Oops…Still-Quarantined Nurse In New Jersey Does Not Have Ebola

According to the Wall Street Journal, a Doctors Without Borders nurse who tested negative for Ebola after being put under mandatory quarantine in New Jersey lashed out Saturday at the move to force her detainment.

Kaci Hickox, a 33-year-old nurse from Maine who had been working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, was detained Friday at Newark Liberty International Airport under stepped-up protocols ordered by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo .

In an essay published by The Dallas Morning News on Saturday, Ms. Hickox wrote that being quarantined at University Hospital in Newark “is not a situation I would wish on anyone, and I am scared for those who will follow me.”

Ms. Hickox said a forehead scan taken by an official at the airport initially said her temperature was 98 degrees. But hours later, after she said she became upset about being held without explanation, a forehead scan found her temperature to be 101 degrees.

A worker at the airport “barked questions at me as if I was a criminal,” she wrote.

At the hospital, her temperature was recorded at 98.6 degrees on an oral thermometer, and she said a doctor told her, “There’s no way you have a fever. Your face is just flushed.” After that, she said, her blood was taken and came back negative for Ebola after a test.

“I am scared about how health-care workers will be treated at airports when they declare that they have been fighting Ebola in West Africa,” Ms. Hickox wrote. “I am scared that, like me, they will arrive and see a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.”

Ms. Hickox’s mother, Karen Hickox, said in an interview that her daughter was being held in an “isolation tent” that has an air system and a portable toilet, but no shower. She said her daughter has been given hospital food by attendants dressed in full protective suits—the uniforms Ms. Hickox wore to treat sick patients on a five-week trip to Sierra Leone.

“There is no TV, no books, no magazines, nothing,” said Karen Hickox, who lives in Rio Vista, Texas, a city roughly 40 miles south of Fort Worth. Her daughter called on Saturday morning in tears.

“That’s not her normal demeanor,” her mother said. “If you knew her, she’s a very positive, everything-is-going-to-be-OK person.”

Doctors Without Borders said the tent wasn’t heated and that Ms. Hickox was forced to wear uncomfortable paper scrubs.

The organization said she hasn’t been informed about what comes next and has been issued an order of quarantine that doesn’t indicate how long she will remain in isolation.

The group also said in a statement, “While measures to protect public health are of paramount importance, they must be balanced against the rights of health workers returning from fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to fair and reasonable treatment and the full disclosure of information to them, along with information about intended courses of action from local and state health authorities.”

New Jersey Governor Christie said Saturday that his heart goes out to Ms. Hickox. He said it was a “difficult situation” and that steps were taken to make her comfortable.

“My first and foremost obligation is to protect the public health and safety of the people of New Jersey,” Mr. Christie said while campaigning in a governor race in Sioux City, Iowa.

New Jersey Governor Christie also said: “But you know I feel for her,” and “I hope she recovers quickly and we’re going to do everything we can in New Jersey and in our public health system to make sure that she does.”

Of course, she doesn’t seem to actually have Ebola.

Ms. Hickox was scheduled to remain under 21-day quarantine and may undergo further testing, officials said.

The quarantine was part of more stringent screening guidelines instituted in New Jersey and New York after another Doctors Without Borders worker, Craig Spencer, tested positive for the virus. Dr. Spencer was in stable condition in Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan.

The mandatory quarantines apply to any medical workers who had performed services to individuals infected with the Ebola virus, officials said.

Individuals who had traveled to Ebola-affected regions of West Africa and returned through New York or New Jersey would be actively monitored by public-health officials even if they didn’t have direct contact with an infected person.

CDC guidelines had called for humanitarian aid workers to monitor their own temperature for 21 days after returning from West Africa.

The federal guidelines don’t call for any movement restrictions as long as they exhibit no symptoms of the disease.

Ms. Hickox’s mother said her daughter took previous missions with Doctors Without Borders.  “She loves the organization. She loves what they do,” her mother said.

In other news, it was announced that the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, is traveling to Guinea on Sunday. She will also visit Liberia and Sierra Leone, making the trip despite calls by some US lawmakers for a travel ban on the three West African countries worst-affected by Ebola.

Ms Power, a member of President Barack Obama’s cabinet, left Washington on Saturday.

Differing Reports On U.S. Soldiers In Liberia

Mission : So far, there are 547 U.S. troops in West Africa, serving in Senegal and Liberia (pictured), where they have reportedly been holing up in improvised quarters in hotels and local government facilities

Some sources are claiming that the U.S. soldiers being sent to Liberia to help stop the spread of Ebola are only getting 4 hours of training. This number seemed to originate with The Daily Beast, which stated:  “Soldiers preparing for deployment to West Africa are given just four hours of Ebola-related training before leaving to combat the epidemic.”

Other sources like Newsmax or The American Thinker are quoting the Daily Beast.

At the same time, Slate is claiming that they get two weeks of training.

Slate:  “They undertook a two-week, 14-session course to prepare specifically for Ebola, beginning with lessons on what it is, how it’s spread, and what its symptoms are.”  Slate also states, “Refresher courses will be given throughout the mission.”

