It’s bad enough that healthcare workers who treat Ebola patients in the U.S. are now being stigmatized. In part, this stems from too many state governors and other political figures* caving due to unreasonable fear.
But what I don’t get about the restrictions is this: if we had an outbreak they wouldn’t work. To treat the patients in Nebraska, it required forty to sixty people. Suppose we get another Ebola case. If we’re going to isolate people who were exposed to an Ebola patient, these workers will have to undergo a 21-day isolation/quarantine. Now imagine two weeks into that quarantine, there’s another patient admitted to the same facility. Will these workers be called back in? Will a new set of forty to sixty workers be ‘spent’ treating the new case? If we call back the previous workers, they will have gone months without having any chance to live an ordinary life for no reason at all (if there is no fever, there is no transmission–that’s the only ‘good’ thing about this damn virus).
Mind you, the CDC regulations don’t call for isolation of asymptomatic healthcare workers who are compliant with a fever monitoring regime (which is reasonable). But it’s pretty clear that the states have not thought this through at all (that New Jersey stuck a possibly ill person in a tent on a cold night without heat tells you all you need to know about our ‘preparedness‘).
These isolation policies are a farce. Worse, they are distracting us from real questions, such as how did WHO react so slowly and so poorly.
*To their credit, the only prominent politicians with authority to do something and who haven’t been idiots are President Obama, MA Gov. Deval Patrick, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (no, really), and NYC Mayor DeBlasio.