The New York Times reports that
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Sunday night outlined New York State’s mandatory quarantine policy for health care workers returning from West African nations with Ebola outbreaks , bringing the state closer into line with federal protocols and marking a significant break with the way the policy has been carried out in New Jersey.
The announcement comes after the Obama administration pressed New York to revise its order, issued only two days ago in a joint press conference with New Jersey’s governor, Chris Christie. New Jersey officials, who stood by their decision on Sunday, have yet to explain many details of their quarantine policy. The state has come under scathing criticism for the treatment of a nurse returning from Sierra Leone, who was forced into quarantine in a hastily erected tent at a New Jersey hospital even though she had not displayed any signs of illness and tested negative for Ebola.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the treatment of the nurse, Kaci Hickox,had been shameful and vowed that New York City would do all it could to honor the work of the health care workers here and those who go to help fight the epidemic in West Africa.
“The problem here is, this hero, coming back from the front having done the right things, was treated with disrespect,” Mr. de Blasio said.
“We have to think how we treat the people who are doing this noble work,” he said. “We owe her better than that.”
Under the revised guidelines, New York State would allow all returning health care workers who have had contact with Ebola patients but have no symptoms of illness to return to their homes, where they would be confined; their health would be monitored for 21 days.
They would be transported by private vehicle, arranged by the New York State Department of Health or the local health department. While under confinement, there would be at least two unannounced visits by local officials, in coordination with state health officials, each day to check the individual’s condition as well as ensure that the individual is complying with the state order.
The New York State or local health department will, if needed, coordinate care services such as food and medicine.
If a person arrives from one of the affected areas with no symptoms and had no direct contact with anyone infected with the Ebola virus, there will be no home confinement. Health officials will monitor these individuals twice a day for temperature and other symptoms until the 21-day incubation period is over.
Governor Cuomo, who asked for patience from those who will be affected, also said the state would provide financial assistance where needed.
“If their organization does not pay for the three weeks, we will,” he said.
The move comes as President Obama met with his top advisers at the White House to craft a policy that reassures Americans that they are protected from the virus while following the guidance of the government’s scientific advisers. Officials said that policy will be ready in days and that the government would urge all states to follow it.
“Disrespect” or “Appropriate Measures”?
A week ago last Friday, Dr. Charles Krauthammer, noted Conservative Pundit, appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s Fox News Program. Dr. “K” hammered Obama’s response to Ebola’s arrival in America.
Greta Van Susteren: “Charles, slow to respond [on Ebola].”
Charles Krauthammer: “Slow to respond on all ways behind. You hear the administration say, well, a travel ban is not off the table. We’ve been hearing for weeks it’s a terrible idea, it will make it worse. It’s the most logical thing to do. British airways is not flying to these countries and it will be done, it’s only a question of time.”
“On the other hand, where the CDC has been assuring us ‘we know how to handle this, we know how to trace contacts.’ Yes, but they don’t know what to tell and handle the people once they have identified the contacts. You can’t tell people, as we are even now doing, to self-quarantine. Ordinary people have no idea what that means. You have to have the government step in, and I would say, this is not a thing that we like to do, override civil liberties, we’re going to have to quarantine a lot of folks that have come in contact. That’s the way you override an epidemic like this.”
Van Susteren: “You talk about tracing contact…I think it’s lousy that we’re in a position of tracing contacts. WE had notice, at least as early as March. We could have stopped, we could have headed it off before it even got here. And we could have helped a lot of people in a lot of these Western African nations. So it’s not so much how we trace the contacts. Everyone was asleep at the wheel.”
Krauthammer: “I’m not sure we could have stopped the spread in Western Africa.”
Van Susteren: “But we could have stopped it here?”
Krauthammer: “Well if we had a travel ban, if we had real control; for example, this suggestion that we heard from Sen. McCain makes perfect sense. Anybody who wants to come here to the United States, you spend 21 days in quarantine in Liberia. We’ll give you a big space, a flat screen TV, extra American food and lots of entertainment. But you gotta to wait 21 days and then you come here. That’s elementary.”
Dr. K was right. It is elementary. You isolate the patient and then, you treat the illness.
To allow those who have just come from Ebola Hot Spots in Africa, and who actually had contact with those suffering from the deadly disease, to disembark their plane, when it arrives on our shores, and to immediately walk freely among our citizenry, is not only irresponsible, it’s downright stupid.
Obama and his Administration have been playing catch-up to this deadly disease for far too long. Instead of being pro-active, they have been reactive.
By sending our military to Africa to “combat” Ebola, they have put our Brightest and Best in harm’s way, for the sake of political expediency.
It would have been far simpler to send volunteer physicians to Africa and quarantine travel to and from those nations, instead of all the reactive measures which the Administration has taken as a result of being more concerned about the effect of a quarantine on those African countries’ economies that the safety of American citizens.
So, instead of isolating the problem and protecting Americans, Obama and his Administration made poor choices in the name of obfuscating the potential crisis and maintaining the touchy-feely political correctness and central governmental-control that Obama and his Administration cherish above all else.
And, while they contemplate their next move, the government officials of New Jersey and New York made the decision which Obama and his Administration have been too weak, vacillating and self-involved to make.
And, that’s why they’re “concerned”.
Obama and his Administration’s “concern” is not for American citizens. It’s for their political careers.
Until He Comes,