Ed. Note: The following excerpts are from an op-ed for Fox News written by Senator William "Bill" H. Frist, M.D., an American physician, businessman, and former Republican Senator from Tennessee who served as the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate. You can read the full op-ed here.
When crisis strikes, the world looks to the United States for leadership. And that holds true for public health emergencies.
That is why it is critically important for the United States to remain on offense. To this end, the Obama administration last week requested $6.2 billion in emergency funding from Congress for the Ebola response.
This request supports what we know we must do to counter this disease: tackle it on the front lines, fortify our domestic health infrastructure, pursue vaccines and therapeutics and improve our capacity for rapid diagnostic testing, among other key steps.
Some of these funds would be spent at home, while part would go toward the international response. But to be clear, every single dollar would help protect the American people from this threat, which must remain the priority.
Some have urged for the imposition of a travel ban to protect against additional Ebola cases reaching our shores. As a doctor, however, I know that our strategy must be guided by science. And as a former U.S. senator, I strongly believe we must not institute policies chock full of unintended consequences. A travel ban would run afoul of both principles.
Any ban would incentivize would-be travelers to mask their point of origin, take irregular travel routes and evade the robust screening measures now in place.
The Obama administration has made this argument, but this is not a partisan finding. The administration of George W. Bush -- during whose time in office I served as the Republican Senate majority leader -- also deemed travel bans to be ineffective in the face of communicable disease. This is about sound science and smart policy, not politics.
All the while, we know the most effective way to protect the American people is to extinguish this fire at its source. The U.S. military is playing a major role in doing so, but the U.S. and international response must appropriately remain civilian-led.
The axiom holds true that we must isolate Ebola, not countries. And the dedicated and brave Americans who serve on the front lines will be key to helping us do so.