Kaci Hickox is a spunky, well-spoken nurse and she's not going to sit around for 21 days when she poses no danger to the community. That's what she told NBC's Matt Lauer Wednesday morning on the Today Show, and it's what prompted Maine Governor LePage to station two troopers outside the door of her boyfriend's home.
Hickox, who is holed up in a house in the town of Fort Kent, gave the state until Thursday to let her move freely and threatened to take the matter to court herself. But Maine Health Commissioner Mary Mayhew said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon that "when it is made clear by an individual in this risk category that they do not intend to voluntarily stay at home for the remaining 21 days, we will immediate seek a court order."
Mayhew didn't use Hickox's name because of privacy regulations, but Hickox is the only person in the state known to have had direct exposure to Ebola patients. Asked specifically about Hickox's case, Mayhew replied, "We will make it mandatory."
Hickox emerged from her home Wednesday to tell reporters that she and her attorneys had been in negotiations all day with state officials but that the impasse remained.
"They will not allow me to leave my house and have any interaction with the public, even though I am completely healthy and symptom-free," Hickox said as her boyfriend stood beside her — and as a state trooper who has her under surveillance looked on.
If the state does go to court to force her to stay isolated until Nov. 10, "then I will challenge those legal actions," she said. "I'm not willing to stand here and let my civil rights be violated when it's not science-based."
Oh, Kaci, welcome to wingnut-ville, where science doesn't matter because the jerks in charge aren't scientists. All that matters is the fear factor, which is being played as much as possible.
So much, in fact, that President Obama appeared to be quite angry about it during his press appearance to thank the workers going to Africa to fight this disease.
I know that with all the headlines and all the news, that people are scared. I know that Ebola has concerned them. But the reason I’m so proud of this country is because when there are times where we need to step up and do the right thing, we do the right thing. That’s who we are. That’s what we do.
No other nation is doing as much to help in West Africa as the United States of America. When I hear people talking about American leadership, and then are promoting policies that would avoid leadership and have us running in the opposite direction and hiding under the covers, it makes me a little frustrated.
At the end, he summed up the character and nature of those who serve and those who criticize:
And that’s how I know we’re going to manage to contain the disease in America -- because like -- the heroes like the ones who are here today. That’s how I know we will fight this disease’s spread as more nurses and doctors and medics and lab technicians and health professionals join the effort. That’s how I know that ultimately, we’ll end the outbreak in West Africa and we’ll eliminate the threat that it poses to the world. That’s how I know that we will not only save thousands, tens of thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands of lives, but also how I know that we will remain true to our ideals and our values.
So I put those on notice who think that we should hide from these problems. That’s not who we are. That’s not who I am. That’s not who these folks are. This is America. We do things differently.
There is no reason for Kaci Hickox to be isolated and guarded like she's a criminal. She's someone who gave up her time and talent to help less fortunate people. May she see freedom soon.