Who says that bipartisanship is dead? Just recently, Governors Cuomo and Christie, a Democrat and a Republican, were shoulder to shoulder as they announced a new and improved Ebola policy to protect their voters, I mean citizens. Now, every individual who was arriving at Newark and Kennedy International Airports from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone who had direct contact with an Ebola patient, would face a mandatory 21 day quarantine.
This policy exceeds restrictions advocated by the Center for Disease Control and Doctors Without Borders, 2 organizations who presumably are better qualified in infection control than politicians are.
Might this policy discourage our health experts from traveling to West Africa to help to control the Ebola epidemic as they would face a 3 week quarantine upon their return home?
Might some folks who are returning home who don't agree with this new policy lie about their Ebola contacts?
What if travelers returning home from West Africa didn't touch down in New York or Newark? Don't the other 48 states deserve to be safe?
Does this policy seem more political than medical?
Maybe the governors' new edict doesn't go far enough? I'm surprised they did not consider the following scenarios.
• If an Ebola patient in Sierra Leone sends an email to a New Yorker, should the American be required to take his temperature twice a day?
• If a Rutgers University student looks up Ebola information on an iPad, and used the touch screen without two sets of surgical gloves, should the student be quarantined and the iPad confiscated?
• If a Manhattan commuter enters a cab driven by a Liberian …
Why stop at Ebola? Why not force returning passengers who have been exposed to influenza, which unlike Ebola, is extremely contagious via air, to be quarantined?
There is a reason that politicians should not make health care policy. Let them do what it is that they do best – saying and doing anything to get elected. Will other governors now compete to establish the strictest guidelines?
Scientists are testing an Ebola vaccine. We pray for their success. I hope that the NIH is working on a vaccine against hysteria. I know 2 politicians who need it desperately.
This post by Michael Kirsch, MD, FACP, appeared at MD Whistleblower. Dr. Kirsch is a full time practicing physician and writer who addresses the joys and challenges of medical practice, including controversies in the doctor-patient relationship, medical ethics and measuring medical quality. When he's not writing, he's performing colonoscopies.