Just a touch of bravery, logic would help a lot vs. Ebola

Kaci Hickox, an American nurse who volunteered to fight Ebola with Doctors Without Borders, returned home to the United States over the weekend. Hickox was healthy, not to mention brave, but the country she returned to was neither. Fear, ignorance and political pandering had taken its toll.

Upon Hickox’ arrival and her volunteered statement that she was returning from Sierra Leone, she was stopped and detained at Newark International Airport for seven hours. She was then taken by police escort to a New Jersey hospital, where she was quarantined outside, in a tent, against her will and against the advice of public health experts. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie publicly pronounced Hickox as “obviously ill” and said she would not be allowed to leave quarantine for 21 days.

But Christie is not a physician, and Hickox was not and is not ill. She had been tested for Ebola and the tests came back negative. She has displayed no symptoms of Ebola. She cannot infect anyone with a disease that she does not have. She was forcibly quarantined due to a gross overreaction based not on science or medicine but on fear, and perhaps on political showboating.

And after insisting that he harbored no second thoughts about his decision and would not reconsider it, Christie today released Hickox and allowed her to leave for her home in Maine.

“It is not a sound public health decision and well thought out,” Hickox told CNN during the three days she was confined in that tent. “Many of the experts in the field have come out to agree with me. So I think that we need to stress the fact that we don’t need politicians to make these kinds of decisions. We need public health experts to make these decisions.”

That’s exactly right. If this is how we treat people who volunteer to go fight Ebola, fewer people will volunteer to fight Ebola. If fewer people volunteer to fight Ebola, the disease will spread more quickly and be more difficult to stop. A problem that is still manageable can become unmanageable. A fear-driven policy intended to try to protect against the disease will instead help it to spread.

Even before the botching of the Hickox case, international experts were warning that we’re facing a shortage of thousands of trained medical people in west Africa to confront the epidemic.** “It’s just an unintended consequence,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institutes of Health, pointed out. “If we don’t have our people volunteering to go over there, then you’re going to have other countries that are not going to do it, and then the epidemic will continue to roar.”

Logically, under the policy initially adopted by Christie, and also by officials in Florida, Illinois and New York, even those doctors and nurses who are treating Ebola patients here in the United States would have to be quarantined as well. Like Hickox, they too have been exposed to ill patients. It’s just dumb.

And I’m grateful that so far at least, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has not succumbed to the irrational and fearful. Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport is one of five U.S. airports designated to accept and screen travelers from nations dealing with Ebola, and it would set a particularly bad example if Atlanta, the home of the Centers for Disease Control, the most-respected disease fighters in the world, adopted a policy so at odds with scientific reality. It would also greatly complicate the CDC’s work at a time when it is needed most.

Surely, we can be brave enough to tolerate the infinitesimal odds of contracting Ebola here at home while others travel directly to the front lines to fight it on our behalf.
—————-
**(The country that has contributed more medical workers than any other nation is Cuba, and Cubans will help staff the clinics that US soldiers are building in west Africa.)

Reader Comments 0

859 comments
BeeJay
BeeJay

"Brave enough to tolerate the infinitesimal odds of contracting Ebola"?  Has nothing to do with bravery, but common sense and protection of the well-being of our citizens.  Odds may be "infinitesimal" but we know of 3 who caught it, 2 caring for the same patient.  It's rather arrogant for a person to insist they need not be quarantined for a period because they're not sick, even though they've been in contact with someone or several someones who ARE sick, with a deadly disease.  Why does altruism have to have anything to do with it?  Why doesn't her altruism extend to her fellow U.S. citizens?

To mr bookman and all the rest of you making this political, shame on you.  You can pick on Christie, but the NY governor has the same restrictions regarding citizens exposed to Ebola, and he is a Democrat.  You'd all be singing a different tune if Cuomo had demanded this.  Shame on you.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

"Governor Nathan Deal orders Monday that travelers entering Georgia who had direct contact with an Ebola patient will be “subject to quarantine at a designated facility,” even if they show no symptoms."


