The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Michael Maiello's picture

    Public Service Announcement: Ebola and New York City

    Our mayor just tried to calm the populace:

    "There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said at a news conference. "Being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk."

    This was a bad way to put it.  Lemme fix it for him:

    "There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said at a news conference.



    Better: "I will do everything in my power to keep New York safe. Only I can keep you safe."


    "The ebola virus walks into a bar..."​

    ...and the bar would have had the resources to deal with the issue right then and there had George W. Bush not cut its funding by quitting drinking.

    This is why open carry in bars pushed by the GOP is so critical to deal with this scary scary scary obamanation.

    For Republicans "It’s better to fight them there than here." is a ideological credo that applies only to terrorists, not deadly epidemic diseases.

    Of course, in all seriousness, when it comes to Ebola, it's actually quite true that it's better to fight it in Africa (which I know is not what your joke was alluding to) than here. I'm not worried about an Ebola epidemic here, but I am glad that we're now putting more focus on treating Ebola in Africa.

    I'm lame  er .... I mean I'm a lame duck 

    Here's a better graphic:

    Risk on a logarithmic scale

    Note that the risk calculations for contracting Ebola in America assumes 12 imported cases per year. So far we've had 2 (or 4, depending on what you include as "imported cases"), so that sounds about right, but it could be off by a factor of 2 or 3 in either direction.


    Wow, I didn't know Monrovia was such a worldwide attraction, to warrant them being considered as a bench mark, in the world scheme of things. 

    Or was the caveat "this week" or "this year" more indicative of the ridiculousness of the comparisons? 

    If the start of a pandemic should occur tomorrow, we could always make the subset to include all statistics up until 10 /23 / 2014 (yesterday).

    Monrovia is the capital of Liberia and is currently the worst place to be if you're afraid of Ebola (and you'd have every right to be afraid of Ebola if you were in Monrovia). The caveat "this week" is meant to convey just how bad it is in Monrovia at the moment. So, spending money to treat the problem at its source? Excellent idea. Spending money to penalize people who are trying to treat the problem at its source, with little to no impact on the actual risk? Bad idea.

    If the start of a pandemic should occur tomorrow, we could always make the subset to include all statistics up until 10 /23 / 2014 (yesterday).

    That would be cherry-picking, which any good statistician would avoid. The values provided in the graphic are based on rigorous analysis, backed on models of Ebola transmissivity and an understanding of how the US is interconnected.

    Thanks VA, for laying out the scope of the problems we face. But don't you think you could have offered some solutions. For example shouldn't Obama at the very least appoint an Atmospheric Electrical Phenomena Czar?

    Yeah but the Senate will never confirm someone like that.

    Hell, today or a month from now, the Senate never confirms anyone.

    the end

    Yeah but isn't 'shock and awe'/regime change and "getting Saddam" better to get The Base out to vote, as opposed to "stopping a deadly disease in impoverished parts of Africa?"

    Winning elections are what Republicans are all about, ideology trumps truth....The GOP never plans beyond the next election.

    The GOP never plans beyond the next election.

    That's the attention span of most voters? 

    Voters exercising their rights to remain ignorant.

    Has Maine closed the border?

    All I know is that now, New Jersey is calling us the cesspool.

    Do you think Maine should? 

    Many prior epidemics had many things in common.

    By requiring that common sense questions of  Who and Where  should have been answered then, as they should be now; would have prevented thousands upon thousands of deaths.

     The 10 Worst Disease Outbreaks & Epidemics in U.S. History

    1633-1634: Smallpox Epidemic in New England

     European settlers first brought smallpox to North America in the 1600s. In 1633-1634, the disease swept through the Northeast, wiping out entire Native American tribes.

    1793: Yellow Fever Outbreak in Philadelphia

    a group of refugees from the Caribbean Islands brought Yellow Fever with them to Philly.

    1830-1851: Second Cholera Pandemic

    The pandemic began in India, and then swiftly spread across the globe via trade routes. Settlers travelling along the Mormon and Oregon Trails brought cholera to the United States from East to West, killing an estimated 150,000 Americans 

     1918: Spanish Flu Pandemic

    In 1918, waves of mutating influenza viruses swept through the military lines of the armies fighting in World War I to the civilian population across the globe.

    1957: Asian Flu Pandemic

    An outbreak of this virus originated in China in early 1956.

    Typhoid Mary - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I am old enough to remember the Asian Flu.  My mother was so sick with it. I can still see her laying on the couch unable to get up. I was just a little girl and was the only one who did not get it.  I helped with handing out buckets to sick members of the family and emptying them. I remember standing on a stool hanging up wet bed linens in the basement to dry.  I think that is when I learned how to use a ringer washer. My dad set it up and I did the rest. 

