbreak Spreads, Obama Changes Tune on Chances of U.S. Outbreak

Obama Changes Tune on Chances of U.S. Outbreak

President Barack Obama moved the goalposts today in his assurances to the American people he would protect them from Ebola from the chances of an outbreak being “extremely low” to the chances of a “widespread outbreak” being “very, very low” and a “serious” outbreak being “extraordinarily low.”

Back on September 16th Obama said the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S. are “extremely low”:

“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.”

Then on October 6th, days after Liberian national Thomas Duncan turned up in Dallas with Ebola Obama bragged that only one person with Ebola had made it in to the U.S. past the screening process and still insisted the chance of an Ebola outbreak was “extremely low”:

“I know that the American people are concerned about the possibility of an Ebola outbreak, and Ebola is a very serious disease. And the ability of people who are infected who could carry that across borders is something that we have to take extremely seriously. At the same time, it is important for Americans to know the facts, and that is that because of the measures that we’ve put in place, as well as our world-class health system and the nature of the Ebola virus itself — which is difficult to transmit — the chances of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is extremely low.

“Procedures are now in place to rapidly evaluate anybody who might be showing symptoms. We saw that with the response of the airplane in Newark and how several hospitals across the United States have been testing for possible cases. In recent months we’ve had thousands of travelers arriving here from West Africa, and so far only one case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the United States, and that’s the patient in Dallas. Our prayers are obviously with him and his family.”

Now on October 15th, after two American nurses who treated Duncan came down with Ebola, with one flying around the country after being exposed and running a fever, Obama moved the goalposts and added the words “widespread” and “serious” to his “low” chances for an outbreak.

“And so this is not a situation in which, like a flu, the risks of a rapid spread of the disease are imminent. If we do these protocols properly, if we follow the steps, if we get the information out, then the likelihood of widespread Ebola outbreaks in this country are very, very low.

…” So bottom line in terms of the public: I want people to understand that the dangers of you contracting Ebola, the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily low. But we are taking this very seriously at the highest levels of government. And we are going to be able to manage this particular situation…”

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