Friday, February 23, 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: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nationís conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places ó South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington ó as survivors, victimsí families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

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Published: 02/21/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

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Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18