Update: Kaci Hickox’s real friends should have a good long talk with her about her over-reaction to the quarantine for a very good reason. Hickox does not know what her infection status is. That’s because the diagnostic for ebola isn’t accurate until a person displays symptoms. If it turns out that in a couple of days she does get sick, she and all her defenders who are trying to make her out to be a martyr to New Jersey’s oppressive public health system are going to suffer a severe backlash that will undermine their credibility. Is that wise?? I mean, with all of the lunatic Republicans ready to seal the US off from the rest of the world, do we really need a potentially sick Nurse Hickox to become a poster child for ebola? I’m surprised that they aren’t thinking about this and begging Hickox to dial it back and set a better example for others to follow.
Also, I am going to reiterate my suggestion to the politicians to work on getting employers to pay the salaries of employees who are involuntarily quarantined, make it possible for those who can work remotely to do so, and prevent discrimination when they return to work. It’s part of their civic duty. Oh, and get the states that refused to extend Medicaid to pay for the treatment of indigent patients. Better to get in front of the problem now. Ebola is not the only nasty disease in the world.
I’m blogging from my iPhone because I am irritated with nurse Kaci Hickox’s pathetic whining about being put in quarantine when she returned from Sierra Leone after she treated ebola patients.
Apparently, she is taking umbrage at the fact that she was quarantined in NJ and they were terse with her. She doesn’t have a fever, says she. But Dr. Spencer also thought he was magically free of ebola when he returned from West Africa. He was so confident of his superpowers to fight off infection that he rode the subway while he was just shy of being violently ill.
Presumably, Dr. Spencer and other healthcare workers should be aware that they are not invincible and should keep themselves off of public transportation. But we have learned, much to our chagrin, that overconfidence trumps sanity and consideration for the lives of others. I don’t think a travel ban is necessary or useful but it is apparently necessary to keep an eye on health care workers if for no other reason than to keep major metropolitan areas from freaking out.
Quarantines used to be common back in the olden days when we didn’t have cures for deadly diseases, nurse Hickox. (See this PBS Nova primer on the history of quarantine) You are not special. Ebola doesn’t care how self-sacrificing you are. If you are truly as good and wonderful as you say you are, you will take an old cold tater and wait out your time in isolation. You aren’t a criminal. Just a possible carrier. Grow up.
More on the quarantine: Viral infections don’t have a political ideology but our responses to them apparently do. Republicans are nauseatingly reflexive when it comes to saving themselves at the cost of pissing off every other interest and people who voluntarily put themselves in danger to aid others. Some lefties have their minds so wide open that their brains have fallen out and they move too far in the “there’s nothing to worry about, you stupid yahoos” camp.
There most certainly is something to worry about. The epidemic in West Africa is a genuine crisis that has global implications if it is not controlled. Ebola has no cure and we don’t know if any vaccine developed so far is safe or effective. Likewise, we don’t know if ZMapp even works. Add to this the absence of a “pee on a stick” diagnostic that would allow us to identify infected people before they potentially get on a subway and throw up on everyone within a three meter radius. This is no time to become complacent.
Quarantines are not prison sentences and anyone exaggerating the horrors of involuntarily detention in New Jersey* due to possible infection of a deadly disease is as careless and irrational as the morons calling for us to seal off our borders. Stupidity, like viral infections, does not respect political affiliation.
One more thing: Yes, Yves, all bodily fluids are potentially infectious once people start getting sick. Since we don’t know when they will cross that threshold from being merely fatigued to feverish, sweating and throwing up, it’s best they stay away from public transportation. And here’s something else that is really disturbing: the ebola virus can persist in semen for up to three months after a victim has cleared it from the rest of his body. So, there, Yves. Look it up.
* Kaci Hickox’s complaints about her treatment sound like a litany of first world problems. She was given a granola bar when she told her detainers that she was hungry. She was held in a “tent” on the grounds of the hospital and it was unheated. Please. We’re having a nice Indian Summer here in the Northeast. Put a fricking sweater on. (Now, she’s complaining to her mother that cell phone reception sucks in her isolation unit. It’s NEWARK, for Pete’s sakes. Cell phone reception is notoriously spotty anywhere in the Newark-Manhattan area. New Jerseyans have to put up with this all year round. The cell tower is not singling you out.) Really, you’d think she’d just spent a month at Club Med instead of one of the poorest countries in the world. I’m embarrassed for her. Apparently, she’s never volunteered to provide health care in parts of North Philly where there is genuine American hardship and poverty that is rapidly devolving into third world conditions. Hard to believe she made the front page of the NYTimes with her sob story.