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Ebola in America: A Roundtable Event

Ebola: The Crisis At Our Doorstep 

Everything is not under control, well at least not forever.  I don’t mean to cause a panic, but Americans need to be shaken out of their naively peaceful slumber. While areas of West Africa have been dealing with the Ebola virus for years, the recent cases of Ebola hit a little too close to home for most Americans.  Once this horrible illness was staring Americans in the face, we decided to really do something, or at least try. Two Texas nurses came down with the illness from a patient. This caused panic to stricken the hearts of even the more educated citizens. How did this happen if the nurses took the proper precautions? Is Ebola airborne? Is this the beginning of the zombie age? Americans called the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in to question about the lack of protection. Can you blame a government entity that has essentially no power? Why would any sort of organization listen to another if there are no consequences? With only guidelines to offer, the CDC has no way of truly knowing how well hospitals are listening. Finger-pointing won’t help anyone in this situation. Instead, Americans need to focus on solutions. To ensure that all hospitals are equipped with the right tools and knowledge, new mandates need to put in place. These mandates will not only make it illegal to ignore the CDC suggestions, but can also enforce themselves by enacting punishments. These can range from loss of accreditation or fines. The CDC could work closely with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to make sure the hospitals toe the line. But, in order to give these mandates any weight or power behind them, the CDC and OSHA need step up their game.  As of today, CDC and OSHA have no bite behind their back.  This presents a new problem all on its own. Federalism has been a hot topic in the US since before the Civil War. The ever evolving push and pull between state and federal government is still going on today. To effectively implement these health mandates, states will have to give up some of the power.  If only it were that easy. But if these organizations had more say in the legal outcomes of noncompliance, the likelihood of the hospitals following the mandates and being ready in such crises is high. Some would argue that enforcing these mandates would be very difficult. In terms of manpower and funding, the CDC can’t be everywhere.  The actual act of carrying out the regulations and making sure all hospitals are up to code would be near impossible, especially when you consider all 50 states. That doesn’t mean the mandates aren’t worth it. The Ebola scare will eventually end, to be replaced by more breaking news. If the state and federal governments don’t start sharing and the CDC guidelines don’t become more binding, this scare won’t be our last.  Considering how bad the Ebola virus is, it’s safe to say that the next health scare will only be worse. Are our government systems really willing to possibly sacrifice American lives because they can’t stop playing king of the hill?

 This Event is being hosted by the Department of Public Administration.


Abigail Giles



Event Information
Time: 6:00 PM - 8:50 PM
Event Date: 11/20/2014

Holden Hall 107