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October 02, 2014

Ebola: Family Originally Asked to Remain In Their Apartment Left It, And Were Then Hit With a Legal Quarantine Order with Criminal Consequences

I understand why the family did not want to remain in the apartment. I keep hitting the point that when it comes to infectious diseases, human nature becomes the unwitting co-conspirator with the virus.

People keep doing things to help spread the virus -- they don't want to remain in quarantine. They don't want to come clean with Visa officers about their contact with the disease.

And they will keep doing so. They always have. That's how these things spread.

Which is why the State, alas, must act coercively, and tell them: No, we're not asking you to remain in your home. We are legally compelling you to do so.

Why this was not done sooner in Dallas I don't know. I don't know who has jurisdiction here -- the feds, or the state authorities, or both.

I would ignore the Daily Mail's use of the term "break out" here, as in "the family broke out of the apartment." I don't know what "break out" means. I suppose it's a hyped-up way to say "left."

But still, the people who have been most exposed to the American ebola outbreak did leave their homes, and that is extremely dangerous.

The exposed relatives of the contagious patient tried to break out of their apartment where the sweat-soaked, contaminated bedsheets and towels still lie.

...

The patient's quarantined girlfriend Louise told CNN on Thursday that she had not been told what to do with the soiled linens used by Mr Duncan when he was ill and had not been given food.

The woman has been legally ordered to stay inside her Dallas apartment with her 13-year-old child and two nephews, who are both in their twenties, as they came in direct contact with Mr Duncan.

...

The quarantined family members of Ebola sufferer Thomas Eric Duncan had tried to escape their Dallas apartment after being told they had to stay inside because they were at risk, having been around Mr Duncan while he was contagious...

It also appears that Mr Duncan did not mention his close contact with a severe case of Ebola to his partner Louise, with whom he has one child.

...

School administrators appealed for calm as none of the children have shown symptoms and are being monitored at home, where they will likely remain for three weeks.

The good news is, for now, by some miracle, the other exposed people in this family are not yet showing ebola symptoms (at least according to the woman of the house, who is a nurse's aid (or something) and is checking temperatures "hourly.")

So that's something (maybe).

Meanwhile, the CDC and Texas health officials and Dallas government officials are "clamming up" per The Hill, and, in my opinion, getting testy.

Health officials are refusing to answer growing questions about their response to the first Ebola case in the United States.

Under intense questioning from reporters, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Texas health department and the City of Dallas repeatedly declined Thursday to provide details about the steps being taken to prevent an outbreak....

Neither would Lakey explain why the quarantine order was necessary, saying only that it brings "confidence" that key medical monitoring will take place...

Well, per the above article, the Daily Mail at least is claiming the quarantine order was needed because the family wasn't staying put.

The Hill notes that officials are undermining themselves by being coy about facts:


But limiting disclosure can undermine agencies' credibility when information spills out on its own. 



Neither Texas nor the CDC has confirmed Duncan's identity or his flight path through Brussels and Washington, for example.

Okay, so we all know that Duncan travelled through Brussels and Dulles (Virginia), right?

Presumably officials know if the Daily Mail is right -- if a legal quarantine was secured because the family would not obey a mere advisory to stay put.

So why are officials not saying so?

My theory is that they don't want to "create a panic."

And I will say for the hundredth time that being cagey about the truth feeds panic.

People aren't this dumb. When you're withholding things from them, they know you're withholding things from them -- and they wonder why.

And how do you expect them to then take you at your word when you try to reassure them?

Reporters got snippy with health and government officials in Dallas:

The event became increasingly confrontational.

...


"It is, at best, disorganized out there and we have some members of the press that are creating a bit more of that," he said. "We need everybody to be professional."

Rick Perry needs to bigfoot all this nonsense and take over control of this whole operation, personally.

Why Are They Still In the Apartment At All? I was trying to figure out why they left.

Here's a plausible reason.

The girlfriend there says that officials haven't told her what to do to clean the apartment, or how to dispose of the sweat-soaked sheets.

He vomited in the apartment. So the apartment is a hot zone.

Now, this family may not be infected yet, but we're keeping them in a place where the chances of infection are Very High.

So of course they'd want to get out of there.

Why are we keeping them there, as opposed to moving them to a quarantine facility where they don't have to worry about ebola on the floor or on the sheets?

This apartment seems to me to be the exact environment where you can catch ebola pretty easily -- so why expect them to stay put?

It makes sense to keep low-chance-of-infection people in their own homes -- but not people with a high chance of infection. And not in homes that are themselves likely swimming with ebola virus!

I don't know, it just seems like we're doing All the Wrong Things here.

Update: For just these very-serious-chance-of-infection folks, to get them out of this very-likely-filled-with-ebola apartment, why don't we just move them, temporarily, to a mobile home kinda out in the desert?

A commenter suggests that. It seems to make sense to me.

Frankly, this family must be pretty scared of catching ebola just from their apartment -- and that's not irrational.


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posted by Ace at 05:16 PM

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