A member of Congress who wants to ban travel from countries afflicted by the Ebola outbreak appeared to be unaware of a key fact -- that there are no direct flights between the U.S. and Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. [...] Since there are no direct flights between the hardest-hit nations and the United States, the Florida Republican was pressed to specifically identify which flights he wanted to impose restrictions on. "I believe there are some flights," Ross responded.
There are three reasons why it's a crazy idea. The first is that it just won't work to stop the virus.... Writing in the Washington Post, Laurie Garrett -- senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations -- pointed out: "Many nations have banned flights from other countries in recent years in hopes of blocking the entry of viruses, including SARS and H1N1 'swine flu,'" she added. "None of the bans were effective, and the viruses gained entry to populations regardless of what radical measures were taken to keep them out." [...] The second reason a travel ban won't work is that it would actually make stopping the outbreak in West Africa more difficult. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, "To completely seal off and don't let planes in or out of the West African countries involved, then you could paradoxically make things much worse in the sense that you can't get supplies in, you can't get help in, you can't get the kinds of things in there that we need to contain the epidemic." [...] The third reason closing borders is nuts is that it will devastate the economies of West Africa and further destroy the limited health systems there.