New Yorkers and New Jersey not dumb…

NEW YORK (AP) — Alarmed by the case of an Ebola-infected New York doctor, the governors of New Jersey and New York on Friday ordered a mandatory, 21-day quarantine for all medical workers and other arriving travelers who have had contact with victims of the deadly disease in West Africa.

The move came after a New York City physician who returned to the U.S. a week ago from treating Ebola patients in Guinea fell ill with the virus. Many New Yorkers were dismayed to learn that after he came home, Dr. Craig Spencer rode the subway, took a cab, went bowling, visited a coffee shop and ate at a restaurant in the city of 8 million.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the case led them to conclude that the two states need precautions more rigorous than those of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends monitoring of exposed people for 21 days but doesn’t require quarantine, in which they are kept away from others.

“It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system of compliance,” Cuomo said.

Those who are forcibly quarantined will be confined either to their homes or, if they live in other states, to some other place, most likely a medical facility, the governors said. Those quarantined at home will receive house calls from health officials. Twenty-one days is the incubation period for the Ebola virus.

Dr. Howard Zucker, acting New York state health commissioner, said any medical personnel who have treated Ebola patients in the three Ebola-ravaged West African countries — Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia — will be automatically quarantined.

Cuomo said anyone arriving from the three countries will be questioned at the airport about their contact with Ebola patients.

The two governors gave no estimate of how many travelers would be subject to quarantine, but Cuomo said “we’re not talking about a tremendous volume of people coming in from these areas,” and added that there are no plans to hire more screeners at airports.

The two states are home to Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty in New Jersey, both major international portals.

Spencer’s illness led lawmakers on Capitol Hill, scientists and ordinary New Yorkers to wonder why he was out on the town after his return from West Africa — and why stronger steps weren’t being taken to quarantine medical workers.

Health officials said that he followed U.S. and international guidelines in checking his temperature every day and watching for symptoms, and that he put no one at risk. But others said he should have been quarantined — either voluntarily or by the government — during the incubation period.

Well, one State at a time is better than nothing…

A Modest Suggestion:

Medical staff returning from Ebola regions are given an all expenses paid Cruise home on a very nice cruise ship. Fine dining. Pool and sun deck. The works. Just have it take 30 days to make the voyage…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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29 Responses to New Yorkers and New Jersey not dumb…

  1. Graeme No.3 says:

    Common sense is not always evident in political circles, until the populace starts asking obvious questions. Then the threat to the disruption of their cosy life style can cause major changes in thinking by officials.

  2. Ian W says:

    They could always spruce up Ellis Island and hold people there, it is not as if there are huge numbers of them.

  3. omanuel says:

    If Ebola is a serious threat to society, it will perhaps awaken politicians to the folly of compromising the integrity of science for short-term political gain,

    while destroying the country’s best defense for any unexpected crisis: A rigorously honest scientific community.

  4. Bob Highland says:

    I see Paul Allen has kicked in $100m to help in the fight. That would build a pretty nice quarantine resort in West Africa, or sponsor a small cruise ship for quite a while.

    Of course, then there’s the problem of not allowing people who might go on to develop ebola from mixing with the ones who might not, so they’d all have to live in solitary “cells” for a month. The rooms would have to be equipped with running water/coke/beer/cabernet sauvignon, and at mealtimes someone could slide a pizza under the door.

    To solve the issue of missing loved ones, they could all be flown out to be on hand – but not to mix or copulate, only to wave at them through a small window in the cell. To cheer up the inmates, they could have a video feed of their spouses and families enjoying continuous party time in the safe part of the facility, or watch their clothes and possessions being burnt.

    All it takes is a bit of money and a lot of common sense. What a shame that most governments these days have neither.

  5. Pingback: Classical Values » Opposing The Insanity

  6. bruce says:

    If the ship home isn’t too fancy, you might just burn it, when no one responds

  7. p.g.sharrow says:

    Let us see if Holder and Obama react to this civil rights infringement. Will the DOJ sue these governors for their common sense? I like the slow boat cruiseship, 30 days would be about right. Just a R&R vacation with all expenses paid. A lot cheaper then any cleanup after an infected traveler slips through. pg

  8. Sera says:



  9. To make the 30 days quarantine work, the people would have to be kept in solitary confinement since otherwise if it turns out one person is infected then you would have a lot of “possibles” and have to repeat the cruise. Given M. Simon’s tip on cannabis being a useful antiviral, they might enjoy the quarantine so much they’d want to extend it (we’re not that certain that 21 days is an absolute limit). The cruise ship would need large stocks of peanuts and other munchies.

  10. R. Shearer says:

    Sanity returns slowly in this case.

  11. Pouncer says:

    What I am not seeing here in Dallas or now in New York is ANY advice about disinfecting surfaces that might have been contaminated or exposed. Whether on faceshields and gloves or countertops and flooring, a possibly infected person is likely to have left snot, spit, sweat or other “fluids” on stuff he or she has been around.

