by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Staff Writer
Thirty-three-year-old Kaci Hickox, who was quarantined as an ebola patient upon returning to the United States from Sierra Leone, has been released and is now living in Maine.
The nurse who was treating ebola patients in Sierra Leone reported on Sunday, October 25, 2014 that, although placed under a mandatory quarantine, had never displayed any symptoms of having the virus; furthermore, she had tested negative for the virus.
“If the nurse doesn’t show any symptoms, then I think she is fine to be released,” says sophomore Bryan Andrews.
As per New Jersey’s new law that says that anybody arriving from West Africa after treating ebola patients would be forced into a quarantine. Hickox was quarantined as soon as she landed at Newark Liberty International Airport.
The law was passed on Friday, October 24, 2014 as a way to take more precaution against the infectious disease and as a prevention of the disease’s possible spread across the nation. States such as Illinois, New Jersey, and New York have implemented the law.
Hickox sourly received her quarantine, but obeyed.
However, eventually, the enraged nurse publicly criticized the state’s new policy and demanded her release. “For the first 12 hours, I was in shock. Now I’m angry,” says Kaci Hickox in an interview with CNN.
She even threatened to sue the state; pressure soon made the state cave, as the nurse left the quarantine and traveled to Maine.
The release of Hickox has been met with an expected amount of controversy indeed. Some agree with Hickox fighting against what they see is an unfair law.
However, Hickox and her supporters are met with some considerable backlash, as those who back the law feel that, with the law being ignored, there is no truly effective way to stop the spread of the ebola virus. They also argue that people now will have to be extensively cautious in public.
Sophomore Achal Shah says, “I find it ridiculous that she was released. People should be really careful with ebola going around, and do everything they can to prevent the spread of the disease.”
Maine Governor Paul LePage accepted the nurse, but also agreed that issues like the nurse’s should not be dealt with in a lenient manner, saying as an American, “…we must be vigilant.”
Hickox is not the first person to have been quarantined and then test negative for the virus. An unnamed person who was quarantined for showing ebola-like symptoms at Maine Medical Center came back negative in his/her ebola test.
Notable people who have been confirmed to have ebola include Dr. Craig Spencer and Thomas Eric Duncan. Spencer caught the virus while working with Doctors Without Borders treating ebola patients in Guinea, and has been under quarantined since Thursday, October 23, 2014.
Duncan was the first person in the United States who was officially reported to contract the virus. He later died of the sickness on October 8, 2014.
The West African nations in the spotlight for the ebola virus are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone (the country in which Hickox was treating ebola patients). There have been cries for limitations to prevent the virus spreading to American soil, but, the optional law of having all West Africans put under a mandatory quarantine and monitored for ebola symptoms for 21 days is the only legal action taken thus far to combat ebola.
With many in addition to Hickox quarantined for ebola, the United States federal government and their state governments tirelessly try to find more ways to crush ebola’s chances of spreading throughout the country.
Why should or why shouldn’t the states with the new mandatory-quarantine law be isolating people?