    My Great Grandmother lost two siblings to the Spanish Influenza. 

    People wonder why I am so fearful of the diseases that can arise and our inability to stop the deaths ;  it’s because I didn’t forget this film and the American experience.

    Influenza 1918 . American Experience . WGBH | PBS

    Read the introduction and the transcript; better yet try to view the video 

    Dr. Alfred Crosby, author, America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The epidemic killed, at a very, very conservative estimate, 550,000 Americans in 10 months, that’s more Americans than died in combat in all the wars of this century, and the epidemic killed at least 30 million in the world and infected the majority of the human species.

    Narrator: As soon as the dying stopped, the forgetting began.

    Dr. Alfred Crosby, author, America’s Forgotten Pandemic: It is in the individual memory of a great many of us, but it’s not in our collective memory. That for me is the greatest mystery: how we could have forgotten anything so horrendous, so massively horrendous, as this, this epidemic which killed so many of us, killed us so fast and our reaction was to forget it.

    Dr. Shirley Fannin, Epidemiologist: Why? Why wasn’t that part of our memory? Or of our history? I think it’s probably because it was so awful while it was happening, so frightening, that people just got rid of the memory. But it always lingers there. As a kind of an uneasiness. If it happened once before, what’s to say it’s not going to happen again. The more we find out about influenza virus, the more real that fear becomes.

    Surgeon General Vaughan reached a frightening conclusion. “If the epidemic continues its mathematical rate of acceleration,” he announced, “civilization could easily disappear from the face of the earth within a few weeks.”

    Then, just as suddenly as it struck, the calamitous disease abruptly began to vanish. By mid-November, the numbers of dead were plunging. “In light of our knowledge of influenza,” says Dr. Shirley Fannin, a Los Angeles County public health official, “we do understand that it probably ran out of fuel. It ran out of people who were susceptible and could be infected.”

    Can the Ebola virus morph? 

    Now our government is finally thinking about quarantining folks?

    It is more likely that a flu virus will morph into something far more deadly than it is that an Ebola virus will morph into something far more contagious. Should we shut down schools, malls, planes, and other crowded spaces now, just to be safe?

    The nurse quarantined in New Jersey tested negative for Ebola. The only thing the prospect of quarantine will do is discourage health care workers from going to the source of the disease, the only way to stop the epidemic. Why go to the involved areas if you will be imprisoned on return? If you are worried about spread of disease, you should be against mandatory quarantine of health workers.

    Procedures for screening and quarantining returning Americans returning from treating Ebola victims SHOULD BE written into FEDERAL legislation quickly and fairly decided based on science/CDC testimony BY OUR do-nothing but play politics shills in CONGRESS. That's their f***ing JOB.

    There should be a straight forward national standard for how to handle these brave people.....this epidemic is not ending anytime soon.

    For those who are forced to wait in quarantine a flat tax free payment of $20,000 for their time could be paid as provided by Congress. 100 such cases would cost a mere $2 million. Provision to avoid fraud would of course have to be implemented by verification of persons by NGO's.

    Of course, it's much easier and politically more advantageous for Republicans to do nothing, spread endless scary scenarios, blame Obama, and say government is the problem.

    If you are relying on Issa, Paul, Gohmert, etc., to do things based on science, you are in for a rude awakening.

    Jenny McCarthy, et al were able to scare people out of getting children vaccinated. The end result was flares of infections among school age children.

    Congress and some in the public are not science-based.

    Is there a civil liberties issue here? I question whether states have a legal right to impose a forced quarantine on citizens showing no signs of the virus.

    Governor of NY is forced to agree with you:

    Andrew Cuomo admits Ebola quarantine policy could be unenforceable
    New York Daily News, Oct. 26

     Gov. Cuomo acknowledged his tough quarantine policy for health-care workers returning from West Africa was somewhat toothless and possibly unenforceable.

    “Could you have a hostile person who doesn’t want to be quarantined?” the governor asked Saturday during a campaign swing through Queens. “I suppose you could. But that hasn’t been the case yet.”

    The governor said officials had never considered whether people refusing to go along with the order could face prosecution or arrest.

     “It’s nothing that we’ve discussed, no,” he said.

    Pressed on where the passengers would spend their 21-day quarantine, Cuomo made it sound almost voluntary.

    “Some people could be quarantined in a hospital if they wanted to be,” he suggested...

    I would keep in mind, though, that those most likely to be carriers are people who have already volunteered to help fight the disease.

