Out of “left field,” MSNBC interviewed nurse Kaci Hickox, who – prior to the November election – was accused of being an Ebola threat and was quarantined.
Hickox, who was ordered to quarantine by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie after the Ebola scare of 2014, joins Chris Hayes for an interview about America’s public health system, and comments on the ongoing anti-vaccine controversy.
Currently, there is only one diagnosed case of Ebola in the U.S. – that of Dr. Craig Spencer in New York.
Ebola first came to the U.S. on August 2nd, when Dr. Kent Brantly returned to the U.S. from working in West Africa.
That didn’t stop people from making threats against nurse Kaci Hickox and her boyfriend Ted Wilbur in Fort Kent, Maine.
Tom Pelletier, Fort Kent’s chief of police, said he had received calls from people who wanted him to arrest Hickox, local media reported.
Wilbur told the Press Herald newspaper that he has withdrawn from his nursing program at the University of Maine at Fort Kent because university officials were not doing enough to stop threats against him.
The couple has decided to move out of state.
Kaci Hickox, the nurse who defied a mandatory Ebola quarantine in Maine and cast a spotlight on what critics saw as an overreaction to the dangers posed by health workers returning from West Africa, plans to move out of state, it was reported Saturday.
Hickox and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, are leaving Fort Kent after Monday, the last day of the disease’s 21-day incubation period and the day when a judge’s order that she be monitored for the disease expires, The Associated Press reported.
The Portland Press Herald reported that the couple will move to another state, and that Wilbur recently withdrew from an accelerated nursing program at the University of Maine, also in Fort Kent.
Hickox has shown no signs of the deadly disease that has killed nearly 5,000 people in the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
She was briefly placed into isolation in New Jersey upon her arrival on Oct. 24 from Sierra Leone where she was treating Ebola patients, and then allowed to travel to Maine, where the governor and health officials had sought to impose a mandatory quarantine. But a judge refused to impose that order, and instead allowed her to leave her home as long as she was monitored for symptoms.
It is not clear what the reasoning would be behind quarantining people who aren’t sick.
In New Jersey, nurse Kaci Hickox tested negative for Ebola several times.
A faulty thermometer at the airport showed she had a fever, but she later tested normal for that as well.
According to the Washington Post, she may not have intended to become the center of a political debate, but she is one now.
When the registered nurse — fresh from fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone — spoke out against a mandatory quarantine in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie was the first Republican to intervene.
While refraining from attacking Hickox personally, Christie took up an unusual rallying cry for a member of the party of Reagan: the need for big government to contain a mess.
“The government’s job is to protect [the] safety and health of our citizens,” Christie said on “Fox News Sunday.” “And so we’ve taken this action, and I absolutely have no second thoughts about it.”
Christie then apparently had second thoughts on Monday, when he freed Hickox from quarantine after supposedly talking to, among others, President Obama.
The left took up her cause. “When Kaci Hickox stood up to Governor Chris Christie for quarantining her against her will and claiming she was ‘obviously ill’ when she wasn’t, she did more than bring a little sanity to our Ebola-panic politics,” the Nation wrote. “She also struck a blow for all the teachers, nurses, public employees, minimum-wagers and workers of all kinds that Christie has bullied, belittled and silenced over the years.”
When back at home in Maine, Hickox defied another mandatory quarantine from another Republican governor, the partisan divide over her irresponsibility or moxie only deepened.
To the right, she was a do-gooder who fell from grace, trading praiseworthy humanitarian work for arrogant grandstanding as she and her boyfriend set off on a defiant bicycle ride with a group of TV camera crews in tow. To the left, she was a hero standing up to “bully governors.”
“There is something uniquely jarring about a display of selfish insolence from someone who is so praiseworthy in other respects,” Townhall wrote in a piece called “Kaci Hickox, Self-Absorbed Hero.” “Maddening traits usually come from maddening people, as their true character surfaces.”
According to Time Magazine, a judge in Maine rejected the state’s attempt to forcibly quarantine a nurse who has been clashing with officials over her defiance of a voluntary Ebola quarantine on Friday.
He reversed a court order that briefly mandated she avoid public places and transportation. Kaci Hickox – the nurse – must still continue daily temperature monitoring and approve travel with state officials, the judge ordered.
The order came Friday following a temporary order Thursday. The state has been pushing the nurse, Kaci Hickox, to follow quarantine guidelines laid out by federal officials for people at “some risk” of Ebola.
“I’m humbled today by the judge’s decision and even more humbled by the support that we have received from the town, the state of Maine, across the U.S. and even across the globe,” Hickox told reporters. “I know that Ebola is a scary disease. I have seen it face to face.
“I know that we are nowhere near winning this battle. We’ll only win this battle as we continue this discussion, as we gain a better collective understanding about Ebola and public health, as we overcome the fear and most importantly as we end the outbreak that is still ongoing in West Africa today,” she said.
1976 – Ebola is first discovered in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo near the Ebola River. Thirty-two Ebola outbreaks would follow, bringing the total number of cases before this outbreak to 2,361, including 1,438 deaths, according to the WHO.
March 19, 2014 – What would become the largest Ebola outbreak in history begins in March 2014 with 23 deaths from what is then called a “mystery” hemorrhagic fever.
Aug. 2, 2014 – Dr. Kent Brantly is flown from Liberia to Emory for treatment. He surprises everyone by walking out of the ambulance into the hospital in his protective suit.
Aug. 5, 2014 – Missionary Nancy Writebol is flown from Liberia to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, for Ebola treatment in its isolation ward.
Sept. 5, 2014 – Dr. Rick Sacra arrives at Nebraska Medical Center for treatment. He eventually gets a blood transfusion from Dr. Kent Brantly, the American missionary who survived his bout with Ebola.