Ebola1

The UK Daily Mail claims the soldiers only get 4 hours of training, but adds a word to describe it: “hazmat.”

“U.S. soldiers are being flown to West Africa to combat Ebola following just four hours of hazmat training…”

Does this mean the 4 hours refers to hazmat-only training?

Most publications agree that there are between 500 and 600 American troops on the ground in the West African region now.  However, some sources state that “at least 700 members of the division will deploy” soon.

USA Today (from October 17th):  “There are 547 U.S. troops there, primarily in Liberia though some are in Senegal, according to the Pentagon.

USA Today (from October 9th):  “At least 700 members of the division will deploy to Liberia starting next week as part of the U.S. military’s 4,000-soldier humanitarian mission, which is expected to last up to a year and is aimed at building 17 100-bed Ebola care centers and training hundreds of health care workers.”

The Daily Mail:  “So far, there are 547 U.S. troops in West Africa, serving in Senegal and Liberia, where they have reportedly been holing up in improvised quarters in hotels and local government facilities.”

The Daily Beast:  “There are just over 500 military service members in West Africa, serving in Senegal and Liberia.”

Slate:  “The American operation is the largest military foreign aid effort in the region to fight Ebola: Congress has so far approved $750 million for the mission, and about 600 military personnel are already on the ground.”

The total number of troops to be sent seems to vary from 3000 to 4000.

Slate: “Some 3,500 to 4,000 American troops are being deployed to Liberia to help efforts to quell the Ebola outbreak devastating the region.”

The UK Daily Mail:  “Yesterday, it was reported that the U.S. Army is preparing to provide as many as 3,000 troops to help combat the Ebola epidemic.”

USA today gives a number of 4000 total troops:  “At least 700 members of the division will deploy to Liberia starting next week as part of the U.S. military’s 4,000-soldier humanitarian mission, which is expected to last up to a year and is aimed at building 17 100-bed Ebola care centers and training hundreds of health care workers.”

There seems to be a general consensus on the mission:

Again, USA Today states that the mission “…is expected to last up to a year and is aimed at building 17 100-bed Ebola care centers and training hundreds of health care workers.”

Stars and Stripes states the same thing.

The Daily Beast:  “A major part of their mission is logistics and construction: The U.S. military is  building a 25-bed hospital and 17 Ebola treatment units, as well as training health-care providers in Liberia.”

The Uk Daily Mail:  “This is while the military builds a 25-bed hospital, ‘life support areas’ and 17 treatment centers in Liberia, where they can train local professionals to care for and conduct tests on potential victims.”

How exposed will the troops be to the virus?

The UK Daily Mail:

“Despite the trainers’ apparent shock tactics, the Army maintains that the risk of soldiers contracting the virus is minimal because it is airborne and they will not have contact with sick patients.

‘It’s been shown that this disease is most manifest when handling bodily fluid—blood, other sorts of fluids, said Major General Darryl Williams, who leads America’s operations center in Liberia.

“‘There is no plan right now for U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to do that’.”

USA Today:

“The soldiers, with specialties in areas such as combat hospitals, aviation, logistics, transportation and engineering, will not be providing direct treatment or having contact with Ebola patients, so the risk is considered to be low, said Lt. Col. Brian DeSantis, the 101st Airborne’s spokesman.

“But at Thursday’s safety training, soldiers were briefed on how Ebola is spread and what symptoms to look for. They were told to seek medical care at the first sign of trouble and not to shake hands or touch residents. They were told not to eat or drink anything that wasn’t provided by the U.S. government.”

According to Slate:

“Though troops are prepared to suit up to keep them from contracting Ebola, the scope of the military operation is intended to limit their direct interaction with patients. Their mission is to help build infrastructure and care facilities and to work with public health organizations on transportation. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the World Health Organization, and the Liberian government are taking on more of the responsibilities of training local communities and public health workers and testing, isolating, and treating patients.”

The Daily Beast:

“The first 500 American troops in Liberia are so far living in improvised quarters in hotels and government building, according to congressional and military sources.

“’The hotels are fairly well controlled in terms of access… They have a fairly well-structured screening process going in and out,’ a Senate aide briefed by the Pentagon on the military’s procedures told The Daily Beast. ‘It sounds like they have an adequate level of screening and protective measures in place. That being said, once they move to a self-contained quarters, that will probably be better.’

“The military maintains that American service members have only limited interactions with locals on the ground. But some American soldiers are working with the Armed Forces of Liberia on a day-to-day basis, and others are training health-care providers on how to combat the virus.

“Further, the military acknowledges that it is currently sharing hotels and businesses with foreign nationals.

“‘We are here with the permission of the Liberian government and we do not clear out local hotels and businesses during our stay,’ said an Army spokesman. ‘We chose hotels with the safety of our service members in mind, and the hotel staffs monitor all employees and guests and allow us to conduct safety inspections of their facilities to ensure they meet our safety criteria.'”

