Senator Marco Rubio has just come out calling the nurse, Kaci Hickox, who was forcibly quarantined in New Jersey of late under Governor Chris Christie’s anti-Ebola policy a hero for her life-risking efforts to save dying men and women in West Africa. He balked when asked about the appropriateness of her quarantine, however, saying he did not have all the details and so could not judge.
Meanwhile, Christie responded to reporters at a recent campaign event who pressed him on the upcoming lawsuit, saying, “Whatever, I have been sued lots of times.” When one learns that Christie is a former U.S. attorney, the ease at which he faces lawsuits makes a little more sense, but one still sense a certain flamboyant and pugnacious overtone in the response.
With the CDC, President Obama, and Governor Cuomo of New York taking a much more relaxed approach to the Ebola threat than does Christie, one might suppose that nurse Hickox’s suit was about the appropriateness of quarantines. One the surface at least, however, it is a matter of the accuracy of the diagnosis that she had such symptoms as would warrant a quarantine rather than the justness of a quarantine policy existing at all.
When dealing with a deadly and contagious disease, quarantining those likely infected is not a matter of discrimination, but quite clearly a matter of public health. Life and death are at stake in these matters, and I’ll have to agree with what Brian said on Mashable about this whole thing is becoming a sort of political ping pong ball between Democrats and Republicans. It’s truly sad.