I’ve never been a big fan of Donald Trump. Of his worldly possessions, I believe the only things bigger than his $4 billion bank account are his arrogance and his ego but what he did Friday was shameful. Here we have two Americans in Africa on a mercy mission who have been stricken with the ebola virus and, as emergency efforts are in progress to bring them home, Trump -- in his usual uninvited fashion – sends out a tweet: “Stop the EBOLA patients from entering the U.S. Treat them, at the highest level, over there. THE UNITED STATES HAS ENOUGH PROBLEMS!”
“The Donald,” who has sadly never learned that he is considered by millions as an American “problem,” needs to think this one through. Of course we need to bring them home and, if I may add, not just because it is the right thing to do. Dr. Kent Brantley, a doctor working with Samaritan’s Purse, and missionary Nancy Writebol working with “Serving in Mission” are dreadfully sick in West Africa.
A specially-outfitted medical jet was in the process of flying them (one at a time) to Emory Hospital in Atlanta. Emory is one of four hospitals in the United States with the star-wars equipment and contamination protocol where these two victims can be carefully and properly treated. Atlanta is also home to our Center for Disease Control and Prevention. If Trump would only connect-the dots, even he could understand the great value of having living patients with the ebola virus for our best epidemiologists to treat and to study.
I just finished reading a thriller of a book called “I Am Pilgrim” where a brilliant yet deranged villain tries to infect the United States with a terrible strain of the smallpox virus, one that could withstand every antidote or vaccine we have in our medicine cabinet. The spell-binding book, written by Terry Hayes, explains pretty specifically how any nut could sneak a highly-contagious and most deadly disease into the United States with catastrophic and doomsday results.
The ebola virus kills 50-to-90 percent of those who “catch it” and – to date – the world has no vaccine. Well, duh, Donald, has it dawned on you yet that we cannot only give our two heroes the best chance of survival, but also give our doctors and top scientists an up-close look at the dread disease and its characteristics?
In an announcement, CDC spokesperson Marie Harf told the American people, “The safety and security of U.S. citizens is our paramount concern. Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely, to provide critical care en route on a non-commercial aircraft, and to maintain strict isolation upon arrival in the United States."
She added, “CDC protocols and equipment are used for these kinds of medical evacuations so that they are carried out safely, thereby protecting the patient and the American public, as has been done with similar medical evacuations in the past.”
Dr. Margaret Chan, who leads the World Health Organization, has announced over 1,300 people have now been infected with the virus and over 800 are already dead. She predicted “catastrophic consequences” if the outbreak is not contained soon.
“This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it,” she told African leaders. “If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives but also severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.”
Obviously Africa has none of the sophisticated health facilities that are revered in the United States and Dr. Chan downplayed any perceived threat to the U.S. “This is not an airborne virus. Transmission requires close contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, also after death,” Dr. Chan explained. “Apart from this specific situation, the general public is not at high risk of infection by the Ebola virus.”
There is one thing Americans can do because they are good at it. According to Jan Brantly, the mother of the gentle doctor-turned-missionary from Fort Worth who is fighting for his life, "We are maintaining our focus on our faith in God, and asking for prayer for Kent and we're praying without ceasing. I pray for all of those who are battling this disease."
The doctor’s wife, Brenda, also issued a statement: "We appreciate so much all the words of comfort and acts of kindness extended to our family. As people with a deep faith in Jesus, we sincerely thank the thousands of people worldwide who have lifted up Kent and this dreadful situation in prayer. We continue to lean on that faith and take great consolation in our God in these times.
“We continue to believe that God will deliver Kent from this deadly virus. We have a strong family unit within a stronger faith community that has given us incredible support. Kent remains very physically weak but his spirit has been determined throughout this ordeal. This is a challenging time for our family. We will not be speaking to the media at this time. We ask that you respect our privacy.
“We ask for your continued prayers for Kent, his colleague, Nancy Writebol, and the healthcare workers in Liberia struggling to meet the overwhelming demands of those who are sick with the Ebola virus as well as patients who have come to that hospital with other needs," she added.
As for me, I will add in my prayers that the Lord bless and protect the doctors and staff at Emory and that the CDC will quickly discover a vaccine. Also pray that we will soon develop some type of antidote to help people anywhere in the world who come in contact with the ebola virus.
And that Donald Trump, in the face of a world tragedy, would just keep to himself.