Life in the Era of Ebola


Screen Shot 2014-10-03 at 12.02.37 AMDuring a phone interview with Duncan Taylor’s girlfriend, she told CNN that she and her family were being treated like criminals.  In many ways, they are criminals.  They failed to report the fact that her boyfriend was probably infected with Ebola.  Her behavior was, at best immoral, at worst criminal.  She should have had the intellectual and moral honor to insure the proper medical authorities knew what was going on, inside her home, but most likely due to cultural difficulties, she did not do what was right.

A couple weeks ago I was involved in a comment discussion about an article that had something to do with diseases like the flu, and people like moi who refuse to get flu shots.  I’m allergic to the blasted things. I made the politically incorrect comment that people who had a bug, a cold, or the flu should have the basic decency to stay home and self quarantine themselves until they are no longer contagious.  As the primary care-giver to my elderly parents, if someone has a cold or the flu, I don’t want them near either my mother or my father.

I was told, in no uncertain terms that people had a right to go to work and earn money to support their families.  In this day and age the right to work was more important than a responsibility not to spread what-ever disease they had, to others.  I mentioned that Typhoid Mary had a right to work.  I think told her that, I suspect, by the time this specific Ebola epidemic had come to an end, hers would be a very unpopular opinion.

Mary Mallon was considered an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid.  She infected at least 53 people with the disease.  At least 3 died because of her flagrant disregard of human life.  She was a cook, who was forced to endure over three decades of forced isolation because she refused to follow instructions, and cease her occupation.  After her first quarantine, she agreed not to be a cook, but became a laundress, changing her name to Mary Brown.  After a time, she resumed her old career.  This time, two women died because she refused to consider others.

The woman has always been looked upon with a tremendous amount of sympathy, having endured at least 3 decades of forced quarantine.  After what Thomas Duncan did, leaving Liberia, knowing that he had been exposed to a deadly disease, and could possibly spread it, even to his family, and those he claimed to ‘love’, he lied to authorities, and like Typhoid Mary, put himself ahead of others.  Granted, fleeing disease ridden Liberia was probably the only way for him to have a chance at survival, but he lied, repeatedly.  He exposed those he claimed to love to the disease.

What does a person do?  The survival instinct is great in people, but so should be morality and decency.  This man had none.  Had he, when he arrived in this country, he could have gone directly to health authorities and reported that he had been exposed to Ebola, and needed to do an FYI.  Obviously, he had did more than just share a house with the woman with whom he was in a relationship.  Let’s be honest here, she’s probably going to come down with the disease.  So is anyone who came in contact with him, once he became contagious.  That’s how Ebola works.

The CDC is putting way too happy a spin on things.  No one has bothered discussing those who were in the ER when he visited it the first time.  No one is even mentioning the fact that people touched doors, sat in chairs, and the emergency workers he encountered.  They will more than likely come down with the disease.  That’s how it works.  My 27-year-old nephew works EMS in Memphis.  The thought of him being exposed by someone who doesn’t give a damn about others terrifies me.

With luck, no one will die here.

So much for morality, decency, and the greater good.

The actions of the CDC do not inspire confidence.