Ebola: ‘Soft’ Quarantine Placing America At Risk?

In response to my last article titled ‘Will The Real Ebola Patient Please Stand Up’, I received an inquiry from a reporter who works for a large newspaper in Oregon. In the inquiry, the question that was essentially posed to me was ‘how do I define the word quarantine’. Basically, the reporter wanted to mince words about how I used that word in my article, and in passing also mentioned that there are (as of Nov. 4th) 5 people who are under Ebola watch pursuant to a self-monitoring quarantine protocol. What is concerning is that this brand new protocol is being lauded as ‘successful and working’, only because a few cases (the woman in Oregon from Liberia, the nurses in Texas and the doctor in New York) reported a fever and were subsequently hospitalized.

Last Updated on February 6, 2015

In response to my last article titled ‘Will The Real Ebola Patient Please Stand Up’, I received an inquiry from a reporter who works for a large newspaper in Oregon. In the inquiry, the question that was essentially posed to me was ‘how do I define the word quarantine’. Basically, the reporter wanted to mince words about how I used that word in my article, and in passing also mentioned that there are (as of Nov. 4th) 5 people who are under Ebola watch pursuant to a self-monitoring quarantine protocol. What is concerning is that this brand new protocol is being lauded as ‘successful and working’, only because a few cases (the woman in Oregon from Liberia, the nurses in Texas and the doctor in New York) reported a fever and were subsequently hospitalized.

From my chair it’s a bit premature to characterize that a newly adapted protocol, with essentially just a few data points, as being ‘successful’ and ‘working’. What happens when someone has a faulty thermometer and doesn’t realize that they have a fever, and then continue to mix with the general public while symptomatic (the period when the CDC says people are most contagious)? Or what happens if someone is mentally unbalanced and doesn’t report a fever, or if the onset of the disease is so fast and severe, the individual develops symptoms while in a public location (Vomiting, Diarrhea, etc.), and so on; there are a dozen more possibilities along these lines that could lead to a failure in the protocol.

The reason that Cities, Counties and States are all looking at the self-imposed/self-monitoring form of a ‘quarantine’, as it has also been called by other writers, is that with the ACLU on the lookout for any perceived civil rights violations as we have seen in New York with the Ebola healthcare nurse Kaci Hicox, these government bodies are fearful of potential litigation by people who are forced into strict quarantine.

What really is at stake here is a full-blown epidemic in America if we have any bad luck while this protocol is in use. And the numbers of people who are now on such protocols is unknown. For instance, the health department in Oregon is saying that due to HIPPA regulations they unable to provide details about potential cases; where they are located during the voluntary quarantine, etc. Who knew there was already 5 people under Ebola watch just in Oregon. And more people are flocking to America daily from Africa as a result of the recent news of successful treatments for Ebola being provided here. I can’t blame anyone in Africa for trying whatever tactics to get into the U.S.; Mr. Duncan potentially being the poster-child for such a tactic.

What concerns me is this:

We have 150 people each day flying into America from Ebola stricken African nations!

Unlike many other modern nations, our borders are wide-open to all comers from African nations, and too many people in our government have been patting themselves on their backs as they trumpet to the world that we can handle anything the virus throws our way, when the facts on the ground paint a somewhat different picture.

More than 10,000 people in Africa currently have the virus and more than 5,000 have already died (and the CDC admits those numbers may be low). So far, the score here in the U.S. as far as successful treatment is; Mr. Duncan died and two nurses lived (the doctor in New York is still pending); that’s a one-in-three death rate even with treatment using the specialized hospital treatment suites (11 total across the U.S.: ), staff and drugs. What happens when there are more than 11 patients? What happens when there are 110 patients, or 1,100 patients? What’s the death-rate then? What’s the transmission rate to healthcare workers during treatment outside of the 11 specialized hospital-units? We know that two nurses in HAZMAT suits who treated Mr. Duncan both caught Ebola. Just in the past 5-months, over 200 trained healthcare workers have died from Ebola… so the rate of transmission is not insignificant, even among trained professionals.

If governmental health departments use the self-imposed quarantine and monitoring protocols across the country, and also keep as tight lipped as the officials in Oregon citing HIPPA regulations, we could potentially have hundreds of ‘possible cases’ distributed across the U.S. and you wouldn’t even know if a person in your apartment, or living next-door might be carrying the virus until an ambulance appeared with men in HAZMAT suits!

