Culture

Eight-Hour Waits at U.S. Airports for Virus Screenings Called 'Unacceptable' and 'Atrocious'

In this Saturday, March 14, 2020 photo provided by Elizabeth Pulvermacher travelers returning from Madrid wait in a coronavirus screening line at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. (Elizabeth Pulvermacher via AP)

There wasn’t much “social distancing” at U.S. airports Saturday as the ban on travel to Europe resulted in 7- and 8-hour waits at airports for virus screening.

The situation at Dallas/Fort Worth airport was described as “atrocious, no semblance of a line beyond the barriers and no officials or staff around to direct.”

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker called the situation at O’Hare “unacceptable,” among other, more colorful epithets.

It appears that the crush of passengers at 11 airports where travelers were steered caught the TSA by surprise. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot weirdly referred to the travel ban as “reactionary” and blamed it all on Trump.

Chicago Sun-Times:

Earlier Saturday at the state’s daily coronavirus news conference, the city’s top health department official said that airport screening procedures are determined at the federal level.

“And our concern is when travelers are not getting full information when returning,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. “It’s really making sure they understand what to watch for, what symptoms, where to reach out if they need to.

The CBP said it was aware of the problem and working to address it.

“Our goal is and remains to process passengers as safely and efficiently as possible,” the agency wrote in the statement. “We appreciate the patience of the traveling public as we deal with this unprecedented situation.

“We’re continuing to balance our efficiencies with ensuring the health and safety of all American citizens through enhanced medical screening in accordance with CDC guidelines due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing is more important than the safety, health and security of our citizens.”

Crisis? What crisis? The Democratic politicians going off on Trump is to be expected. But what did these travelers expect? Leis and pretty girls kissing them on the cheek when they deplaned?

The woman is right. That crowd is a Petri dish of disease. Maybe the passengers would have preferred to deplane a few people at a time, like they should have. It would have taken days instead of hours to let all the passengers go.

America is not prepared for what’s coming. Revelers are already crowding bars in Chicago for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Governor Pritzker has been thinking about closing bars and restaurants but is apparently too busy whining about inaction from Trump. Mayor Lightfoot could close the bars, but she too is too busy playing politics.

And the people? Screw this social distancing crap, I wanna party. Meanwhile, people who don’t show any symptoms of Covid-19 and are infected may be playing a much larger role in giving it to others.

CNN:

New studies in several countries and a large coronavirus outbreak in Massachusetts bring into question reassuring assertions by US officials about the way the novel virus spreads.

These officials have emphasized that the virus is spread mainly by people who are already showing symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing. If that’s true, it’s good news, since people who are obviously ill can be identified and isolated, making it easier to control an outbreak.

But it appears that a Massachusetts coronavirus cluster with at least 82 cases was started by people who were not yet showing symptoms, and more than half a dozen studies have shown that people without symptoms are causing substantial amounts of infection.

All the bellyaching from politicians and finger-pointing can’t obscure the simple fact that there’s a helluva lot we don’t know about this bug and there’s probably a lot that we think we know but are wrong about. That’s the way science works — trial and error, question and answer.

The problem is, while scientists and experts figure it out, people are dying and everyone else’s life is severely impacted.