Sept. 9, 2014 – An unnamed American Ebola patient arrives at Emory University Hospital for treatment. This patient had been working for the WHO in Sierra Leone.
Sept. 20, 2014 – Thomas Duncan arrives in the United States from Liberia to visit family.
Oct. 5, 2014 – Sacra hospitalized in Massachusetts with what doctors fear is an Ebola relapse. They isolate him out of what they said was an abundance of caution.
Oct. 6, 2014 – Ashoka Mukpo, 33, a freelance American cameraman who contracted Ebola in West Africa, arrives at Nebraska Medical Center for Ebola treatment.
Oct. 12, 2014 – Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas says that nurse Nina Pham has tested positive for Ebola. Pham is a nurse at the hospital and had tended to Thomas Duncan.
Oct. 13, 2014 – Amber Vinson flies from Cleveland to Dallas on Frontier Airlines Flight 1143, arriving at 8:16 p.m. She has no symptoms, but her temperature was 99.5 degrees that morning, according to health officials. She notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before boarding, and no one told her not to fly.
Oct. 14, 2014 – Vinson is taken to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas with a fever.
Oct. 16, 2014 – Nina Pham is flown from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas to the National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Maryland. Pham treated Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she works.
Oct. 23, 2014 – Dr. Craig Allen Spencer is diagnosed with Ebola the same day he went into isolation at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.
Oct. 27, 2014 – A five-year-old boy was transported to Bellevue hospital in New York with symptoms of Ebola. The boy tested negative for Ebola that same evening.
With the exception of Thomas Duncan, who passed away, all of these patients have been declared virus-free and have been released. Kaci Hickox, who was detained in New Jersey and put in quarantine, tested negative twice for Ebola. She is now at her home in Maine. At this time, there is only one known case of Ebola in the U.S. – Dr. Craig Spencer in New York.
Though the state of Maine has a quarantine order on Hickox, she supposedly defied it by taking a bike ride on Thursday. She has stated that she feels healthy. Oddly, reporters in Maine routinely come within one or two feet of Hickox while questioning her.
On Friday, New York governor Cuomo and New Jersey governor Christie announced a mandatory quarantine for people who had been in West Africa and had contact there with people infected with Ebola. Illinois and other states soon followed suit.
California on Wednesday became the latest state to order a 21-day quarantine for travelers who have been in close contact with Ebola patients.
In an attempt to avoid the criticism lodged against New York, New Jersey and Maine that had blanket quarantine orders, California will allow county health agencies to impose the quarantine on a case-by-case basis.
It is unclear when the former patients intend on returning to work.
A nurse’s release Tuesday from an Atlanta hospital leaves a single person in the United States now battling Ebola, though she and others — including President Barack Obama — stressed the fight against the deadly virus isn’t over.
“While this is a day for celebration and gratitude, I ask that we not lose focus on the thousands of families who continue to labor under the burden of this disease in West Africa,” said 29-year-old Amber Vinson.
Smiling broadly and occasionally brushing aside tears, Vinson was surrounded by relatives as well as Emory doctors and nurses.
Nurse Nina Pham from Dallas, who also had Ebola, was released Oct. 24 from a National Institutes of Health hospital in Bethesda, Md.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Kaci Hickox traveled from New Jersey to Maine, where her boyfriend is a senior nursing student at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Hickox, who spent the weekend in a quarantine tent in New Jersey, said she never had Ebola symptoms and tested negative in a preliminary evaluation. She also sharply criticized New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for ordering mandatory quarantines.
Hickox, told CNN that her “basic human rights have been violated,” and was released Monday, two days after testing negative for Ebola. She was seemingly powerless to challenge her banishment to a quarantine tent in Newark.
The nurse’s treatment, as well as the quarantine policies of New York and New Jersey, have been criticized as heavy-handed.
Former Ebola patient Rick Sacra, a doctor infected in Liberia, likened the mandatory quarantine for returning health-care workers in New York and New Jersey to a “police state approach.”
A British volunteer nurse who survived Ebola said he is returning to West Africa where he caught the disease “because there is still a lot of work to do out there.” William Pooley was the first known U.K. citizen to be infected in the current outbreak but made a full recovery after he was flown to London in a military plane in August and treated in isolation with the experimental drug ZMapp.
The 29-year-old said Wednesday that he is preparing to fly back to Sierra Leone to help fight the outbreak that has claimed almost 4,500 lives. “I know my mum and dad are worried but they know it’s something I have to do,” he said while at a training session for U.K. health workers who have volunteered to help on the ground to combat the spread of the disease.
The Suffolk-born nurse has previously said he “cannot sit here in the UK and watch the people of Sierra Leone die”. Pooley, who supposedly has made a 100% recover, said: “I have some experience now of working with Ebola patients so I can apply that.”
He told a conference last week organised by the Sierra Leonean high commission: “I must go back to Sierra Leone to continue my work in helping those people affected by Ebola.”
Pooley, 29, was the first – and so far only – British national to have contracted the disease and was airlifted out of Sierra Leone last month and treated at the Royal Free hospital in north London.
At the time, he said he felt “wonderfully lucky” to be alive but indicated he would consider going back to help the exhausted health workers who are struggling to keep pace with the spread of the virus.
He spoke after a video was released of 17-year-old Douda Fullah who had lost five members of his family and begged the world to come to his aid.
Pooley recalled how helpful Fullah had been in caring for his grandmother and his stepmother when they were dying in the Ebola ward the nurse was working in.
Pooley has also spoken of the case of a brother and sister aged four and two who died.
He has said “at all costs” the international community must not allow what happened to them to be repeated one million times.