The ACLU may have unknowingly created a monster when they sided with healthcare nurse Kaci Hicox to have the State of Maine lift her quarantine, which was decidedly in the best interests of Ms. Hicox and not necessarily the community there in Maine or Americans in general. Even if she’s turns out to be virus free, the premature lifting of her strict quarantine may have set a very dangerous precedent. We need to keep in mind that the current Ebola pandemic, started with just one case in Africa. And if this deadly virus mutates in a single host and becomes more virulent, America could potentially suffer a devastating epidemic. Taking a cavalier political approach to this situation is extremely risky.

I believe that if men and women want to go to war and serve our country, they do so at their own risk, and all of our soldiers realize that. Similarly, any healthcare workers who bravely volunteer to go into areas that are beset by Ebola have to realize and understand that they cannot subject Americans back at home to any of the risk that they have assumed for themselves, regardless of how small the risk may be; if it’s greater than zero, then it’s too much. I believe that health care workers who wish to risk their own lives are certainly brave and desperately needed, but just like soldiers, healthcare workers should also be prepared to undertake a strict 21-day quarantine, which is the same protocol that our military has intelligently adopted to protect Americans. Does it seem that the military side of government is more concerned about protecting Americans than the civilian/political side?

Effects of Ebola
Effects of Ebola

Coming home to the U.S. from an area that is crawling with Ebola, and then expecting to seamlessly integrate back into society prior to clearing any potential time-frame for the potential transmission of Ebola is just self-serving and inconsiderate of fellow Americans. The ACLU needs to consider that; one person does not have the right (Constitutional or otherwise) to expose others to the risk of a potentially lethal disease, regardless of how small the odds are.

For one, I disagree with Kaci Hicox’s opinion of the low-risk that healthcare workers returning from Africa potentially pose to others. And if the virus has mutated in the body of a returning healthcare worker, it’s possible that America could be exposed to a far more virulent strain of Ebola, where existing protocols would fall seriously short, possibly resulting in an American epidemic of a more deadly strain!

We have already seen an airborne strain of Ebola once before and we were lucky that the military got a handle on that situation quickly, since that strain was located in an animal quarantine lab in Reston, VA. https://ispub.com/IJPRM/2/1/12768

The politicians who are leading the media are not erring on the side of caution, and instead have crossed over the double yellow line… now it may only be a matter of time until the worst case scenario becomes a reality.

I believe that if we are going to allow people to enter the U.S. who have recently been in affected African nations, regardless of the reason for their visit there, they must face a strict 21-day quarantine here in America. Anything less is inviting disaster! Ideally, we should simply close our borders to anyone originating from the affected African nations, and quarantine these people in Africa before they leave to other countries. Some people might consider a 21-day quarantine a hardship; to them I respond, have you ever seen and smelled a person infected with an advanced case of Ebola? If not, you can get a sobering education over on YouTube:

Knowledge is power and gives the ability to be prepared and to survive.

Cheers! Capt. Bill

CaptainBillFrequent contributor, Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, who has successfully survived long-term off the grid at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family using sailboats that he equipped for that purpose. Capt. Bill holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial inspected passenger vessels, including, power, sail and assistance towing vessels. He is also the author of many articles on sailing and the book ‘The Nautical Prepper’ (Ulysses Press) You can read more from the Nautical Prepper on Capt. Bill’s personal site at www.williamesimpson.com

15 comments
  1. Capt. Bill,
    I can understand the concern with Ebola, and there’s nothing wrong with concern and watching what’s going on. It’s an important distinction between Africa and the US or other First World nations. Not only are our medical facilities superior, but we also have extensive social media that can get the word out very quickly. People are on top of this, even if it doesn’t really appear so.

    The truth of the matter is that the US has not been overrun by this virus. In fact, we haven’t even had a dozen fatalities, though far more than a dozen died yesterday alone in the US from vehicle accidents. It’s important to keep perspective in this. A lot of people think Ebola will go “12 Monkeys” on us, but that simply isn’t the case. I’m keeping my eye on this, but I’m not going to become concerned until more people die daily from Ebola than from vehicle accidents in the US.

    1. Brian, I am concerned that people who use “the US has not been overrun by the virus” and its derivatives as a way to caution or “poo poo” people calling for more drastic action are mistaking sheer luck with skill, know-how, and effective policies.

      I am absolutely with you on the “don’t panic” wagon, because, as you said, we are not experiencing the numbers of patients that other countries are. However, I am shouting from the rooftops that we need to ban travel from these countries, force quarantine on people who are a risk, and seal up our border because those things are only common sense and our ONLY defense when faced with disease. This isn’t chickenpox where we send the neighborhood kids to someone’s house to get it over with. This is hemorrhagic fever with an extremely high mortality rate in the most gruesome of means possible.

