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I smell a (plague) rat

Something about what just happened this past weekend reminds me of the strong armed railroading the blogosphere experienced during the 2008 primary season.  Clearly, we have learned nothing.

I listened to hours of Johns Hopkins ebola forum videos, read what I could, and tried to sift the “freaking out” crap from real science and came to the conclusion that if it’s important to stop ebola from reaching Kinchasa, it’s just as important to stop it from taking off in NY/NJ for the very same reasons.  And what did we just see?  We saw a nurse who should have been responsible and mature lose her head like a two year having a tantrum because Chris Christie hadn’t given her four star accommodations while his health department figured out what to do with her.

Hey, I don’t like the asshole governor either but this ridiculous overreaction from Hickox isn’t doing anyone any good.  She should still be isolated for 21 days, just like everyone else who has been around infectious ebola patients.

And what’s with this sudden aversion to quarantine?  How does ebola differ from any other disease for which we have no cure?  It doesn’t.  But for some reason, just because we’re living in the 21st century we’re going to turn our backs on the past?  It can’t happen to us?

Whatever happened to “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?  A quarantine or enforced isolation is worth a whole lot of panic prevention.

In any case, the political machinations that went on last weekend over tantrum throwing nurse has been only partially successful.  Governor Christie looks like a bully until you point out that he has the ultimate authority to enforce a quarantine in his state, not the CDC. It’s not like he is actively defying the CDC’s orders.  He’s looking at the most densely packed state in the union and calculating how to contain a hypothetical outbreak in a place where every municipality is its own fiefdom.

I have overheard others say that if Kaci Hickox didn’t like the way she has been treated in NJ, maybe she would prefer a holding pen at an airport in West Africa.  Oh yeah, no joke.  That’s what the average Joe thinks, as outrageous as that might seem. They’re much more inclined to impose a travel ban now.  She didn’t do her cause any good whatsoever because the first thing these people are thinking is that she can’t be trusted to stay in isolation voluntarily and despite her do-gooder status, she should know in advance what she’s getting into.

So, congratulations whoever you are who cooked up this whole scheme to introduce politics into what should have been alert vigilance.  I suspect that you are the same people who gave us Obama, judging by the manipulations of group dynamics I have seen employed.

I am not a panicker but the s%^( you people have pulled in the last couple of days has me very afraid of what might happen if we do get a genuine outbreak.  You people can not be trusted to save anything but your own skins.

One other note: Some ebola victims never develop a fever.  Most do but there have been instances where a fever is absent, according to Michael Osterholm at the Johns Hopkins Ebola Forum.

31 Responses

  1. Revoke her nursing license…obviously, she was absent on the day(s) they taught infectious diseases…she should also reimburse the state for any expenses incurred on her behalf…I really need to work on my medieval reactions to these situations.

    • The PR campaign on her behalf did not win her any converts in my neck of the woods. And I’ve only been listening. I haven’t joined this conversation.
      IMHO, Cuomo and DeBlasio got this right. They need to stay at home with twice daily visits from the public health department and with compensation for their detention.
      Quarantine shouldn’t be difficult.

  2. “Revoke her nursing license…”

    That sound about right. The rightwingnuts have been researching this poor excuse for a human being, and look what they’ve already turned up.

    √ √ Democrat
    √√ √ Female
    √ √ √ √ √ Gay
    √ √ √ Liberal-Activist (another site said she was a Progressive!)
    √ Northeast (Maine)
    √ √ Federal Employee


    I really don’t know how much worse it could be unless she also has a hobby of drowning baby puppies.

    “But by Saturday morning, Christie’s display of leadership — which had been a subtle signal that he could handle the crisis management of the presidency, by the way — was in peril.”


    At a Reason blog the fellow actually used the term “grandstanding”.


    As another poster here suggested a couple days ago, if Goonish Government hadn’t been in the news so much lately, the fat bridge-closer might have gotten away with his new pose as a Medical Expert.

    • √ √ Democrat
      √√ √ Female
      √ √ √ √ √ Gay
      √ √ √ Liberal-Activist (another site said she was a Progressive!)
      √ Northeast (Maine)
      √ √ Federal Employee

      You say it like it was a*bad* thing. If she weren’t a rebel without a cause, I’d actually like her credentials

  3. So Nurse Pham, now ebola free, goes to the White House and Obama gives her a hug. All well and good; she’s ebola free.
    But, what is this “progressive” hue and cry about quarantine?
    Are they outraged that we’re “othering” ebola carriers?
    I mean it’s a pretty elementary concept, no?
    It’s a twenty one day quarantine, not a concentration camp.
    Have I told you, lately, how much I hate the word progressive?
    Someone once said that no society is under an obligation to commit suicide.

