“It’s not over til it’s over,” Yogi Berra would say on this last day of the 2014 World Series. Our nurse who was freed from her prison-like quarters in a Newark hospital, by Governor Christie of New Jersey and New York Governor Cuomo over the weekend, left her New Jersey home and drove to Maine where she’s again meeting resistance to continue her freedom. She’s threatening to sue the state if Governor Paul LePage doesn’t break the quarantine by tomorrow, Thursday morning. Kaci Hickox went on a media blitz today, which certainly contributed to her release from the Newark hospital last Sunday, where she was confined to a tent with no sink or television, even no reading material. “I’m not going to sit around and be bullied by politicians and forced to stay in my home when I am no risk to the American public…I will go to court to attain my freedom.” One of the nurse’s several lawyers, Steve Hyman doubts Governor LePage has the authority to confine her, claiming as does Kaci, that she harbors no infectious disease. Another one of her attorneys, prominent civil rights lawyer Norman Siegel argues Maine has no right or justification to enforce a quarantine. Just back from Serra Leone, one of the 3 principle West African countries where Ebola is running rampant, Hickox has gathered lawyers who will argue the Maine law permitting confinement of individuals if there is an “actual or threatened epidemic or public health threat,” does not apply here because they claim, she is no threat to the public. They’ll also challenge the legality of state quarantines, which would please President Obama. A CBS News poll released today (Wednesday) indicates 80 per cent of the American public favors quarantines for those arriving from West Africa as has Kaci. Governors Cuomo and Christi over the weekend modified the quarantine for returning medical workers who could stay in their own homes during the 21-day incubation period. “Doctors Without Borders” is in agreement with the position member Hickox is taking, saying forced quarantines for returning health care workers is unnecessary and “not based upon established medical science.”
Kaci Hickox is quite a woman; strong in personality as can be, and ready to accept the danger of helping Ebola victims in West Africa. Her Texas mother said Governors Christie of New Jersey and Cuomo of New York sure learned that this past weekend when the nurse raised hell as a quarantined patient in a Newark hospital. She was isolated in a sparsely appointed tent with a toilet but no sink. Kaci, a masters graduate of Baltimore’s highly respected Johns Hopkins went public on CNN and wrote a detailed accounting for the Dallas Times-Herald, then hired one of the biggest U.S. civil rights attorneys, Norman Seigel. The public pressure, though neither Cuomo nor Christie would admit it, won the nurse’s freedom from the quarantined tent; the governors rationalizing, “We have to take a middle-of-the-road approach,” and let her live the rest of the required 21 days at her own New Jersey home, otherwise such ill treatment would discourage other needed medical professionals from going to West Africa expecting similar ill treatment when they returned to the United States. Kaci’s now in Maine with her boyfriend. Yes, her mother was right’ the governors had no idea the power they were up against. Kaci Hickox changed Ebola policy in the United States and did it in a matter of hours. The president was reportedly livid over 2 states making what’s turning out to be a changed national policy. Livid or not, Mr. Obama caught up with the states, Monday, modifying the national hospital quarantine ruling for returning medical professionals.
The nurse who Sunday got at least 4 states to allow Ebola medical workers to self-quarantine at home rather than in an isolation unit in a hospital, claims she is asymptomatic; that is tests don’t show if she has the disease. What Kaci Hendrix didn’t explain is that asymptomatics are carriers who can unknowingly spread the disease to others. New findings by African and European scientists confirm the Ebola virus which has caused over 5-thousand deaths in West Africa can infect without producing illness. The British medical journal Lancet says now, for the first time there is documentary proof that Ebola spawns unknown carriers, making eradication of the disease even more difficult. Newtown, Australia Dr. Alan Baxter writes in Lancet, “This degree of containment would be virtually impossible if symptom-free carriers posed a significant threat of infection.” Add the
transmission by healthy carriers through sex to blood and vomit as Ebola has just been detected in semen. This is a far more complicated disease to eradicate than we have been told. And it all started to spread carelessly by unsanitary conditions in West African hospitals. Ebola has been around for at least 30 years. About 350 would die a year in Africa and in the sparsely populated Amazon in South America. But it was contained until sanitary conditions were ignored in West Africa last year as the infected increased in ever greater numbers. Current studies show so many animals and birds can be carriers. Dogs have been euthanized in Spain believing the infection jumped from a sick nurse who had travelled from Africa.
