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EBOLA COMES TO NYC!! — 7 Comments

  1. You know, after watching MSNBC last night and Cuomo and deBlasio’s press event, I am beginning to think this:

    I know the Doctors Without Borders are heroes and all (I donate to them every year), and I know this particular guy was following all the recommended scientific protocols and hopefully he’ll get better and nobody else will get sick …

    but, still it seems to me that DWB need to acknowledge that Ebola-panic has a life of its own. I think it would be a good thing if they changed their protocol a bit and said that when one them comes back from their lifesaving work in the Ebola zone, they should, just to prevent panic (which may actually do as much harm as Ebola), quarantine themselves for 21 days, just to err on the side of safety.

    I mean defending the good doctor’s professionalism is not going to cut it in today’s debased media when the guy went out to go bowling putting others at some level of risk, infinitesimal though it may be.

    They need to take this into account. In a better world, this shouldn’t be necessary but we don’t live in that world.

  2. All well-taken. Reminds me I need to expand my charity links. I donate to the doctors myself.

  3. Max, I’m SO glad you’re back. Didn’t know until this afternoon. See one of your earlier threads.

  4. It does not inspire confidence when the nominal “experts” make firm statements that need to be walked back, tweaked or otherwise amended when overtaken by events. The end result is a complete loss of credibility. How many now think the CDC is just making it up as they go along?

    Since the start of this running panic-fest, that has been the pattern. A supposed authoritative source from the CDC or the White House declares that “You can’t get ebola from such and such…We have everything under control…Our protocols are the best and proven effective…We’re sure we’ve stopped it here.” And when they’re proved wrong the next day, the howler monkeys in the media and Republican Congress start a new round of shrieking and rabble-rousing.

    The response from the left is just as predictable: You idiots think you know better than the expert scientists. You can’t catch ebola in the subway! Let reason prevail! But the consequences of getting ebola are so dire, that we naturally magnify the risk in our minds and reason be damned. Liberals rely too much on logic when it’s emotion that motivates people.

    I usually loathe looking for a middle ground because it’s too often the territory of those with no convictions.

    In this case, I think the truth does lie somewhere in-between the extremes. The problem is that nuance doesn’t play well in speeches or cable news.

    I’ve done a little research, and hard evidence on ebola is somewhat difficult to find beyond the basics. I haven’t found definitive answers on how long the virus lasts out of the body on various surfaces. One source said 2-4 hrs. Another said 1-2 days.

    I’ve read contradictory reports on whether or not there is virus present in saliva, sputum, sweat and mucous. Some say there is none, some say that there is too little to be dangerous.

    All agree that a victim’s viral load increases over the course of the illness and as the person gets sicker, he gets more contagious.

    It’s also evident that the people most at risk of getting ebola are the caregivers, whether medical personnel or family and friends. This outbreak has been unprecedented in the high number of health care workers who have become infected.

    It’s also evident that even the strictest hygiene protocols can be breached unknowingly. I have not heard that any of the infected Americans knew exactly how their precautions failed.

    Given all these uncertainties, it’s just plain foolish to make blanket statements of either perfect safety or imminent pandemic. These misguided attempts to calm the populace have only discredited the authorities and added to the inchoate panic.

    Yes, it’s extremely remote that anyone will get ebola on the subway. By the time someone is really contagious, he is usually too sick to go anywhere. Nevertheless, it’s easy to imagine plausible circumstances where someone sick does manage to take a ride on the D-train and vomit on someone or cut himself on a plane ride.

    One may not like to admit it, but the only sure way to short-circuit an ebola epidemic is quarantine. Previous outbreaks were quickly controlled because they occurred in areas that were naturally quarantined by their remoteness.

    In this outbreak, I don’t think it’s too much to ask for a mandatory 21-day quarantine of health care workers returning from West African hot zones.

  5. Hi SG. Not exactly my field, and I agree screening and quarantine are reasonable. But I still think the anti-panic theme is the one most worth supporting, since as you say and whatever the answers to the questions you point to, the likelihood of contracting the disease here is remote. The volume of concern compared to the likelihood that 50K people will die of the flu in the coming year galls me. Our public discourse on risks is completely moronic.

  6. “Our public discourse on risks is completely moronic.” Yes, indeed. But I’ll say again, logic is usually a distant second to emotion when it comes to human motivation.

    The NYTimes is running a story right now about the complaints from the nurse detained in quarantine last night at Newark Airport after the Cuomo-Christy regime instituted mandatory quarantine for personnel returning from the hot zone to NY-NJ airports. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/26/nyregion/nurse-in-newark-tests-negative-for-ebola.html

    Of course, she was detained in NJ, so that explains everything. She was apparently treated as if she was not only a walking Typhoid Mary but a foreign terrorist invader.

    She recounts:

    “After being greeted by a smiling immigration official, who took her to a nearby quarantine office, she was questioned by a series of people. ‘Some introduced themselves, some didn’t,’ she said on the website. ‘One man who must have been an immigration officer because he was wearing a weapon belt that I could see protruding from his white coveralls barked questions at me as if I was a criminal.'”

    “‘No one seemed to be in charge,’ she said. ‘No one would tell me what was going on or what would happen to me.'”

    I think that about sums it up, and why unreasoning panic is the order of the day. No one’s in charge, or at least no one who has their head screwed on straight. Another botch job and it will be used to explain why medical volunteers will hesitate to step up for work in Africa if they have to suffer quarantine. That’s the other story being peddled in the Times today.

    If officials really decide to opt for some kind of limited quarantine for returnees, they’ll have to find a kinder, gentler way of going about it. I should think home quarantine is sufficient with daily followups from visiting nurse type people.

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