When it comes to trusting the Obama Administration and, increasingly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, no one is making it harder for Americans to do so than the White House and the bumbling gaggle of bureaucrats and political hacks that it employs.
For weeks now, the CDC chief, Dr. Thomas Frieden, has said that Ebola cannot be spread through casual contact — even as he also stated that persons suspected of being infected should avoid public transportation. President Obama has made similar statements.
Now, after a pair of northeastern state governors imposed (and then rescinded) 21-day quarantines for anyone returning from assisting infected patients in West Africa, word comes from the CDC that the virus can, in fact, be spread to others up to 3 feet away. In a new Ebola-related post that appears to be splitting hairs between “airborne” and “droplet” spread, the health agency claimed:
Airborne spread happens when a germ floats through the air after a person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Germs may land in the eyes, mouth, or nose of another person.
If a germ is airborne, direct contact with the infected person is NOT needed for someone else to get sick. Airborne spread diseases include: chickenpox, tuberculosis.
‘Well, at least the CDC is starting to move the narrative’
“Droplet spread,” the agency said, “happens when germs traveling inside droplets that are coughed or sneezed from a sick person enter the eyes, nose, or mouth of another person. Droplets travel short distances, less than 3 feet (1 meter) from one person to another.
“A person might also get infected by touching a surface or object that has germs on it and then touching their mouth or nose.
“Droplet spread diseases include: plague, Ebola.”
The online flyer went on to insist that, no, Ebola is not “airborne,” but it also made clear that, yes, it can certainly be spread through droplets — the manner in which people riding close to each other on, say, a NYC subway or in a cab or Uber ride-share car, or in a bowling alley, might be exposed (Dr. Craig Spencer, the Ebola-infected physician just back from treating patients in West Africa, did all of these things).
“Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients,” the online informational flyer states.
Some experts are already raising eyebrows of suspicion.
“Well, at least CDC is starting to move the narrative,” said Meryl Nass, M.D., an infectious disease physician, on her blog. “Maybe tomorrow it will be 5 feet. Then 10. Maybe next month they will tell us why all the victims’ possessions are being incinerated and apartments fumigated.
“Just remember: historically, Ebola spread fast in healthcare facilities.”
Spread via aerosol more likely in colder environments?
Dr. Nass had earlier focused on anthrax and the dangers it poses.
Also, in 1995, the U.S. Army’s Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases reported in the International Journal of Experimental Pathology (see it here [PDF]) that the deadly virus actually spreads faster in colder environs, not the hot, steamy climate in much of Africa [emphasis added]:
We also demonstrated aerosol transmission of Ebola virus at lower temperature and humidity than that normally present in sub-Saharan Africa. Ebola virus sensitivity to the high temperatures and humidity in the thatched, mud, and [wattle] huts shared by infected family members in southern Sudan and northern Zaire may have been a factor limiting aerosol transmission of Ebola virus in the African epidemics. Both elevated temperature and relative humidity (RH) have been shown to reduce the aerosol stability of viruses (Songer 1967). Our experiments were conducted at 24°C [75°F] and [such as Ebola], aerosol transmission is a greater threat in modern hospital or laboratory settings than it is in the natural climatic ranges of viruses.
But remember, you can’t get the disease sitting next to an infected person on a bus, in a subway or in a cab. The CDC and the Obama Administration have said so.