News that Ebola has arrived in the United States from Liberia and that many people may have already been exposed to the disease was yet one more reminder that “they” cannot completely protect everyone. There was always the chance it would arrive. By plane, or over open border — but somewhow. The spread of the disease has been modeled by the CDC as a Markov chain which measures the probability of going from one state to the other.
There was always a joint probability that someone from an Ebola zone could make their way across a series of paths to your city. In the beginning it was a nonzero but relatively small percentage. When applied to a small number of infected, the Markov value it would arrive in America was small. But as the population exposed to the disease increased, the number of times the dice was rolled increased until suddenly bingo: Ebola in Texas.
Nobody beats arithmetic. Not even “they” can. By opening the borders, or avoiding the trouble of preparedness in the belief that “it won’t happen to me,” they’ve changed the physical odds in favor of the virus. And the physical odds are what count. It’s witch doctor thinking to rely on “assurances” from political shamans for protection. Assurances are nothing but amulets from public policy voodoo doctors to make you think “they” can alter reality.
Chris Matthews found out that fact the hard way when he confronted Zeke Emanuel with the objection that “the president promised”:
On MSNBC’s Hardball tonight, host Chris Matthews tussled with Obamacare architect Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel over the how serious a threat Ebola is to Americans. Matthews and Emanuel also spar over President Obama saying it was “unlikely” that an Ebola case would strike the U.S.
“Obama said it was unlikely. It has happened. It’s here,” Matthews said.
The actual exchange went:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I’m just trying to follow the logic here. Everybody’s being told, don’t worry unless they have the infectious symptoms, you can see them, that you don’t have to worry about catching them. Yet, this guy picked up the disease apparently from somebody who did not have the infectious symptoms.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: Again, don’t hypothesize because we just don’t know. We have no idea what he did or didn’t do and how he got it. I’m sure that’s going to be vital information to try to understand the transmission, but the idea that there’s going to be a widespread outbreak here, I think is just, again, it’s a bit of fear mongering. We have a single case. This is not a big, widespread –
MATTHEWS: Yeah, yeah, but I’m just going back to the president’s statement, doctor, and that is that the president said it would be unlikely if we had a case in this country. Unlikely to even have one case. You want to see the tape again?
EMANUEL: He said there wouldn’t be an Ebola outbreak.
MATTHEWS: No, and in the second part of his sentence he said in the unlikely case someone brings it here. In the unlikely case someone brings it here. Well, they’ve done it. We’re living in the world of the unlikely already. That’s all I’m saying. I’m not fear mongering. I’m stating the facts and I wonder if everybody else is.