  4. If Obama changes his mind and orders quarantines, how many of the people currently protesting against them will suddenly decide they are a great idea?

    • No idea. In general, lefties are more independent thinkers. Obots are an anomaly.

  5. “The Plague Rats” would be a great name for a rock band, as would “The Infectious Saints”, from an earlier post. :mrgreen:

  6. I would like to say that Christie’s ham handed handling of this is part of the problem.

  7. Riverdaughter
    You make some valid points. However…
    The 2 stooges, Christie & Cuomo, are simply craven and corrupt political opportunists strutting across the public stage to win votes and financial contributions, who ran smack into Nurse Ratched. And it serves them right if she sues them. If you’re going to declare something as drastic as a general quarantine, you would think it was important to prepare the public for it and train and prepare the “quarantiners” to do their job in civilized, efficient and reasonably knowledgeable manner. I am pretty sure the people who “interrogated” Nurse Ratched were the same thugs and grumbling gatekeeper gestapo who grill suspected illegal immigrants, smugglers and imagined terrorists at NY & NJ ports of entry. The same security goons and morons who pat down 93-year-old grannies in wheelchairs. And who, doubtless, were thinking, “Why the eff do I have to do this? The beyatch is gonna give me the ebola!” Never mind the granola bar stuff, this was wreckless political grandstanding by two ginormous mountebanks.

    • I disagree. The best way to prevent panic is to be proactive so that you have nothing to panic about.
      We have to take in to account the timeline. Hickox was put into quarantine about 36 hours after dr spencer was diagnosed with ebola. If you recall correctly, spencer had been riding the MTA the night before he showed up at the hospital even though he was supposed to be self monitoring and staying off public transportation.
      People tend to forget just how crowded NYC and NJ is. So, here comes this nurse from west Africa. She’s bren taking care of ebola patients. She flies into Newark liberty, one of the busiest airports in the country, and she fails the temp test. They decide to keep her. What does Christie do? He hastily assembled an isolation unit. Remember the time here. He hadn’t had time to upgrade her accommodations. Btw, the university hospitals aren’t bad places. The food is average for hospitals. The staff is about as nice as you’re going to get in nj. It’s just more no nonsense.
      Hickox didn’t give anyone time to make her comfy. No, she just started screaming immediately. Then there is the issue as to what to do with her afterwards? What airline in the country is going to carry her back to Maine?
      Yeah, I think her behavior was selfish and immature. I’m not backing down from that assessment. She didn’t give a shit about the millions of people in Nj. She didn’t care that they were trying to figure out the right response. No, all she cared about was her own comfort. She wasn’t interested in collaborating with the public health system or setting a good example.
      I just hope for her sake that she doesn’t get sick. The diagnostic tests are notoriously unreliable until symptoms appear and some people never get a fever before they get the other symptoms. So, good luck to nurse WATB. If she does get sick, there will be pitchforks.

    • Yup. I’d say the only tantrums thrown were by the two governors, except that those weren’t tantrums. They were cynical calculations that they could get more political mileage out of cheerleading panic than by using whatever pulpit they’ve got to give people the facts.

      Which are:

      1) Ebola is not contagious before symptoms appear. It’s not even contagious yet when fever appears, which is almost always the first symptom.

      2) Especially when you’re dealing with trained health workers, you can expect them to recognize the first signs, even if they have the rare situation where fever is not the first symptom.

      3) Quarantine works best when it’s carried out with the willing and informed cooperation of the population affected.

      4) Quarantine does not work at all when it’s done in an atmosphere of panic and coercion. Then people try to avoid it and the disease actually spreads more.

      The points about quarantine are in any basic epidemiology textbook. Quarantine can be medically necessary. It has to be a medical decision, not a political one.

      • Here’s my objection to that flawless logic (I’m serious):
        1.) Ebola is not contagious before symptoms appear. However, symptoms, like fever, do not always appear. (See the Michael Osterholm video from the Johns Hopkins Ebola Forum) I guess some people go from being perfectly asymptomatic to throwing up very quickly. So, a temperature reading and self-monitoring isn’t always adequate.
        2.) Maybe we can expect trained health care workers to recognize the first signs. But Friedan still says they shouldn’t be using public transportation. Presumably, they should also know this. It hasn’t stopped some of them from doing it anyway.
        3.) I’m not sure this is correct. Typhoid Mary was quarantined for years against her will to stop the spread of typhoid. The pathogen doesn’t really care if the vector is willing to be quarantined. It’s stopped from infecting people because the vector is isolated. The cooperation of the vector is not required strictly speaking.
        4.) YES!!! This is correct. That’s why Friedan, Fauci and others were so averse to a travel ban. We don’t want potentially infected people taking a workaround. We want them to pass through our ports of entry so we can track them. But that has nothing to do with panic and coercion. I see NYC and NJ as a pathogen’s paradise. It’s dense (in more ways than one), the hospital system can handle only a limited number of patients and not all of those residents are insured (Christie only recently applied for Medicaid expansion). This may be counterintuitive to the rest of the country that has never lived in NYC-NJ, but the best way to prevent panic there is to make sure nothing potentially as lethal and infectious as ebola gets through.