And now you hear the sound of the stadium when your team is about to make a touchdown and they fumble on the 2 yard line. 



hank89
hank89

The problem with a mandatory quarantine, even if done at home, is that it can discourage heath care workers from volunteering to fight the virus at its source in West Africa. Doctors Without Borders, the nongovernmental organization that has led the battle there, typically sends its workers on arduous four- to six-week assignments. The risk of being quarantined for another 21 days upon return has already prompted some people to reduce their length of time in the field and may discourage others from volunteering in the first place.


An editorial published Monday in The New England Journal of Medicine cited estimates that tens of thousands of additional volunteers will be needed to control the epidemic and warned that a mandatory 21-day quarantine, for people who are not sick and may never become sick, would be “more destructive than beneficial.” Policies that will reduce the chances of recruiting additional volunteers — without actually protecting the public — will only make the Ebola crisis worse.


The NYTimes 


Why worry about ebola at all? It is just a disease. Quarantines never work anyway. But, Cuomo and Christy have jumped on the bandwagon and neither of them are tea partiers or rwingers.

lvg
lvg

Political theater by Christie and Nathan Deal . I assume all the Emory medical staff who treated Nurse Vinson will be quarantined by Deal  and given a porta potty , kept in a tent and given one granola bar a day.

stands_for_decibels
stands_for_decibels

Really remarkable that a guy running for re-election as Governor would actually nickle-and-dime over paying those folks' lost wages due to his quarantine policy. Folks brave and decent enough to go work among the most destitute and desperate among us.


Carter needs to beat the crap out of Deal over this.


Do it for Gramps, Jason. 

Cupofjoe
Cupofjoe

Fly-On-The-Wall

It is always fun to scan a few of the blogs- today we "learned" that the country was founded by left leaning folks while right leaning folks are second world.


As you blog today back and forth the below comes to mind:

A poet said: it is a mistake to believe you are surrounded by stupidity, although it may be true

 

stands_for_decibels
stands_for_decibels

so far at least, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has not succumbed to the irrational and fearful.  


only kinda/sorta, now.


http://politics.blog.ajc.com/2014/10/27/nathan-deal-backs-more-aggressive-ebola-quarantine-policy/


I was thinking about cutting Deal a bit of slack since the policy itself isn't super-unreasonable, until I happened upon this:


The governor also ruled out compensating lost wages for those who are quarantined.

I don’t think it’s right to ask the taxpayers of this state to pay for individuals who have perhaps put themselves in this category,” he said. “We are incurring the expense of all the monitoring and all the quarantining that may be associated with it. I certainly don’t think we need to compensate them for their lost time.”


it's ALWAYS about money-grubbing pettiness with these right-wing arseholes, isn't it?

Peachs
Peachs

The greatness of the country is its science and intelligence. No country on earth responds to crisis like we do, yet like India and its cows roaming the streets we have our distractions for a direct line of success. You can see it in different degrees in the states that lean right or left. The one leaning right or more second world in reality while the ones lean left really are more the America that got us here.

Peachs
Peachs

Communication in this new age of communication seems to be handicapped when it comes to educating the public. Inaccurate facts seem to be allowed to hang out there; I notice it, in frustration, in the general elections two years ago. Do we redesign our message to predict these inaccuracies, lead by predictable responses or stubbornly expect the public to eventually gather itself and correct its misconceptions?

