As President Barack Obama’s U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit gets underway this week, on Sunday’s political talk shows Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control, discussed the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa and whether Americans should be concerned. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry talked tough on immigration.
The African Ebola outbreak killed 826 people by the end of last month after spreading from Guinea to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Frieden appeared on four separate programs to ease concerns over the possibility of an Ebola outbreak in the U.S.
“We know it’s possible that someone will come in. If they go to a hospital and that hospital doesn’t recognize it’s Ebola there could be additional cases or their family members could have cases. That’s all possible, but I don’t think it’s in the cards that we would have an outbreak in this country,” Frieden said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
“The way it spreads in Africa is really two things. First, in hospitals where there isn’t really infection control and second in burial practices where people are touching the bodies of people who have died from Ebola. So it’s not going to spread widely in the U.S. Could we have another people here, could we have a case or two, not impossible … but we know how to stop it here.”
Fears of Ebola spreading in the U.S. grew last week with the announcement that American aid workers Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol who contracted the disease would be taken to Atlanta for treatment. Brantly arrived on Saturday.
“I can understand why people are scared of Ebola,” Frieden said on Fox News Sunday. “It’s deadly, it’s a gruesome death … but I hope and I’m confident that our fears are not going to overwhelm our compassion. We care for our own. We bring people home if they need to come home.”
On CNN’s “State of the Union”, Perry discussed the immigration crisis along the Nation’s southern border and the steps being taken in his State to address the problem.
“What I’m prepared to do is not just the National Guard, but our Department of Public Safety, our Texas Ranger Recon Teams, the Parks and Wildlife wardens that we have deployed there,” Perry said. “And then I will suggest to you there will be other individuals who come to assist in securing that border … I think that’s what the American people want. They’d like to see a president who leads this country and says, you know what, we do have a problem on our southern border. We’re going to deal with it.”
CNN’s Candy Crowley then suggested that Perry’s tough border stance was related to a possible 2016 Presidential bid.
“I’m the Governor of the state of Texas,” Perry replied. “My citizens’ safety is what is foremost here. And it hasn’t got anything to do with anything other than those numbers of individuals who are coming across the border. And when you think about the idea that some of them are from countries that have substantial terrorist ties, whether it’s Pakistan or Afghanistan or Syria, we are at historic record highs with individuals being apprehended from those countries.”
“We say it’s time to secure the border,” Perry continued. “Hasn’t got anything to do with anything, other than the American citizens expect Washington to respect the Constitution and secure the border, one of the things that’s actually enumerated in the Constitution. We’d like for them to do their duty.”