The American politics of the Ebola crisis is “getting curiouser and curiouser,” Alice would say. The White House which said it was running the show is livid with New York and New Jersey governors making their own decisions on how to handle the Ebola crisis. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is in agreement with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s decision to take a middle-of-the-road approach to treatment of possible victims of the deadly virus. From here on out, people quarantined in New York who are not showing any sign of the disease are now allowed to stay at home. They will be visited twice a day. The change comes after a nurse arrived in New Jersey from Sierra Leone and was automatically put in an isolation tent in a Newark hospital. The tent had a portable toilet but no shower. The medical community protested saying the treatment of Kaci Hickox sends a message to other medical professionals who were thinking of volunteering to aid African Ebola victims. Hickox, the first isolated under a new New Jersey law attacked Governor Christie for saying she was “obviously ill.” She retorted on CNN, “If he knew anything about Ebola, he would know that asymptomatic people are not infectious.” Mayor de Blasio defended Governor
Cuomo’s quarantine-at-home decision, “We have to think how we treat the people who are doing this noble work.” Governor Christie acknowledged Hickox’s treatment was “inappropriate…we owe her better than that.” Since the governors’ announcement Illinois and Florida joined in that they too would allow the quarantined to run out the mandatory 21 days in their own homes. Governor Christie sees the Obama administration eventually following the state’s new policy. But the angry White House is presently trying to persuade the states to rollback their decision.
Thirteen years after the U.S.-led invasion of NATO troops was initiated to war against the Taliban in Afghanistan, Marine Camp Leatherneck was shuttered while British troops at adjacent Camp Bastion ended their combat role today. Before the closure commenced those 2 bases in the drug province of Helmand housed up to 40-thousand troops and civilian contractors. Today’s departure gives a green light for the resumption of the Taliban’s opium production. It’s extremely doubtful that the Afghan Army will be able to hold off the Taliban anymore than the Iraq Army has been able to since the departure of allied troops in Iraq. Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda headquarters and training center in the desert of Afghanistan had spawned extremists for the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York. In surprising speed, American commando units destroyed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. With that accomplished so easily the NATO allies of Germany, Italy, Jordan and Turkey joined U.S. and British forces to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban, which had been successfully instilling radical Moslem law throughout the country. As the free nations depart the Taliban remains. Hard to see if anything positive has been accomplished. American troops have their doubts while their generals speak the line of coalition optimism. 2210 American and 453 British soldiers gave their lives for the cause. The U.S. military alone is leaving a estimated 230-Million dollars
in military equipment and property for the Afghan security forces which have with the protection of allied troops while losing several hundred of their own monthly. The death count is bound to go up upon full allied departure by the end of the year. And it’s not just the Afghan military that’s been suffering. The United Nations reports civilian deaths reached 5-thousand so far this year, an all-time high.
Research on a potential Ebola vaccine was stopped just ahead of the finish line about 10 years ago because other drug investments would pay off hundreds of times better. Ebola, common in Africa and South America with a few hundred cases a year wasn’t where the money was then. It didn’t matter the vaccine was 100% effective against Ebola in monkeys and that tests could start on humans in 2 years with licensing projected for 2010 or 11. But the profit-minded drug companies weren’t interested in investing millions for those in poor countries with little or no payback. Big Pharma has recently learned that was a huge mistake for now there is an unforeseen a clamor to rush new experimental drugs to market a.s.a.p. Big money’s finally ready to pay in the industrialized world. Investment money is flying to companies on Wall Street with the slightest hint of a successful Ebola drug down the line. Investors looking for billion dollar payoffs have reopened clinical trials that were stopped 10 years ago. But it’s hard to forget the most promising vaccine that ridded all monkeys of Ebola could have been carried out to its conclusion 4 years ago. Unfortunately, it has taken a crisis to re-open the labs.
