Thursday, October 30, 2014


CDC or governors
Who can you trust?


From the Philadelphia Inquirer's we learn that the CDC offers new Ebola guidelines, less strict than NJ.

I have a lot of respect for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but given its "behind the curve" position regarding Ebola and how to contain it, I am giving this round to the governors of New Jersey, and

  • California
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maine

Because I am from a generation that was routinely quarantined for the litany of highly contagious and dangerous childhood maladies - MMR and chickenpox, the later dangerous to pregnant women and the fetus they carry - I don't consider isolating a person who might be a disease carrier for a short incubation period.

I also note that the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has made a political issue of quarantine and, as the CDC is a government agency , I am not surprised that the CDC has released its "less strict than NJ" ruling.

MEANWHILE, the health care worker who threatened to sue New Jersey - or perhaps just Gov. Chris Christie - has thumbed her nose at her own state's governor, Paul LePage, by ignoring the state's quarantine order and leaving the house to go bicycling with her boyfriend. The Reuters' article noted that President Barack Obama, who has criticized state mandatory quarantine policies for returning medical workers, was scheduled to arrive in Maine later on Thursday to campaign for Democratic candidates, including Mike Michaud, who is trying to unseat LePage in Tuesday's midterm elections.

Despite the CDC and president's opinions, the US military continues to order a 21-day quarantine for all personnel returning from Ebola-infected areas. The Commander in Chief has not countermanded that order.

According to the governors, it is a matter of public health and as their state's CEO, they are obliged to protect the health and welfare of the state's populace. Given that some of the governors are Democrats and some Republicans, the decision is not one that follows party lines.

ON THE FLIP SIDE of the isolation coin is the question of who compensates the isolated person for their time in isolation? How about the organization that put them - allowed them to voluntarily go - into harm's way? The organization that funded the health worker's trip and provided some compensation - rents/mortgages and utilities must be paid even when the person is away doing volunteer work - should take responsibility to continue compensating their volunteer for an additional 21 days.

Meanwhile, admitting that living in a tent is hardly a suite in a four-star hotel or even a top-rated hospital, being waited on hand-and-foot does not seem particularly objectionable. No cooking. No cleaning, No making the bed. No shopping for groceries. Sounds like the military except that unlike the military, no one gets you up at 5 a.m. for calisthenics and then expects you to put in a full day at whatever duties are assigned. (Been there, done that.) More akin to being sent to your room as a kid.

I will concede that being separated from loved ones, even by only a canvass wall, is "bothersome," but 21 days is a lot less separation than the separation from loved ones for sailors on nuclear submarines.

The governor of Maine explained that the citizens of Fort Kent, where the health care worker resides, are concerned for their safety, never mind the CDC's words that - like HIV - Ebola is transmitted only via body fluids and that requires close contact.

Since the healthcare worker's boyfriend has been in close contact with her, he now should be subject to the same isolation requirement.

Admittedly she so far has shown no sign of infection, but one would think a healthcare worker who was so concerned for others' welfare that she traveled thousands of miles to volunteer her services would be as considerate of the folks who live in her town.

The CDC may be right, but what if it isn't?

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