A small win for science and rationality

A state judge in Maine has rejected an effort by that state’s governor to impose a quarantine on Kaci Hickox, the nurse who treated Ebola patients in Liberia and then on her return was the target of a short-lived attempt by New Jersey governor Chris Christie to quarantine her for 21 days before pressure forced him to change his mind and send her to her home in Maine.

Judge Charles C. LaVerdiere ruled Hickox must continue daily monitoring and coordinate travel with state health officials to ensure continuity of monitoring. The judge said there’s no need to restrict her movements because she’s not infectious because she’s showing no symptoms.

The judge thanked Hickox for her service in Africa and acknowledged the gravity of restricting someone’s constitutional rights without solid science to back it up.

“The court is fully aware of the misconceptions, misinformation, bad science and bad information being spread from shore to shore in our country with respect to Ebola,” he wrote. “The court is fully aware that people are acting out of fear and that this fear is not entirely rational.”

Hickox is following CDC recommendations for daily monitoring of her health, a perfectly reasonable procedure.

What I worry about is some nut case who has been made paranoid by the hysterical media coverage might try to harm her. The governor has said that the state trooper in front of her house and who had been following her was there to protect her but after the verdict he was taken away, suggesting that his real purpose was not to protect her but to intimidate her.


  1. moarscienceplz says

    Chris Christie is a bully and a thug and very immature, and it seems Maine’s governor may not be much better.

  2. Chiroptera says

    A good decision. You don’t restrict someone’s rights or limit their freedom just because there’s a possibility that something bad might happen. If the restriction of rights or the limitation of freedoms is ever justified, sure the justification must include evidence that shows a risk.

  3. lanir says

    It’s always nice to see science and reason prevail over panic and witch doctors shaking their chicken bones. I briefly heard at one point that some people were taking advantage of this in Africa to promote BS “cures” and “vaccines” – real witch doctors. I nodded and didn’t think too much of it. It fit in with the preconcieved notions I’ve always been fed about most of Africa. A couple days later I saw our politicians first start to react to Ebola.

    I now feel bad for believing silly nonsense about Africa and wish we could export our local witch doctors. Surely some collection of villages somewhere are in need of a new idiot.

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