A nurse who was being quarantined at a New Jersey hospital after working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone criticized her treatment on Saturday as an overreaction after an initial test found that she did not have the virus.
She described being held in isolation for about seven hours at Newark Liberty International Airport on Friday, left alone for long stretches and given only a granola bar when she said she was hungry.
Ms. Hickox, 33, was placed in quarantine under a new policy announced on Friday by the governors of New York and New Jersey. All people entering the United States through Newark Liberty and Kennedy Airports will now be quarantined for 21 days if they had direct contact with Ebola patients in Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, even if they show no symptoms of infection.
On Friday night, New Jersey health officials said the nurse had developed a fever after arriving, but on Saturday, they said her blood had tested negative for Ebola. Additional tests will be conducted.
Ms. Hickox disputed that she had had a fever. She wrote that at the airport, a forehead scanner showed her temperature to be 101, but that came after four hours during which she had not been allowed to leave.“My cheeks were flushed, I was upset at being held with no explanation,” she wrote. “The female officer looked smug. ‘You have a fever now,’ she said.”She was eventually escorted by eight police cars to University Hospital in Newark and taken to a tent outside the building. An oral thermometer showed her temperature to be 98, she wrote.
She added that the doctor felt her neck and rechecked the temperature. “ ‘There’s no way you have a fever,’ he said. ‘Your face is just flushed.’ ”Her complaints served as a broadside against the new quarantine policy, which goes further than recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Governor Christie isn't in New Jersey - he's in Iowa, running for freaking president.
But he claims Ms. Hickox needs to held because she is "ill":
Asked about the nurse’s essay while visiting Iowa, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said, “My heart goes out to her because she’s someone who has been trying to help others and is obviously ill.”“I’m sorry if in any way she was inconvenienced but inconvenience that could occur from having folks that are symptomatic and ill out amongst the public is a much, much greater concern of mine,” he continued. “I hope she recovers quickly, and we’re going to do everything we can in New Jersey and in our public health system to make sure that she does.”In a telephone interview on Saturday night, Ms. Hickox’s father, Leon Hickox, said that his daughter “is not ill in any way.”
Folks, this is scary stuff - the governors of New York and New Jersey have decided they can illegally detain travelers who they believe have had contact with Ebola patients whether these travelers show any symptoms of having the virus or not, then lie about their condition when called to account by the press.
Ms. Hickox needs to challenge Christie in court:
If Ms. Hickox was asymptomatic, said Udi Ofer, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, he would have serious questions about the legality of her quarantine.“Mandatory quarantine of people exhibiting no symptoms and when not medically necessary raises serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its police powers,” Mr. Ofer said.
Authoritarians like Christie and Cuomo love crises like Ebola because they get to expand their powers exponentially from what they were before, all in the cause of keeping the public "safe."
Make no mistake, that's what's going on here.
The governors and of New York and New Jersey have just declared they have the right to illegally detain travelers through Port Authority airports.
You can bet if this outrageous expansion of power is not challenged, governors in the future will use it to detain all sorts of people who have nothing to do with Ebola or Ebola patients, all in the name of keeping the public "safe."
If we learned anything after 9/11, the Patriot Act and the Iraq war, it's that all sorts of constitutional rights go away in the name of "public safety."