    So, a careful person goes in with — what? An aerosol can of Lysol? A weed-sprayer filled with Clorox? A drip bottle of Bactine? There are dozens if not hundreds of concoctions marketed to consumers that supposedly “kill germs” — which are actually anti-viral? Why is a moon-suited healthcare worker not “sprayed” and allowed to air dry for a while, before they begin the tricky transition from layers of armor down to bare (perhaps scraped, scuffed, or otherwise unusally vulnerable) skin? Why isn’t a cop doing quarantine duty dropping his mask and gloves into a metal bucket pre-loaded with Zippo lighter fluid so the whole mess can be easily and — one hopes safely — incinerated on the scene, rather than trucked from state to state?

    And Great Adam Smith’s Ghost! Why isn’t there some sort of capitalist out there at least CLAIMING to have a nostrum that would assist with such decontamination?

  12. gary turner says:

    R. de Haan says:
    25 October 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Isn’t that an unlawful disposal of hazardous marerials with imminant threat? If so, simply prosecuting (and jailing) the perps would tend to encourage better hygeine.

  13. jdonthespree says:

    Hi EM good to see you back to more frequent postings, albeit under more genuinely alarming circumstances.

    My major concern on the Ebola front is that so far everyone seems to be considering scenarios developing exclusively via accidental transmission.

    This is not the only way this disease could spread; it could spread much more effectively if it was spread deliberately and systematically.

    So do we have any existence proofs of suicidal cultists who want to kill as many innocents as possible? And where the more gruesome and terrifying the manner of death the better?

    I can’t help wondering that if one was a medievalist mullah tiring of tweeting one’s troops latest beheading atrocities to an apathetic west, surely it wouldn’t be long before it would occur to that warped worldview that Allah in his benevolence has suddenly provided more dirty bombs than they had ever hoped for in their wildest and wettest dreams.

    If it’s occurred to me, then it must have occurred to them. They just have to go get them.

    Guinea and Sierra Leone are majority muslim, but even if one couldn’t recruit locally then all one needs to do is send a cohort of virgin/raisin-ready “martyrs” to join in the ritual corpse-bathing that big Mo in his wisdom apparently says is a prerequisite for access to the afterlife. If funeral-crashing is too tricky then just volunteer for corpse collection and vanish after a few days once fully exposed – I can’t imagine that would raise any suspicion at that point, after all staff retention can’t be high under the circumstances.

    And by the incredibly depressing sound of things, it wouldn’t be hard to repurpose some of the ISIS idiots who have european passports (which the EU is apparently currently preventing cancellation on human rights grounds), so that arrival at the target destinations is straightforward.

    All these freshly bioweaponized jihadis would need to do is hop on a bunch of flights before they get sick, heading for whichever countries/cities are still naively welcoming travellers from the hotzone with open arms, and a quick wave of a thermometer.

    Sit tight for a few weeks until symptoms present, then it’s off to the match, on to the metro, round the museum etc effectively murdering people for as long as possible.

    Maybe rounding it off with a crack at the local parliament to ensure a quick and messy end, or if running’s not an option then a jump off the nearest skyscraper in an attempt to self-aerosolize…

    It goes without saying I really *really* hope that nothing as terrible as the above happens, but I don’t see anyone taking any steps to make it harder to do – quite the opposite in fact.

    That’s the scenario that keeps me awake at night…

    And to think that a lid could easily have been kept on this outbreak, and/or a vaccine developed and tested, all for a fraction of a percent of the money frittered away on the panic over a so far non-existent mild warming…

    Let’s hope our luck holds.

  14. Jason Calley says:

    @ jdonthespree “That’s the scenario that keeps me awake at night… ”

    Any group that is determined to use biological warfare is almost impossible to stop. Drive a small car through a city and throw one gallon jugs of medical waste out the window and onto the roads and sidewalks. Go to the local animal shelter and give some tainted doggy treats to the canine inmates. The possibilities are endless. Of course, that is no reason to fail in trying to stop the accidental spread of disease. As E.M. and others have pointed out, ebola — and especially THIS ebola, which seems to be more infectious and lethal than some previous strains — is not the same as HIV or influenza. I welcome any constructive State actions, but have yet to see any indication that the people running the Federal level have any desire to stop this sickness.

  15. philjourdan says:

    Correction: NJ is not dumb. But even they waffled because of Ebola kaci – democrat governors are not going to buck the messiah.

  16. Larry Ledwick says:

    Well here is an interesting tid bit to ponder if true!
    We have commented in a couple of threads that the viability of Ebola virus is not well established when it is on a surface, with hints that under proper conditions it can survive for 6 – 10 hours.
    If this news item is correct it blows that completely out of the water. It also implies that the virus will be more difficult to extinguish in a cool temperate environment than in the tropics since it remains viable longer at cool temperatures.

