Fear itself

Maine Chief District Court Judge Charles LaVerdiere had a night to sleep on it and decided today that a full quarantine for nurse Kaci Hickox isn’t such a good idea after all.

So he rescinded his order that he issued yesterday and set new conditions for the woman who worked with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone. These are, basically, the ones she suggested following all along.

In his order today, however, he didn’t exactly strike a Roosevelt tone when addressing the real issue here: Fear.

Here’s a copy of the judge’s order.

On the New York Times site, a commenter gets it right.

Commenters who are hung up on how a 21-day quarantine is “no big deal” and that this woman was being selfish by speaking out against it are completely missing the point. What Kaci Hickox was objecting to was that two states hastily and arbitrarily issued restrictions on her that were beyond the consensus of US and World health organizations, merely out of response to public fear and in no doubt influenced by election season. She is nurse with a master’s degree in public health. She has treated Ebola patients and knows more about the realistic dangers of Ebola than 98% of us here. To imply or state your opinion that she seeks to do public harm because she felt personally inconvenienced is quite a leap and says more about you than it does about her.