      Ebola should never have come here. Now it is and that’s very dangerous. It might not be spreading as far as we know, but just like many things in life – we truthfully have ZERO idea about what it’s doing. While I don’t know your prepping precautions, I get the sense from your comments that you believe this isn’t worth taking steps toward personal protection or sounding the alarm. If that’s the case I must disagree vehemently.

      Remember the addage: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Let’s keep ebola outside of the country or locked up in quarantine for everyone’s sake.

    2. Greetings Brian – et. al.

      Please don’t be offended when I say; I think you are, like many other people suffering from a ‘Normalcy Bias’: Here is exactly what that means:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normalcy_bias

      You say we haven’t been overrun by the Ebola virus. But any qualified virologist who is being brutally honest, would tell you that can change in a heartbeat. Just for the sake of an example, even the seasonal Flu (which is of course also a virus) can start out with just a few cases, and withing two or three months, the U.S. is overrun with Flu. That scenario has happened many times.

      You are incorrect when you seem to imply that we have the capability to handle an outbreak of Ebola here in the U.S. … We flat out do not have the capability to handle an Ebola outbreak here. So if Ebola gets a rolling start through the importation of numerous hosts (like the 150 people arriving from the Ebola stricken nations, into the U.S. daily), we would find that it will spread fast in the cities with high population densities (especially during Flu season when it has lots of camouflage), especially in the ghettos and the massive ‘Condemned Cities’ (outlined in my article on that subject).

      https://theprepperjournal.com/2014/10/31/americas-condemned-cities-dark-breeding-grounds-pestilence-crime/

      If the Ebola virus mutates (and it happens in just ‘one’ host, at the drop of the hat) and a truly ‘airborne’ strain emerges here from that host traveling into the U.S. from Africa, who subsequently has their virus bloom here, the existing protocols will certainly, without any doubt fail. And it will spread as fast as the seasonal Flu, only it would be fatal in 50% of cases, maybe more (we have just 11 treatment beds in the entire U.S.). Deadly airborne viruses (like the ‘Reston’ strain of Ebola)can only be dealt-with in a special negative-pressure BLS-4 treatment suite. I repeat, we have 11 of those in ‘all’ of America. You are of course free to believe whatever you care to believe, but that doesn’t change the facts, or the results if you are wrong. If I am wrong, I have some food and supplies I can use in any other emergency, or time of need.

      The CDC has an agenda and a motive for how they do business and their ‘messaging’ to Americans. And their agenda, in my opinion, is not necessarily what is 100% best for individuals. Instead, it’s designed to be in the best interest of the country as a ‘whole’. It’s a sad fact that if even half of the population in America started prepping tomorrow with just the basics to survive a self-imposed quarantine to keep the healthy away from the sick at large, pandemonium would ensue as the shelves of stores were cleared. This would also cause a significant disruption in the economy of the country, and sadly we have a government that seems to care more about money than individual citizens.

      If you read enough about the history of the Great Flu Pandemic (1918-19) that swept through the United States, there are many stories of people who didn’t think that it was coming to America or would be any different than prior Flu either… and then like now, those people were suffering from a ‘Normalcy Bias’.

      At sea, sailors learn to expect the unexpected; anything can happen at the drop of a hat. As MarineTanker suggested, it sounds like you are waiting to prep until you see it coming… IF this is the case, you will be joined by a few million others who won’t see the wave until it crushes them.

      A far superior strategy is to take precautions now, while you can (buy some insurance) and have some preps in place. That’s my advice to people on the fence. As far as my own family and friends, they can stay at home for 6-months if the need arises.

      Darwinism is all about how nature selects ‘against’ the unprepared. There is another psychological factor that may also be affecting your thought process; its called a ‘Meme’… and this article discusses how a Meme based upon a ‘Normalcy Bias’ may wipe out select people in the population; here is that article:

      https://theprepperjournal.com/2013/07/15/is-prepping-the-next-evolutionary-meme-on-the-planet/

      Regardless of your personal decision, I wish you (and everyone) only the best!

      Cheers! Capt. Bill

  2. Hey Capt. Any qualified virologist will tell you that Ebola and the seasonal flu are worlds apart. Is Ebola dangerous? Absolutely. But your fear-mongering is getting really old.