        By even the CDC’s standards, Hickox was a high risk individual. The conditions in some of the countries dealing with the epidemic are atrocious. The hospitals use cholera beds where the waste from these patients pass through a hole in the mattress to a bucket on the floor. Is it possible that Hickox was never splashed with infectious material? Ehhhhh, I’m thinking it’s doubtful.

        I don’t know who she is or what she was asked to do but my tin foil antenna are twitching. If it had been me, I would have cooperated with the public health department and tried to work out a solution to get the comforts I needed or some in home isolation with frequent visits. That’s just me. I might be a pain in the ass on the blog but there are some rules in life that are not to be challenged. One is traffic rules. No need to speed or drive recklessly. It puts others in danger. Likewise, I wouldn’t fight an isolation or quarantine. Nope. I guarantee I wouldn’t do it, especially if I were a high risk, potentially infected person who arrived in a major crowded airport less than 36 hours after another high risk health care worker put people’s nerves on edge. I just wouldn’t. I would think that screaming about a granola bar, shitty cell phone reception and no shower facilities in my unit would be adding to the problem. It draws attention to high risk health care workers and the possibility of infection, increasing the panic potential. Instead, these workers should pass through the ports and into isolation as quietly as possible so as to not arouse panic at all. She was an epic FAIL in this respect.

        And so it seems to have done just that. No one I have heard thinks she should have been let back into the country. (Disclaimer: I am not one of those people. I am definitely on Friedan and Fauci’s side in this and understand why they don’t want a travel ban. If I were them, I’d want her to stick a sock in it and not make it worse) Period. That would have been the issue with item number 4 above.

        I understand why some people have fallen for her schtick. She’s well connected and educated. I think that’s how we ended up with the administration we got.

  8. In happier news, the Royals are ahead 7-0 in the 3rd inning.

  9. I heard on the news today that nurse Hickox announces today that if she isn’t given her “freedom” by the Maine authorities tomorrow, she will launch her ready-to-go lawsuit.

    She ( and that doctor) are making a very good case for holding-pen quarantine of all volunteers returning from Ebolastan. Said holding-pen facility to be located in Ebolastan. But make it nice. Like a Marriott Hotel.

    • Ok, so Christie (the asshole) is no longer involved. I suppose it’s the governor of Maine’s fault now.
      IMHO, she’s Friedan and Fauci’s worst nightmare.

      • That seemed to be her implication, yes. If she doesn’t get her “freedom”, she will sue.

        I wonder if we are sniffing for rat in all the right places. What if she is a secret agent for ISIS and she went there to get infected and bring the infection back here? And is now bitter that her “suicide germbomber” mission may be foiled?

        I don’t really believe that, of course. But in a crazy world, it might be good practice to start thinking crazy things just to prepare for crazy scenarios.

        • I’m thinking not. She just doesn’t seem to want to stay with the team, so to speak.

          • She may indeed be getting her revenge for a nasty reception by asshole shitheel first-interceptors.

          • Are you saying her motive is vengeance? The whole situation is getting to be more and more bizarre. It’s almost like she’s turned on by the publicity regardless of what it might be doing to her cause.

          • I wasn’t thinking “grand Vengeance”. More like petty spite occasioned by impolite treatment at the airport. But after having heard her herself on the radio, I think she could bring out the assholy shitheelness in the nicest people. So who knows who threw the first punch?

            Maybe, as I think I understand you to be saying, she is getting addicted to her fifteen minutes of fame and wants more fifteen-minute hits.

  10. Yesterday I went to the local hospital to have a bone density scan
    and I was given a form to fill out asking if I had been to
    any of the countries on this list within the last 21 days. The countries
    were all those countries affected by the Ebola
    outbreak. I was pleasantly surprised that they were proactive and I asked if anyone had checked yes. I was told a a few had and it didn’t occur to me until later to ask what did they do for those people.

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