Absurdity upon absurdity
The more I watch our current government work these days the more absurd its works become.
Here’s the story. Governors Cumo (NY) and Christie (NJ) imposed 21 day quarantines on health care workers returning from countries with ebola epidemics. That’s right, these poor souls have to spend three weeks being monitored in an area isolated from the general public so if they’re possibly infected they won’t have an opportunity to spread the infection – you know, like the doctor who passed “enhanced screening” at JFK did last week.
Now the first thing I expect to hear is, “whoa, wait – you’re a libertarian and you’re agreeing that the government should have the authority to hold someone against their will?” What I’m agreeing with is a medical protocol that has stemmed epidemics for hundreds of years – at least since we’ve discovered it was germs and viruses, not “ill humors” that brought various plagues.
And, its not like we’re talking “imprisoning” them or this taking years or even months. 3 freaking weeks. 3 weeks in some sort of center where they can be medically monitored to ensure they aren’t infectious before they’re given the okay to again join the general population.
Instead we get two reactions. One from a “health care worker”:
Hickox, the first nurse forcibly quarantined in New Jersey under the state’s new policy, said her isolation at a hospital was ‘inhumane,’ adding: ‘We have to be very careful about letting politicians make health decisions.’
Hickox is now suing and has now hired Norman Siegel, a high profile civil rights attorney, to challenge the order.
Well, of course she has. Because one of the things we see more and more of is “we have rights!” but it is rarely followed by “and we have responsibilities that go with those rights”. You know, like taking the precautions necessary to ensure you don’t infect others. By the way, she’s complaining that she tested negative for ebola. I’d remind her, so did the doctor who is now down with ebola in NYC. Nope, this is all about “her rights” – screw yours.
Now contrast that with this bit of word salad from the NIH:
‘The best way to protect us is to stop the epidemic in Africa, and we need those health care workers, so we do not want to put them in a position where it makes it very, very uncomfortable for them to even volunteer to go,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Fauci made the rounds on five major Sunday morning talk shows to argue that policy should be driven by science — and that science says people with the virus are not contagious until symptoms appear. And even then, infection requires direct contact with bodily fluids.
He said that close monitoring of medical workers for symptoms is sufficient, and warned that forcibly separating them from others, or quarantining them, for three weeks could cripple the fight against the outbreak in West Africa — an argument that humanitarian medical organizations have also made.
‘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,’ Fauci said.
A) It doesn’t have to be “very, very uncomfortable”. They’re health care professionals. It’s kinda like a deep sea diver saying he’s not going to spend the decompression time necessary to avoid the bends because it’s “uncomfortable”. Of course he is, because that is part of the freakin job! Anyone remember this: “first do no harm”. Until you are sure you are ebola free – that’s after 21 days – then you can’t be sure you’re fulfilling that part of your pledge to those you serve, can you?
B) While the best way is obviously to stop ebola in Africa, it certainly does no good to let infected members to return and reintegrate with a population that isn’t infected. That’s how freakin’ epidemics start! So certainly stop it in Africa. But also take the common sense precautions necessary to stop it before it gets here. Is that too much to ask of a “health care professional” and an agency charged with protecting us from health care threats such as ebola?
C) Because the people “volunteering” are indeed “health care professionals” they should understand the need for quarantine upon returning. It should be a part of the entire process. I simply don’t understand the resistance. I have to wonder if they keep suspected ebola patients in the same wards with regular patients. Well, no, of course not. They quarantine them, even if the chance of them infecting others is very small. Why, oh why, is it too much to ask those who’ve been exposed to the virus and may be infected (but asymptomatic) to have a little regard for others and understand the need for separation for a period of time? Oh, and by the way, if the virus mutates (and health care officials say it might, given the amount of infection seen in Africa) then what? Suddenly it’s a whole new kettle of fish, isn’t it? And what they’re asking us to let them do is close the barn door after the ebola cow has left. Stupid.
So what does the leadership in DC do? Well it talks the governors out of doing what is common sense and relying on the “wisdom” of a system that promised ebola would never reach the US.
Absurd. Stupid. Unthinking. Dumb.
Don’t know how to say it any other way.
UPDATE: in light of a statement today by dopy Donny Deutsch saying “we’re a nation of cowards” because … well because he believes there’s hysteria in the air … I want to make it clear what I say isn’t said out of “fear”. It’s said in frustration. Frustration about applied stupidity. It’s as though all the common sense precautions we’ve taken in the past are “dated”. Now we just wing it and make pronouncements about how it just can’t happen here, even though it has happened here. Talk about arrogance. And stupidity.