Peter Piot, the discoverer of Ebola, supported a curfew, quarantine for countries afflicted with the deadly disease. He also warned that they would try to come to the West for treatment.
Piot, the Director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, gave an interview to Der Spiegel (reprinted in the Guardian).
Piot: Sierra Leone experimented with a three-day curfew in an attempt to at least flatten out the infection curve a bit. At first I thought: “That is totally crazy.” But now I wonder, “why not?” At least, as long as these measures aren’t imposed with military power.
Interviewer: A three-day curfew sounds a bit desperate.
Piot: Yes, it is rather medieval. But what can you do? Even in 2014, we hardly have any way to combat this virus.
Do you think we might be facing the beginnings of a pandemic?
Piot: There will certainly be Ebola patients from Africa who come to us in the hopes of receiving treatment. And they might even infect a few people here who may then die. But an outbreak in Europe or North America would quickly be brought under control. I am more worried about the many people from India who work in trade or industry in west Africa. It would only take one of them to become infected, travel to India to visit relatives during the virus’s incubation period, and then, once he becomes sick, go to a public hospital there. Doctors and nurses in India, too, often don’t wear protective gloves. They would immediately become infected and spread the virus.
Despite Piot’s trepidation, the Centers for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden continues to push against calls to ban travel from afflicted countries.
Frieden’s previous claim to fame was backing a failed soda tax measure as Bloomberg’s health nanny.