Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ebola nurse bike ride

So, let's suppose you're a medical professional who has been in Africa on a humanitarian mission, trying to provide care for people suffering from an often-deadly virus infection.  And then you come home, and find yourself surrounded by people who are worried that you might have the virus... and might in turn give it to them.  Because of that fear - a very reasonable fear - you are quarantined for the duration of the virus incubation period.

What would you do?

I think I'd go on a bike ride.

And that's what Kaci Hickox did.

She's the nurse who just returned from Africa.  Because it can take up to 21 days to get sick after contracting the virus, she was ordered to stay in her house for 21 days.  (The evidence also suggests that the only way to contract the virus is through VERY close contact with the victim, in which body fluids are exchanged/contaminated.)

Hickox defied the order and went on a bike ride with her boyfriend.  (She lives in Fort Kent, Maine, on the Canadian border.)  “I am not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public," she declared.  As they rode, a couple cop cars followed, and the "press corps" followed behind the cops.  Apparently it was uneventful - she didn't spew body fluids on any of her fellow citizens, who breathed a huge sigh of relief when she went back inside.

Story HERE.

I can't blame people for being wary.  Ebola is about the worst thing that could happen to you!  But a bike ride should be on the approved list of pastimes, during the quarantine period, as long as the cyclist avoids places where there are lots of people.  (A "critical mass" ride might be an event to avoid.)  I'd rather have 'em riding bikes than riding around in the subway, like that NYC doctor who started showing symptoms the next day.

If I was waiting 21 days to find out if I was going to die of a dreaded virus, I'd rather go on a bike ride than sit at home watching "The Stand."  (I have it in my DVD collection and have been thinking about watching it again.  If you're not familiar, it's a miniseries based on the Stephen King novel.  A germ warfare virus escapes the research facility and ends up killing 90% of the population.  The survivors band together - the good guys in Boulder, Colorado, and the bad guys in... are you ready?... Las Vegas!)  It's pretty good.  But maybe you don't want to watch it - or read the novel - during the Ebola Scare, or when you're nursing a case of the flu.

How about requiring her to wear a hi-viz yellow sweatshirt with bright pink lettering: "EBOLA QUARANTINE - DON'T RUN INTO ME!"?  I'd buy one of those!

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