There are cheap votes in quarantine, but the flip side is when one of these doctors or nurses, who bravely have treated the disease, gets sick 40 more people’s freedoms are compromise by the one, as they have to be quarantine, with far less likelihood of being diseased. Time is the only cure of the perception of Ebola, but in that time I hope we keep score of who was correct and who was encouraging unnecessary fear for personal gain.

stands_for_decibels
stands_for_decibels

More good stuff about what you already know, which is that Christie and Cuomo are flaming arseholes:


http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2014/10/chris-christies-ebola-blunder.html


I think that Christie, and also Cuomo, simply misread the nature of the public alarm. Despite the tone on cable news, and despite the wildly over-publicized decisions of a few parents in a few school districts to keep their kids home, there hasn't been a public panic over Ebola. People are still traveling on airplanes. They are not flooding the hospitals with anxieties that minor symptoms might portend Ebola. Everyone whose job it is to predict public opinion seems to have been bracing for a panic. But it hasn't come. A dumb and snotty cottage industry has developed in making fun of those who are freaking out. (As I write, the most-viewed story on The New Yorker's website is a "humor" column by Andy Borowitz titled, "Study: Fear of Ebola Highest Among People Who Did Not Pay Attention During Math and Science Classes.") But really there hasn't been much excess fear at all.

By the time this became apparent Christie had already adopted his customary pose — Davy Crockett at the barricades, seeing Comanches in the international-arrivals lounge at Newark Airport. He wouldn't be dissuaded by making "this woman uncomfortable" if she posed a threat. But when Kaci Hickox wrote an outraged story about her confinement in the Dallas Morning News, and when it became clear that public-health officials thought she posed no threat at all, Christie was left fulminating against an enemy that no one else saw. In this case, the public's sympathies were with the outsider.



stands_for_decibels
stands_for_decibels

http://rudepundit.blogspot.com/2014/10/the-rude-pundits-chicken-soup-for.html


So, sure, a doctor who treated patients in Guinea came home to the city. And, yes, he has Ebola. And, yes, he rode the trains and went bowling, probably had sex with his girlfriend, even. If you are someone who wants a travel ban on people from West Africa, are you saying that we should have just left him in Guinea, that we should leave Americans there?

Within 12 hours of this news, we got word that Nina Pham, the nurse who got Ebola treating the first Ebola patient in Dallas, is leaving the hospital, just fine. And by April, we could start having mass vaccinations of populations who are at risk for Ebola. Medicine and science. Who would have thought.

The Rude Pundit had a conversation today with a friend who lives in the South. She badly wants to leave, wants to move up here, to the Northeast. "You know what it is?" she said. "I just can't stand the Jesus crap anymore."

"I know," the Rude Pundit responded. "And it's like it's gotten worse in the last few years."

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

You are a 1000 times more likely to be impacted by alcohol than Ebola.  Why  aren't the right-wingers freaking out about that?

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

Hilarious! 

AS Jay Bookman was writing this very piece, nearly everyone in government, from the CDC to the states were writing and executing new stricter and more defined rules about how to treat ebola patients. 

Great Jay.  Don't let ongoing news get in the way of you writing and trying to sustain a failing career as an out-of-touch columnist. 

Peachs
Peachs

If there were a list of diseases in America that either captured the death toll or the actual infected, Ebola would have to be last on the list, any other disease with less than this number would have been eradicated.

We elect our state leaders in a week.The sober thought here is do we want an ethically challenged leader with obvious distraction towards personal gain controlling our population with marshal law? Do we have time in this generation to fight the problem and also question the motives of the people in charge? Why make that the question?

stands_for_decibels
stands_for_decibels

the wisdom of our td1234, sometime around Drunk O'Clock yesterday:


"Conservatives destroyed evil in the world but unfortunately Obama has allowed the evil to come back."

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

If businesses don't create jobs, who's responsible when they get shipped offshore?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Obozo cowardly and illogically quarantines Our Troops returning from Africa.

We need health experts making those decisions, not political fixers like Ebola czar Ron Klain.

Obozo: Illogical. Coward.

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@Cupofjoe Cupofjoe,  Thanks for your comments.  I didn't read those blogs but if that's what floats your boat and helps you get through each day then continue on with it.  I still strongly believe that reading skills are very important and based on your responses below plus this posting I can tell you need to brush up on those skills.  