Policy and Action from Consumer Reports
9 of 10 doctors are worried. Let’s help them.
Doctors are speaking out with us today to stop the overuse of antibiotics in livestock that contributes to deadly ‘superbugs.’ Back them up by calling Trader Joe’s and asking: When are you going to stop selling meat raised on antibiotics?
There’s no doubt that we’re all seriously concerned about Ebola and our nation’s response to it.
But there’s another transmittable disease in the United States – antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or ‘superbugs’ – that kills more than 23,000 Americans each year. Yet it’s virtually ignored by our leaders and industry.
We’re changing that now. Today doctors are joining with us at events throughout the country demanding an end to the routine feeding of antibiotics to livestock that leads to the spread of these deadly bacteria.
Will you back them by taking action? Make a phone call to Trader Joe’s headquarters and demand it stop selling meat raised on antibiotics!
Call Now: 1-800-221-2063
Ask this question: When are you going to stop selling meat raised on antibiotics? Once you’ve completed your call, click the yellow button so we can track the pressure!
Why Trader Joe’s? Because it is a large, progressive grocery chain like Whole Foods – which already refuses to sell antibiotic-raised beef, chicken and pork – and the company stakes its reputation on responding to what customers want.
After nearly two years pushing Trader Joe’s to stop selling meat raised on drugs, we believe we’re close to getting a commitment. And your phone call during our day of action could seal the deal. Today we are:
• Holding events in 10 major cities, including Boston, New York and Washington, D.C., with a half-dozen other consumer and health groups calling on supermarket chains and large institutions to end the overuse of antibiotics in livestock.
• Releasing our national survey showing 9 of 10 physicians are concerned about the use of antibiotics on animals that aren’t sick, with 85 percent reporting one or more of their patients with a multi-drug resistant infection in the past year.
• Running a full-page ad in the Los Angeles Times, where Trader Joe’s is headquartered, asking the company to stop selling meat raised on drugs.
• Channeling your phone call to Trader Joe’s headquarters. Just call 1-800-221-2063 and ask this question: When are you going to stop selling meat raised on drugs? Then click here so we can track the number of calls made!
Thank you for doing your part to stop the overuse of antibiotics in our food animals, and making sure life-saving drugs work when your family needs them.
Jean Halloran, Consumers Union
Policy and Action from Consumer Reports
President Obama is finally getting down to the fundamental reason ISIS is the richest terrorist organization ever. The answer as always is money and in this case oil money and ransom money paid by several European nations to save the lives of captured citizens. Unbelievable but true, ISIS is also receiving funds from wealthy donors through several banks in the Middle East. Now at last, the Obama Administration is finally threatening
any country or company buying oil from ISIS. The Obama Administration estimates ISIS is receiving a million-dollars-a-day from this black market oil. Land grabs in oil rich Iraq and Syria have given ISIS a continuous flow of cash to advance their growing army goals with more killer weapons. Under Secretary of Treasury, David Cohen says
ISIS troops are actually refining some of the oil before selling it to smugglers who transport it to the Turkish and Kurdish regions where its “laundered” for purchase by western and Asian nations. Cohen says one of the biggest purchasers is the Syrian Assad government which at the same time is fighting ISIS as is the United States. The financial clampdown is being added to the destruction of some ISIS refineries by allied air power. “It’s still important to find other ways to target the group’s funding sources and prevent access to the former financial system, says Cohen. “The middleman, traders, refiners, transport companies and anyone else that handles ISIL’s oil should know that we are hard at work identifying them, and that we have the tools at hand to stop them.” The U.S. is also putting pressure on its allies who have been paying ransom for the return of their captured citizens. An estimated 20 Million extortion went ISIL’s way this year. Cohen repeated the U.S. position: “Every country must stop bankrolling our adversary by implementing a no ransom policy.” It would be refreshing to see president keep his foot on the pedal enforcing today’s promise.