This article is not to advocate, nor garner, a politicization of science, nor is it intended to ignore the suffering and anguish of Ebola victims. Quite the contrary. It is intended to be a clarion call to forgo individual politics in the interest of solving the crisis.

Maintaining confidence in the health care system is fundamental to managing the Ebola crisis. Unfounded fears and widespread panic can be far more devastating than the actual disease. However, failure to admit to previous mistakes and failure to act decisively in the face of suggestive evidence undermines that confidence. Quoting a researcher referenced later in this article, the precautionary principle should prevail in the instance of respiratory protection, not awaiting scientific certainty. Likewise, we cannot afford to have public relation strategies govern the message. There has to be confidence in the system, and it's eroding daily.

One of the most stirring accounts of the healing power of belief can be found in the case of Tibor "Ted" Rubin, awarded the medal of honor for his heroism. While a P.O.W. in Korea, he convinced a dying soldier that the medications they had just received from the Red Cross would help him, but that the soldier had to help himself first. The "medications" he provided were pellets of goat manure that Rubin had stolen, and faithfully administered to his patient, three times per day. Within a week, the soldier began to recover. In Rubin's own words, mind over matter. It can go the other way too, and there's the real danger.

There is a struggle in our country, the emotional versus the rational. We benefit from both, an appropriate balance must be struck between the two, and neither can dominate at the complete expense of the other. We are not perfect moral beings. If we were, we would have no need for government. But we're not and so we have a need for governance. The question is, again, one of balance, between the two extremes of anarchy and totalitarianism, personal liberty versus a collective good.

In that struggle of competing ideologies, Ebola doesn't care. One can hope for change and all that, but Ebola marches on, with horrifying consequences. You can believe that your political favorite is correct in their rhetoric, but Ebola doesn't care about politics, it just is. Thousands have died, a horrible death, and perhaps millions will do so still, before we finally wrest control.

Medical researchers in Canada published a paper, peer-reviewed and meticulously referenced, providing evidence that Ebola can be contracted without physical contact, through airborne particles. Not as a result of any "future mutation", but now, today.

There is a published report describing inapparent acute viral infections (i.e., no apparent symptoms) which may be transferred to new hosts. Ebola is an acute viral infection. A different type of virus than that studied in the paper, but a virus nonetheless.

A brief review of available literature was enough to challenge the sufficiency of CDC guidance regarding respiratory protection. Other researchers, highly qualified medical professionals, specializing in respiratory protection, offer evidence that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance for personal protective equipment may be fundamentally flawed.

Some of that latter research was sponsored by the CDC itself, yet the director of the CDC, a political appointee, continues with assurances to the contrary. He may be doing so at the expense of the very same healthcare workers whom he praises. Worse still, he may be undermining confidence in the health care system, at a time when it is most critical, and that behavior needs to stop.

Profit motivations by large healthcare concerns are no help either. An October 7, 2014 report by the World Bank describes the economic devastation already incurred, as well as the phenomenon of economic contagion.

Enough. Anything short of a cold, apolitical analysis of where we are and what we need to do may prove catastrophic. We don't need words of reassurance that defy experimental data, we need decisive action based on that data.

Enough. Be willing to admit mistakes and go forward with appropriate travel restrictions and updated guidance.

Enough. Forgo short-term economic considerations and protect the people which you have sworn to protect.

Enough. Recognize that you, too, will die someday and all the riches of the world will not change that, not one iota. Nor will your children benefit from any malfeasance. Employ your resources for the betterment of our fellow human beings, not for the callous aggregation of political and economic power.


Schofield is an independent analyst with more than 40 years experience providing services under contract to the U.S. government, including 8 member agencies of the U.S. intelligence community.