“Soldiers based in Liberia have their temperature measured several times per day, and are not permitted to shake hands. They are also are required to frequently wash their hands with a chlorine solution. Some locations even employ chlorine mats that service members are required to wipe their feet on in order to enter.

“’The facilities that we’re in have been vetted by our doctors. [They] have gone through the facilities to make sure that they’re safe for our soldiers,’ Army spokesman Lt. Col. Michael Indovina said. ‘We’re very confident. We’ve had very good luck from the time when we’ve arrived on the ground.’”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2798194/u-s-soldiers-flown-liberia-just-four-hours-hazmat-training-ebola-death-toll-hits-4-546.html#ixzz3Gbu0vKR1

The Cost Of Flying The F-15

f-15Recently, the pentagon decided to cut the 65th Aggressor Squadron, the United States Air Force F-15 unit that mimics enemy fighters like the Russian Su-27.  This squadron was used for training, playing the adversary role in dogfights.

The reason was the cost.  According to Time Magazine, the cost per flight-hour for some military jets is gigantic.  The F-15 costs roughly $41,921 per flight hour. (This includes fuel and maintenance costs.)

By comparison, the  F-16 costs $22,514.

Some European fighter jets like the SAAB JAS 39 Gripen have costs closer to that of the F-16.

The A-10 Warthog costs $17,716 per flight hour.  (It is also the subject of a budget battle at the Pentagon and may be cut to help fund the new F-35 Joint Strike fighter.)

Smaller drones like the Predator and Reaper drones cost $4000 or $5000 per flight-hour.

These costs do not include the costs of the bombs and ammunition.

http://nation.time.com/2013/04/02/costly-flight-hours/

How Many “Boots On The Ground” Are There In Iraq?

The administration continues to say there are no “boots on the ground” in the conflict in Iraq.  Almost in the same breath, they will say “but we are sending more trainers.”  The trainers are on a combat mission and are receiving combat pay, so aren’t they considered “boots on the ground?”

So how many of them are there?

The Boston Herald claims, “The president has pronounced repeatedly ‘there won’t be U.S. ground troops in Iraq,’ despite the reality that the U.S. has already deployed 1,600 ‘trainers’ and ‘advisers’ to Iraq — who are receiving combat pay.”

Politico:  “Today, many of the advisers, logistics managers and other troops we already have in Iraq—said to be some 1,700 strong, including those guarding U.S. facilities—are already taking part in this new war.”

The Arizona Republic states, “Critics point out that are already more than 1,000 U.S. soldiers redeployed to Iraq to assist the Iraqi military and other local forces fighting ISIS.”

Foreign Policy states,  “Obama said airstrikes, an additional 475 troops – bringing the total to more than 1,600 there – a train-and-advise mission and the resolve of a coalition of the willing will ultimately ‘destroy’ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.”

So the figure most often quoted seems to be 1,600 or “more than 1,600” advisers or trainers on the ground in Iraq.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/09/boots-on-the-ground-iraq-111271.html#ixzz3EGx0Ysz2

Washington Post Article By Iraqi Saif Al-Azzawi

Recently, The Washington Post had an article by Iraqi Saif Al-Azzawi, who is a translator for the Los Angeles Times.   In the article, he gives his take on what has happened to his country after the 2003 invasion:

“To make things worse, the U.S. dissolved the Iraqi army and started a process to remove those politically aligned with Saddam, which ended up taking jobs away from thousands of Sunnis and seemed like an unfair witch hunt. Add to these political actions poverty and a lack of basic services, and you end up with a deep, sectarian divide in Iraq that I believe led to the insurgency and the problems that exist today.”

“I despised Saddam, but I don’t think an extremist group like the Islamic State would exist under his rule. Even if Saddam had gone crazy and killed a bunch of people, it wouldn’t be anywhere near the number who have died since he was overthrown. I see a civil war coming, and an Iraq divided into states.”

Fox News: Claims Of Terrorists Crossing The Border

Jason Chaffetz makes “blanket assertions” about people crossing the border with “ties to known terrorist organizations in the Middle East.” Later Chaffetz states they are people with “known ties to a terrorist country” or “known ties from a Middle Eastern country.”

The segment gives no names, no specifics. Not that it’s impossible, but at least give names, dates, specifics, photographs, mug-shots, etc.

TYT Commentary: ISIS Propaganda Video

Cenk Uygur gives a commentary on ISIS’ new “movie trailer”-style propaganda video. He makes the point that it may be good to let ISIS govern a while because they will lose the hearts and minds of the local population, whereas immediate bombings may turn the locals against the U.S. if there are civilian deaths or casualties.

Government Avoids Responsibility By Farming Out Military Work

According to London-based Remote Control Project, billions dollars are being spent for the military to farm out jobs like special operations, interrogation, psychological operations, and propaganda.

These are jobs that used to be done by the military and are now done by private companies. This in effect helps to distance the military and the government from responsibility in these situations.

TYT video.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/09/08/special-ops-corporate-bonanza/