Despite opposing a travel ban to prevent the spread of the ebola virus 6 years ago and the one President Trump instituted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the left-leaning online publication, Vox, has recently admitted travel bans to prevent the spread of disease do work.
Citing Vietnam’s efforts, Vox‘s recent admission that travel bans were pointless was based on very little evidence. From the article:
“Vietnam is now among a few countries upending the global health community’s “almost religious belief that travel restrictions are bad,” said Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University global health law professor who helped write the international law governing how countries should deal with outbreaks.
“I have now realized,” Gostin added, “that our belief about travel restrictions was just that — a belief. It was evidence-free.””
However, in Vox’s latest news story, they attempt to save face by not putting links of their stories containing false information until near the end:
“During the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola epidemic and early in the Covid-19 pandemic, I co-wrote popular stories detailing this evidence and arguing against the use of such restrictions. And I wasn’t alone.
Bill Gates pointed out that then-President Donald Trump’s approach to Covid-19 travel bans probably made the US epidemic worse. The WHO’s International Health Regulations, an international law governing 196 countries’ responses to outbreaks, says countries should “avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade” and follow the WHO’s expert advice. With every global health emergency declared after SARS, the WHO has not recommended travel restrictions.
At the same time, speaking out against travel bans had become synonymous with opposing nationalism and wall-building, said Lee. “There were these progressive, human rights values that were upheld by not using travel measures.”
But it’s now clear that the well-meaning advice and previous research findings didn’t match up with the situation the world was facing in early 2020. The new virus was different — more contagious and harder to stop. SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted prior to the onset of symptoms, if they ever occur — while with SARS and Ebola, for example, people are only contagious when they are very ill or symptomatic.”
Their consistency certainly felt good but their opposition to travel bans were grounded in partisanship and political subtext but not actual proof. In fact, closing borders and implementing other measures to control the spread of disease in some ways actually does work.