Thursday, April 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Dangerous catchup game with Ebola

After a slow start, the world community is finally reacting to the Ebola outbreak in Africa. The decision last week by two of the hardest-hit nations, Liberia and Sierra Leone, to deploy military forces in an effort to wall-off at-risk communities shows how desperate and unprepared these nations are to deal with the crisis on their own. Now labeled a global health emergency, the outbreak is hardly one that respects national borders. The United States, United Nations and other major players need to act with more focus and urgency.

As of Friday, according to the World Health Organization, 1,779 confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola virus infection had been reported, with 961 people killed. Ebola outbreaks occur primarily in remote areas of Central and West Africa. The virus is transmitted to people through contact with infected animals and spread throughout the population through human contact with infected blood and bodily fluids. There is no known cure for the fast-moving disease, which has a mortality rate of up to 90 percent. About 54 percent of those infected in the current outbreak have died.

Deploying forces to contain the movement of people to and from infected areas should help with managing the outbreak, especially given that Liberia and Sierra Leone account for nearly two-thirds of those killed. The move also should make it easier for authorities to target public education campaigns where they are needed. Some of the heaviest lifting involves changing social norms, such as impressing the need for people to exercise safer hygiene when handling the sick or burying the dead.

President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the United States is sending medical teams to West Africa. The U.S. is also working with the African Union to create the equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nation's health protection agency, in Africa to strengthen the public health care system on that continent. That is a significant step that should bring new technical expertise, financial assistance and clinical facilities to communities across Africa, bringing much-needed primary care to the local level. The World Health Organization also announced Friday that this worst Ebola outbreak in history constituted a global health emergency, a finding that should bring new attention and resources to this fight.

The outbreak has raised questions about medical ethics after two U.S. aid workers but no Africans afflicted by the disease were given an experimental drug to fight the virus. Obama struck the right chord by underscoring that the jury is out on the drug and highlighting the need for early intervention instead.

The federal government should work quickly in reviewing treatment options for Ebola, but any drug or vaccine must be safe before being allowed to proceed to the open market. The focus now should be on providing Africa with the tools that are known to work — trained personnel, clinical capacity and a public education campaign that can stop the virus from spreading.

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Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

Editorial: Improving foster care in Hillsborough

A new foster care provider in Hillsborough County is poised to take over operations in May, only months after its predecessor was fired for what was alleged to be a pattern of failing to supervise at-risk children in its care. Many of the case manage...
Published: 04/18/18

Another voice: Back to postal reform

President Donald Trump is angry at Amazon for, in his tweeted words, "costing the United States Post Office massive amounts of money for being their Delivery Boy." Yet in more recent days, Trump has at least channeled his feelings in what could prove...
Published: 04/17/18
Updated: 04/18/18
Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

Editorial: Congress should protect independence of special counsel

A bipartisan Senate bill clarifying that only the attorney general or a high-ranking designee could remove a special prosecutor would send an important message amid President Donald Trump’s attacks on the investigation into Russia’s inter...
Published: 04/16/18
Updated: 04/17/18
Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

Editorial: Donít fall for Constitution Revision Commissionís tricks

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission has wasted months as a politically motivated scam masquerading as a high-minded effort to ask voters to improve the stateís fundamental document. The commission on Monday added amendments to the November b...
Published: 04/16/18
Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Editorial: Rednerís court win on medical marijuana sends message

Florida regulators have done far too little to make voter-approved medical marijuana widely available for patients suffering from chronic illnesses. A circuit court judge in Tallahassee ruled last week there is a price for that obstruction, finding t...
Published: 04/15/18
Updated: 04/16/18
Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Editorial: Hillsborough commission should quit expanding urban area

Any movement on modernizing local transportation is welcome, even small steps like the million dollars the state recently approved to design a Tampa Bay regional transit plan.But the region wonít make any progress on transportation, its single most p...
Published: 04/13/18
Updated: 04/18/18

Editorial: Fight harder on citrus greening

A new report by scientists advising the federal government finds no breakthrough discovery for managing citrus greening, a chronic disease killing Floridaís citrus industry. This should be a wake-up call to bring greater resources to the fight.The re...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18

Editorial: Floridians should focus more on health

A new snapshot of the nationís health shows a mixed picture for Florida and the challenges that residents and the health care community face in improving the quality of life.Americans are living longer, exercising more and doing better at managing th...
Published: 04/11/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Editorial: 5 key issues where Scott, Nelson differ in Senate race

Gov. Rick Scott kicked off his U.S. Senate campaign last week by reciting tired lines about career politicians and mischaracterizing himself as an outsider. That pitch may have worked during the tea party wave eight years ago, but now the Republican ...
Published: 04/10/18
Updated: 04/13/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

Editorial: St. Petersburg should move carefully on banning straws

St. Petersburg city officials are exploring how to cut down on single-use plastic straws, a commendable effort to make the city even more environmentally minded. But to succeed, City Council members should craft a modest, reasonable restriction that ...
Published: 04/10/18