    I haven't read a lot on it, but I got the impression that the nurse that argued felt that the people she was dealing with were idiots about the whole issue. And that brings up the whole interesting topic where we have civil liberties partly because government by the majority,even when well-intentioned, has been known in history to become idiotic. (I.E., big government can help people during a major depression, it can also efficiently send Japanese-Americans to internment camps.) I noted in looking up the above story that Fox News was covering Cuomo's admission with headlines.

    I doubt that it occurred to the nurse currently quarantined that she had an option to refuse. If she had, it's unlikely that she would have been released. Since, by Cuomo's admission, they haven't considered that possibility, what would the "idiots" have done?

    I dislike the term "slippery slope", but this reeks of it.

    Just checked the NYTimes home page and the headline is "breaking" news on this whole thing:

    White House Presses States to Reverse Ebola Quarantine

    By MARC SANTORA and MICHAEL D. SHEAR, New York Times, 43 minutes ago

    The Obama administration has pushed the governors of New York and New Jersey to reverse their decision ordering all medical workers returning from West Africa who had contact with Ebola patients to be quarantined, an administration official said.

    On a serious level, this MSF Doc with Ebola seems to have violated CDC policy on "persons exposed to Ebola":

    Interim Guidance for Monitoring and Movement of Persons with Ebola Virus Disease Exposure

    Updated: August 22, 2014

    Controlled movement

    Controlled movement requires people to notify the public health authority about their intended travel for 21 days after their last known potential Ebola virus exposure. These individuals should not travel by commercial conveyances (e.g. airplane, ship, long-distance bus, or train). Local use of public transportation (e.g. taxi, bus) by asymptomatic individuals should be discussed with the public health authority. If travel is approved....

    Apparently the MSF guy self-monitored and didn't advise the NYC Health Dept. of anything until he got sick, did not ask for approval to take subways for instance, or go bowling, eat out etc. He prized his Freedumb.

    DHS should have a list of NGO Ebola providers and tell them when they return to the US they will need to check in with the local City Health Dept, and follow up to ensure they do. If DHS/NSA billions spent on security is worth anything, they should be able to do this.


    Here's a report on what they are doing now:

    NYC Health Department Monitoring Residents Returning From West Africa
    By Jillian Jorgensen, New York Observer, 10/24/14 2:35pm conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control, which is already tracking and screening anyone flying into John F. Kennedy and Newark-Liberty airports from West African nations....

    New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said it was formerly procedure that the CDC asked those returning to “voluntarily monitor” — to check their temperature, even if they had no symptoms.

    “Then that changed to twice a day, checking your temperature. And now, we’re not only going to give that recommendation to them, we’re going to call them,” Dr. Bassett said. “And we have the responsibility — we at the New York City Health Department, we for New York City residents — but this is going to be done across this nation. So that’s what we mean by active monitoring. It’s not only voluntary — we actually reach out to the person and talk to them about what temperatures they’re measuring.”

    Mr. de Blasio added: “Daily contact.”....

    In the end legally doesn't it boll down to this, because it's about border crossing: if you've got business in one of these countries, but don't want to be subjected to phone calls from and possibly visits from the health department, don't leave the U.S.A.?

    Our civil liberties are already impinged upon every time we pass through immigration/customs. Immigration and customs departments are there to prevent people or things harming a country. Citizens get preferential treatment but are still subjected to inspection, show of papers, etc.

    There is another high school shooting in Washington State.

    MSNBC is covering this suicide shooter.

    I dunnno what this has to do with your blog.

    But, damn, we lose 30,000 lives that involve guns.

    And for a week all I hear about is eboli.

    Two are dead, the suicide terrorist included.

    The MEDIA  coverage just bugs me.

    Another high school shooting?  Thanks, Obama!

    Why thank Obama?

    Missy, Mike does not 'mean' that.

    He is tongue in cheeks all the time, and it is debatable which cheeks I am talking about.


    His point, as far as I know, and what the hell do I know is that there is a great percentage of folks in this country who will blame My President for everything.

    So Mike M is making a joke.

    He is a good man.

    I mean the Prez is a good man.

    I have never been sure about Mike M.



    I'm sure you're right, Dick, thanks for the clarification!



    Obama hugged the nurse treated for Ebola after caring for the Liberian man who died from Ebola in Dallas. The woman is Ebola free after a stay at Bethesda.

    Fuggeaboutit Part II: it's a great NYC-style opportunity!  Taking "waste management" ( ala Tony Soprano) to a whole new level:

    For Man in Ebola Virus Cleanup, a History of Fraud
    By Benjamin Mueller,New York Times, Nov. 1, 2014

    Subtitle: Hey, there's gold in this here Ebola thing!

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