2005 VIDEO: Senator Obama rips Bush for being unprepared for avian flu epidemic. The avian flu could only be contracted directly from infected birds, not passed human to human, but the threat of it mutating into a highly infectious flu strain scared the bejeebers out of disease experts. However, as of today, the majority of human cases have resulted from direct contact with infected poultry and there has not been a single case reported in the U.S.
2005: A sudden spike in cases of the H5N1 (avian or bird flu) virus (98 cases/43 deaths) led the WHO to warn of a possible global pandemic. As the New York Times reported (link below), then-Senator Barack Obama signed a protest letter with 30 Democrats expressing grave concern that the nation was “dangerously unprepared” and personally scolded the Bush administration from the Senate floor. In a New York Times op-ed, he specifically mentioned the dangers to the American public posed by international air travel.
2008: The CDC informed the incoming Obama administration it had less than one-third the resources necessary to properly protect the nation from an outbreak of deadly diseases like avian flu and Ebola.
2009: In the face of a possible epidemic of swine flu, the Obama administration quietly dusted off federal quarantine regulations that had been proposed by the Bush administration in 2005. Civil liberties people were appalled; health official were generally supportive.
2010: The Obama administration quietly scrapped the quarantine plans it had been developing in case Americans needed to be protected from travelers carrying dangerous diseases.
2014: September 9 - WHO says public transportation is “a hot source of potential virus transmission.”
2014: October 3 – Three weeks after declaring the Ebola outbreak a “national security priority”, Obama continued to refuse to ban travel into the U.S. for people who have been in affected West African countries. He has the legal power to impose such an emergency measure.
2014: October 9 - Obama released a video saying, “You cannot get [Ebola] sitting next to someone on a bus.” Virus researchers said Ebola could be spread through the air and from infected people exhibiting no symptoms.
2014: October 10 - President Obama said in a video message that Ebola cannot be contracted through casual contact “like sitting next to someone on a bus.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans with symptoms of the disease traveling in or arriving home from Ebola-stricken nations to “avoid public transportation.”
2014: October 15 – President Obama says he personally hugged and kissed two nurses treating Ebola patients and he didn’t get the disease, but since a second Ebola nurse has now contracted the virus, his administration will respond in a “much more aggressive way” to cases of Ebola in the United States.
2014: October 17 - The World Health Organization (WHO) announced 9,216 known cases and 4,555 deaths in the Ebola outbreak that began in west Africa in March. Obama’s Secretary of State, John Kerry, called on world leaders to provide cash, helicopters and treatment centers to help fight Ebola. “If we don’t adequately address this current outbreak now, then Ebola has the potential to become a scourge like HIV or polio, that we will end up fighting, all of us, for decades. And we shouldn’t kid ourselves. Winning this fight is going to be costly, it is going to take all of our efforts, and it is not risk-free.”
2014: October 18 – President Obama said no to those demanding a travel ban on planes from West Africa and urged Americans not to give into hysteria about the deadly virus, because we’ve only had three cases.
About H5N1 Avian Flu (H5N1 Bird Flu)
WHO Fact sheet: Ebola virus disease
Bush Weighs Strategies to Counter Possible Outbreak of Bird Flu
By Brian Knowlton – October 4, 2005 – New York Times
Obama administration failed to implement all of the CDC’s advice to prevent an Ebola outbreak
By Jim McElhatton – October 15, 2014 – The Washington Times
Obama team mulls new quarantine regulations
By Josh Gerstein – August 5, 2009 – Politico
Obama administration scraps quarantine regulations
By Allison Young – April 1, 2010 – USA TODAY
Ebola virus spread by taxi passengers, says World Health Organisation
By Stephanie Nebehay – September 8, 2014 – The Independent
Obama 2005: The Avian Flu Is Very Dangerous and It’s Only A Matter of Time Before It Comes to America
By Ace of Spades – October 2, 2014
If Obama thinks Ebola is a ‘national security priority,’ why no travel ban?
By Gregg Jarrett – October 3, 2014 – Fox News
Obama: ‘You Cannot Get [Ebola] Sitting Next to Someone on a Bus’
October 9, 2014 – CNS News
Virus researchers say Ebola could spread through air – and even spread without symptoms
By Jonathan Benson – October 9, 2014 – Natural News
Obama says you won’t get ebola sitting next to someone on a bus, CDC says avoid public transportation
October 10, 2014 – Breitbart
Obama Responds to New Ebola Outbreaks in U.S.
AP – October 15, 2014 – Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post
With New Ebola Case Confirmed, U.S. Vows Vigilance
By Manny Fernandez and Jack Healy – October 15, 2014 – New York Times
Ebola death toll soars to 4,555 out of 9,216 cases: WHO
AFP – October 17, 2014 – Yahoo News
Ebola ‘could be scourge like HIV’, John Kerry warns the world
By Nicholas Watt, Sarah Boseley, Lizzy Davies, Kim Willsher, and Philip Oltermann
October 17, 2014 – The Guardian
Obama reinforces argument against travel ban, urges Americans to resist Ebola ‘hysteria’
AP – October 18, 2014 – Fox News
H/t GP, Ace of Spades, Ed Morrissey