Nervousness over potential Ebola outbreak continues to heighten today, in the United States, as a third Texas health care worker likely to have had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan’s bodily fluid specimens was quarantined on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, forcing the luxury liner to turn around and head back to port, according to the Department of State, Friday.
As alarming as that may sound, and as much as the entire country would LOVE to stop seeing the health care workers involved with caring for Duncan taking vacations in tight quarters such as airplanes and cruise ships amongst the general population until they’ve been cleared of the 21-day infection period of the disease (I mean, everyone knows how illness spreads on airplanes and cruise ships), this third health care worker was self-monitoring, exhibited no symptoms upon departure, and is only being quarantined and returned to port because the CDC has since changed its policy from self-monitoring to active monitoring.
According to department spokesperson Jen Psaki, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital employee departed on vacation last Sunday and is currently only two days shy of the 21-day period in which the disease is believed to become active if one is, indeed, infected. So far, no signs of infection are present, meaning fellow passengers on the cruise ship are at very little to no threat whatsoever of contracting the virus.
The U.S., as is now well known, is becoming more and more paranoid regarding potential Ebola outbreak. One man sneezing on a plane brought on the hazmat suits and people have since started showing up to airports in the same. This comes as a result of two health care workers who cared for Duncan contracting the deadly illness here, on American soil. Estimates, so far, state that some 4,500 people have died as a result of the virus in West Africa, with further estimates going into the tens of thousands if Ebola is not promptly stopped in its tracks. In response, President Obama has recently canceled a trip (something unheard of for the President to do) in order to personally oversee the response to Ebola in the U.S.
It should be noted, also, that the both health care worker and companion on the cruise ship voluntarily isolated themselves in their cabin until they can be returned to port, which is currently being arranged by U.S. officials.
Psaki said in a statement regarding the Ebola health care worker and companion:
We are working with the cruise line to safely bring them back to the United States out of an abundance of caution.
Good! Americans have been waiting to see an “abundance” of prudence exercised in the Ebola matter from the start, all the while being coddled into believing everything is under control, despite one of the nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital very recently coming forward to blow the whistle and declare:
I can no longer defend my hospital.
The Belize government issued a statement only hours ago denying a U.S. request for use of a Belizean airport to transport the health care worker and companion back to the U.S.
The statement from the Belize government stated:
The passenger never set foot in Belize. When even the smallest doubt remains, we will ensure the health and safety of the Belizean people.
With so many angry, frustrated Americans calling for a closing of the borders, one would think the Belizean government’s response is somewhat understandable.
So far, we’ve had health care workers on airplanes, trying on wedding dresses, and on a cruise ship. What’s next? Sports arenas and subway cars might be a safe guess – anywhere where people are packed together and sharing the same ventilation system, it would seem.