I could really care less about which school is at the top.  I'm proud that GT is there but does GT represent the entire south?  No, of course it doesn't and that is what I was pointing out if you actually read what I posted.  You seem to believe that since GT is #1 that all Southern schools are better than any Northern school.  I don't think that's what I read from the list but again if that is what floats your boat then go for it.

stands_for_decibels
stands_for_decibels

@Cupofjoe


today I "learned" that Georgia is actually very smart because a teensy-tiny percentage of its residents attend a college located within the state that happened to top a rather arbitrary list based on SAT scores (which didn't, FWIW, include any other GA colleges in the top 30.)

td1234
td1234

@stands_for_decibels Well get your rich Democratic donors to stop putting billions in elections and start paying these healthcare workers when they come home and have to be put in isolation for 21 days. Why does it have to be the government to pay people?

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@Cupofjoe Cup: Gt is No 1 and is in Atlanta! Now who is stupid? The CE school is rated No 3 in the country!

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@Cupofjoe I agree with your statement.  On the whole there are more colleges NOT from the South on the list.  Sure GT is number one and there are some other Southern schools there but on the whole I see other great institutions of higher learning on the list.

WGA1990
WGA1990

@stands_for_decibels 

I support this woman and believe that she should indeed move to the Northeast. It would be great if all liberals living in the Southern United states were as brave as this woman and would also move to the Northeast.

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@tireOfIt Because it makes money for someone.  They've not yet found a way to 'financially' profit from ebola....yet.

Yes_Jesus_Can
Yes_Jesus_Can

@Peachs 

In three weeks--an interesting time Peachs--if you were infected today--let's say I have it, and, by way of example, brush something out of my eye and then shake your hand.  You do the same or you don't fully wash your hands before you grab a potato chip.  You could be infected and begin showing symptoms, if you were infected today, in less than three weeks.  If you didn't catch on to what you had, you could be lifeless before your favorite candidates were sworn in. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@stands_for_decibels The worst part about communicating in places like this is that people who post things like that envision an awed silence and can't hear the hysterical laughter.

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @stands_for_decibels Article the sixth... The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

RoadScholar
RoadScholar

@td1234 @stands_for_decibels Because GovMent is setting the rules. The military controls their folks, but citizens are not under the government control  under the constitution!

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@RoadScholar @Cupofjoe Reading is paramount Cup.  Yes, GT is #1 on the list as I stated however if you look at the overall list there is a dearth of southern schools.

Peachs
Peachs

@Yes_Jesus_Can @Peachs 

Well while we are making up ways to die I think voting Republican in the next state election is more hazardous to your health than any casual touching as Jesus has suggested. If this were the low bar of infection half Dallas would be dead by now.

Fly-On-The-Wall
Fly-On-The-Wall

@Yes_Jesus_Can @Peachs Oh YJC, you are still spouting off about all of the ways people can get ebola but you have NO, ZERO scientific or medical data to back you up.  I believe the CDC and its measures are all that we need at this point.  Conservative governors are the ones pushing for stricter measures which I think are uncalled for.

Notice I said 'conservative' which means I include Cuomo in that mix.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

Leading from behind isn't leading. It's cowardice and weakness, things Obozo has in spades.

Midvale
Midvale

@Doggone_GA @td1234 @stands_for_decibels


"unreasonable searches"  not against all searches and seizures.


Firemen, police and health workers do not need a warrant if there is a valid immediate health or safety concern 

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA Since when is it not a valid state interest to protect the public from ebola? 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @Doggone_GA Where did I say it wasn't?  But if you lock someone up in isolation because you think they MIGHT have it...and they don't...that is unreasonable search and seizure.  And you know that perfectly well.  You're not stupid.


Scared?  Maybe.  But not stupid.

Nobody_Knows
Nobody_Knows

@Doggone_GA @td1234


Depending on the topic being discussed I'd say a little of both.


The percentages are not static and are known to change very quickly.