    1. No virus in the history of virology has ever in the natural course of its mutations changed its mode of transmission. Ever. Why aren’t virologists more concerned about it becoming airborne? Because it’s just as likely that HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C would become airborne.

    2. In exactly one experiment, virologists were able to forcibly alter a virus (previously transmissible only by contact between a human and an infected animal) to change its mode of transmission. Why only one? Because the amino acid changes were so complex, the viruses could no longer survive with a new mode of transmission. In the one case they were able to make it happen, it resulted in a virus which was no longer as pathogenic and no longer lethal.

    3. The Reston strain? Really? Did you come across the part where those monkeys which supposedly were infected by airborne transmission had in fact been hurling their feces at each other across the room? And you forgot to mention that Reston can’t cause disease in humans.

    By all means, prep. I certainly do. But a big part of situational awareness is being able to accurately assess threats in our environment. Your recent string of postings on Ebola are doing a disservice to people by giving them bad intel. But hey, when the book is selling and you’re in demand for blog posts because of your Hollywood science fiction scenarios, don’t let a little thing like actual science get in your way.

  3. As a healthcare worker, I am appalled by the selfishness displayed by those workers who blatantly disregard the ‘soft’ protocols currently in place. Would I personally “like” isolating myself for 21-42 days? No, I wouldn’t, but I also would rather be safe than sorry…wouldn’t want to be the next Typhoid Mary…

    And I do NOT feel that Captain Bill is fearmongering…he is presenting the facts, which our MSM are unable or unwilling to do. The Normalcy Bias is what is going to kill people, not the facts.

  4. Excerpt from Sarah Menet’s vision in 1979…

    The next thing I saw was people being sick and dying. I saw this particularly in four cities: New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Salt Lake. The disease started by having white blisters, some the size of dimes appear on their hands, arms and face. This quickly developed into white puffy sores and blisters. People would stumble about and fall and then many died within a short time, maybe 24 hours. I also saw other people with blood coming from their nose, mouth, eyes and ears. It started like a flu virus and it spread very quickly, faster than the other white blister disease. The people who had this disease died even faster. This was more wide spread across the entire United States. There were hundreds of thousands of people stricken with these two diseases.

  5. Sorry Grammy, but Capt. is cherry picking his “facts” and presenting the dramatic soundbites without relaying the context or subsequent findings of research.

    What I posted above are facts.

  6. Okay, let’s see who can figure this out before Capt. can.

    Taken from the article you just cited as a source against my facts.

    “Number of individuals in NYC who are being ‘actively monitored’ for the Ebola infection increased by 300%.”

    Also taken from the article cited above.

    “the number of individuals in New York City who are being “actively monitored” for the Ebola infection has jumped to 357 people from 117 people the prior week”

    Your source can’t do math. And that certainly doesn’t add to your credibility.

    So yes, basically I am saying they’re wrong. Unless you don’t believe in math either.

    1. Um, Still Waters, I hate to break it to you, but the math is correct.
      .
      357/117 = 3.05128….x100 = 305%
      .
      Perhaps I’m not understanding you, what was your point supposed to be about this?

      1. I’m sorry, Marine, but the math is not correct. To figure a percentage increase, you must first find the difference between the two numbers and then divide by the original number.

        The correct math is 357-117 = 240. 240/117 = 2.05 or 205%

        Check it here if you don’t believe me. http://www.skillsyouneed.com/num/percent-change.html

        And this is exactly my point. Capt. tends to quote sources with plausible sounding “facts”, which aren’t actually factual.

        1. I see what you’re saying, the difference not being the same as the total, rather it’s a ratio of only the new compared to the original, not the total compared to the original. Ok, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.

          You know hat they say about Marines:
          Muscles
          Are
          Required
          Intelligence
          Not
          Expected

          1. Marine, there are two men living in this world whom I hold in the highest possible level of respect. One is a former marine, and your posts remind me a great deal of this man. In fact, at first I suspected you might be him, so even though I’ve never met you, you automatically receive a certain bonus in my esteem just by association. And while you’re willing to question your own intelligence, I’ve seen enough in your posts to know that you’re far from unintelligent.

            The second man is a retired Navy Captain. And maybe that’s why I get so aggravated by Capt.’s postings. You don’t stay a Capt. in the USMM unless you’re smart, tough as hell, and know instinctively when someone’s feeding you a line of BS. It’s not that I think he’s a bad guy. Quite the contrary. I just think he’s capable of doing better, especially given his ability to educate so many people through his writing.

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