    Research claims certain strains of Ebola can remain on surfaces for 50 days

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry Ledwick:

    We have various strains fo virus and bacteria stored for years to decades and perhaps even longer. It is done by the simple expedient of putting it in the freezer. Given that:

    How long do you think Ebola would survive on a frosty surface in the shade? Days? Weeks?

    “Wet contact” is much easier to have if the snot on the handle is kept damp by a nice fog. How long do you think Ebola would survive as a snotty spot on a trashcan push-door in a foggy winter location?

    It is all part of why I keep saying “You do not know what this virus can do” and “You do not know this virus”. Not just because it can mutate (and by now certainly has mutated); but more importantly because we are moving it to a whole new environment. New potential hosts ( from raccoons to N. American procupines to maybe even armadillos to NYC rats to…) as well as new temperature and humidity ranges. It has not been in this regime before, so we don’t know what it will do here. We can only guess and hope. “But hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”

    Too bad Christie folded. While not particularly likely, if that particular nurse becomes sick, it will be hell to pay for those who advocated for “catch and release”…

    Also saw this news:

    so we’ve got a 5 year old kid with symptoms. They are testing to see if he has Ebola prior to doing anything…

    Wonder if he went to day care the day before?…

  18. Larry Ledwick says:

    It is interesting that the discussion over quarantine seems to be so polarizing.
    For example as you mentioned the NJ Nurse who was put in quarantine, if her discription of her situation was was accurate — somebody went out of their way to make her conditions miserable. You don’t need to place patients in a plastic tent and make them crap in a bucket to put them in quarantine. Simply restrict their movement to a limited controlled space. It could just as easily been a luxury double wide mobile home placed in a controlled area.

    It appears folks are intentionally being obtuse about making sensible guide lines. Based on an easily implemented decision tree:

    Possible Quarantine conditions:
    1 Were you in direct contact with ebola patients or deceased ebola victems?
    If yes, restrict to your home for 21 days with once a day visits from a medical monitor team.
    2x daily reports of temperature and general condition.
    If low grade fever appears call for medical evaluation, if fever appears above trigger level of 100.3 F begin patient assessment for possible ebola infection and BSL-4 containment
    All trash will be handled as bio waste until you pass the quarantine period.

    2 Were you in close proximity to areas where ebola was a pandemic condition but not in direct contact?
    If yes then self monitor and restrict movement in areas with large crowds like movie theaters, subways etc. Self monitor with 2x daily reports of temperature and general condition.
    If low grade fever appears move up to condition 1 if fever appears above trigger level of 100.3 F begin patient assessment for possible ebola infection.

    3 Were you in a country which had a large scale ebola outbreak (greater than 100 patients in a 30 day period) but no in close proximity to those patients or the regions were it was pandemic
    If yes report all travels for 21 days and self monitor with 2x daily temperatures, report any low grade fevers greater than 99 deg F

    Quarantine does not have to be seal you in a plastic bag for 21 days, you can make rational graded decisions based on logical assessments of the risk of infection and take some common sense precautions which limit the potential for spread if infection does show up.

    These are basic mitigation techniques we use for all sorts of other hazards, just apply some common sense evaluation of the risk. Totally unrestricted travel is unacceptable and the opposite total quarantine of anyone who has been in such a country and placing them in BSL-4 containment regardless or likelihood of exposure is equally wasteful of resources and unacceptable.

    Other options would be to have a graduated quarantine based on risk. Since symptoms are most likely to appear in the day 6-10 range, use strong quarantine procedures for the first 10 days then slowly relax the limitations so folks can move to less restrictive measures as appropriate.

  19. Jason Calley says:

    Here is a great article at Junk Science, dealing with likely hospital events in case of a pandemic.

  20. R. de Haan says:

    George Washington Blog carries three interesting articles about Ebola:

    Ebola Virus Is More Likely to Spread through Aerosols – and Survive Longer – When It’s Cold

    CDC Says Ebola Droplets Can Only Travel 3 Feet … But MIT Research Shows Sneezes Can Travel Up to 20 Feet

    Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine: People Without Symptoms Or Fever May Still Spread Ebola:

  21. philjourdan says:

    One case and “so far” they have put 116 under observation.

    We have one “Ebola Kaci” going to Maine on a plane.

    There is hope for some countries – just not this one.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    Wonder how long it will take for the durability and transmissiblity of Ebola to become more common knowledge… and where one buys a hazmat suit… 1/2 /sarc;

    I’d guess about a half dozen more cases in the USA with 2 or 3 spread by ‘casual’ contact outside of a hospital setting…

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    Finally the CDC put out a decision tree for risk assessment for people who have been in a country with a major Ebola out break.

    This should have come out — Ohh maybe 6 weeks ago??

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