October 27, 2014

Political Fight Over Ebola Quarantine

In the wake of the doctor in New York City testing positive for Ebola, the governors of New York and New Jersey imposed mandatory quarantine policies for health workers who had contact with Ebola patients. Facing public backlash coupled with pressure from the White House (because the quarantine “doesn’t comport with science”), however, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo backed off. Not surprisingly, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held firm. Of course, the reason the governors placed strict requirements on those coming in from Ebola-plagued countries is not because of the threat of additional infections, which is minimal, but because the fear generated by all the media hype over Ebola can result in significant disruption. The new state measures are designed to negate that disruption. And, as The Wall Street Journal put it in an editorial, “[I]f it weren’t for the Administration’s incompetence in handling Ebola risks on U.S. soil, maybe the state leaders wouldn’t have felt they had to take matters into their own hands.”

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