Rep. Darrell Issa humiliated himself on CNN today. While criticizing President Obama’s Ebola response, Issa held up his smartphone to show the world how easy it would be to monitor body temperatures on our phones. Unfortunately for him, the phone gave him the weather forecast, not his body temperature.
CROWLEY: Because, in Africa, I’m told a lot of it has to do with inserting I.V. fluids and less about dealing, because they have so many cases that are dying — so it’s more about dehydration than about most other things.
But, having said that, let’s say I have two non-doctors forget that conversation for a moment, because I’m not sure you answered the question. The question is, is — we understand why the governors may have done it. Is it a good idea?
ISSA: Science has told us, if we are to take them at their word, that if somebody does not have an elevated temperature or the other later symptoms, that we can rely on them not being contagious.
If that’s true, then immediate isolation of people for 21 days is not the answer. Again, trust matters. If we had begun this process by saying you have to monitor people continuously coming into this country for 10 days — now we think it’s 11 or 12 — and know whether their temperature rises to know if they were exposed, and we’re doing that, then I think the public would have confidence.
But, in this case, we didn’t do that. We had Mr. Duncan come in with elevated temperature. We weren’t checking it. And now we’re playing catchup.
The important thing is, we need to agree that we made mistakes. Government needs to have a plan. And, Candy, some of the plans are pretty straightforward. I — I — you know, when I was coming in, I looked and I said, you know how many apps are on the iPhone that you can monitor your temperature continuously?
We need to ask how are we going to have everyone coming into this country who may have had contact, how are we going to make it easy, predictable and verifiable that we’re knowing their temperatures for those next X-amount of days?
If we do that, then we have a monitoring system that can prevent this kind of individual action by the states. If we don’t do that, then the American people are asking their governors to protect them.
At one point, Issa held up his iPhone to demonstrate how easy it would be for people to take their own temperatures, but Rep. Issa may need to get to a hospital, because there was something very wrong with the image on his screen:
While explaining how easy it would be for everyone to monitor their temperatures with their phones, Issa held up a phone with a weather app on it for the world to see. Without realizing it, Issa sabotaged the very point that he was trying to make. Issa also clearly doesn’t understand that most of the body temperature apps on iTunes are clearly marked for entertainment purposes only. The accurate apps are the ones that come with thermometers that plug into your phone. Thus, the only way a phone can effectively be used to measure body temperature is if it is attached to a thermometer.
Rep. Issa was wrong. The American people can’t defeat Ebola with their smartphones. It is going to take good, old fashioned screening and monitoring of people who might be at risk. However, if you want to know if it is going to rain on Wednesday, Darrell Issa’s smartphone has got you covered.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association