Ugh. Now fear-mongering politicians are pandering to the panic and instituting mandatory quarantine for everyone who returns to the US after trying to help Ebola patients in West Africa — a wrong-headed, paranoid measure that goes way beyond what infectious disease experts recommend, and that was taken without even consulting their own health departments. What an awful idea, to treat people who selflessly tried to help the sick like criminals: UTA Grad Isolated at New Jersey Hospital as Part of Ebola Quarantine.
I don’t get to say this very often, but here’s a case in which Democrats and Republicans are being equally stupid.
A nurse returning to the United States from a grueling Doctors Without Borders assignment in Sierra Leone was placed in mandatory quarantine at a New Jersey hospital Friday, despite testing negative for Ebola in preliminary tests.
Kaci Hickox, a nurse with degrees from the University of Texas at Arlington and the Johns Hopkins University, arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport Friday afternoon.
“I had spent a month watching children die, alone,” she wrote in a first-person account exclusively for The Dallas Morning News. “I had witnessed human tragedy unfold before my eyes. I had tried to help when much of the world has looked on and done nothing.”
Her return trip from Bo, the second largest city in Sierra Leone, to Newark took two days and included a stop in Brussels. She planned to stay in New York City for a debriefing with Doctors Without Borders and fly to northern Maine Monday afternoon to see Ted Wilbur, her boyfriend.
Wilbur said Hickox planned to self-quarantine in their home in Fort Kent, Maine. She would limit her contact with others and recuperate from her taxing volunteer trip to Sierra Leone.
“All she wanted to do was come home, and go to bed because she hasn’t been able to sleep in days and days and days,” said Wilbur, who is a nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.
Instead, she was placed in mandatory isolation in a tent outside a New Jersey hospital, despite testing negative for Ebola in a preliminary test. The quarantine will last 21 days.
An update from Doctors Without Borders: MSF Nurse Held in Isolation in New Jersey | MSF USA.
Upon arrival at Newark University Hospital, Ms. Hickox was placed in a tent set up as an isolation ward adjacent to the main hospital building. Her temperature was again taken with an oral thermometer and was normal.
Hospital personnel are keeping her in isolation and have not informed her of any next steps, including additional blood tests to confirm Ebola infection with certainty.
She has been issued with an order of quarantine, which does not clearly indicate how long she must remain in isolation.
While she is being provided with food and water, the tent is not heated and she is dressed in uncomfortable paper scrubs. She was permitted to bring personal belongings into the tent.
Doctors Without Borders: Hickox's outdoor tent is unheated, she's in paper scrubs. Newark's low last night was 50. http://t.co/O3nv2fx6hR