As more doctors and nurses return from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa, public fears and anxiety have escalated about the possibility of contagion. Kaci Hickox, a recently returned nurse who was fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone has now also fought a controversial public battle at home that she finds extremely oppressive and unnecessary. The attempt to quarantine Hickox in her home for the duration of the virus’s 21 day incubation period via court order ended unsuccessfully on Sunday, when a judge ruled in her favor. This case highlights the dilemma over how to balance public health needs and a person’s freedom. Hickox said in a statement that her decision to go about her daily life was based on science, not politics. Meanwhile, she argues that Governor Christie’s decision to implement a quarantine policy for returning healthcare workers from stricken areas was a political, authoritative power play that would only fuel ignorance and blind fear about Ebola. While the media has labeled Hickox as selfish, I find that hard to accept because the women risked her life for those suffering overseas. Would she really do that only to return home and risk the lives of those here? I work with people from all types of various industries. I cannot tell them how to do their job, because frankly that is not my expertise. The same can be said in this situation. Before I even begin any type of new business negotiations, I do extensive research and am able to isolate every variable at play within the business I am about to evaluate. This is where I feel our government has failed us. In retrospect, I believe that this unprecedented incident is a lesson in public health protocols and policies—and not specifically the health risk itself.
The fact is that thus far; only one person has died from the virus in America—and he did not contract it in the states. While there is vague speculation fueled by fear about how the virus spreads, these worries are vastly illogical, and are not currently supported by the medical community. This could change (viruses can mutate), but the fact is that in the present moment, evidence suggests that the Ebola spreads via bodily fluids, cannot live long outside the body, and most importantly denotes that if a person is asymptomatic then they are not contagious. In conclusion, the evidence suggests that this is a difficult virus to contract. Even U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned on Monday against “unnecessarily” strict restrictions on the movement of health workers who have been fighting the deadly Ebola virus in West Africa.
As a businesswoman, I do not like to take chances with my clients or make deals without knowing every single factor and how each affects the sale of the whole at hand. For me, these factors are usually tied to money, but in this situation it is human lives. When I am working with a client who is trying to sell their business as quickly as possible, I urge them to not rush through the process, because the buyers will come, and they will come with lots of questions. In regards to the Ebola outbreak, the public has questions, and the government’s responses have varied with 2 different answers to every one question at times. The lack of foresight and planning is why this incident has escalated to this extent. Because the federal government failed to plan and to organize an adequate evaluation process for those coming and going from Ebola ravaged nations, some states have taken independent action initiating policies that go beyond guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-one days may not seem like a long time to put a pause on one’s life, but to those whose lives have had to come to a complete standstill because of the new isolation policies would argue differently. These workers are professionals and are instructed on how to properly monitor their health for any signs of becoming sick. Even at the early onslaught of the disease, contagion is extremely minimal. Therefore, at this present time, there is no logical reason for a healthcare worker to be punished after having already worked in a situation some would deem hell on earth. These people are heroes and should be welcomed with open arms (that is until they get a fever).