Friday, October 24, 2014

No, Really, We Swear, Trust Us...

De Blasio urged  New Yorkers not to panic, and reemphasized multiple times along with other officials that Ebola is only transmitted through bodily fluids.
“We want to state at the outset – there is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” de Blasio said.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, EMS crews picked up Spencer just after noon Thursday. He was rushed from a building on West 147th Street in Hamilton Heights where he lives, and taken to Bellevue by a procession of two city ambulances and a police squad car.
Spencer, a 33-year-old physician who works with Doctors Without Borders, came back a week ago from Guinea where he is believed to have been treating Ebola patients.
At the news conference, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said officials believe Spencer came in contact with four people during the time he was infected and symptomatic, and state officials are already talking to those four people.
Those four people include Spencer’s fiancée and two friends – all of whom are healthy, but have still been quarantined, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett said.
The fourth person who is in contact with the state is the driver of an Uber car, which Spencer took when he went bowling Wednesday night in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Bassett said. The Uber driver had no direct contact with Spencer, and is not believed to be in any danger, she said.
Uber issued a statement indicating that it also contacted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the city Health Department, which said the driver and subsequent passengers were not at risk.
So, who knew that the NY Subways were so safe and body-fluid free??
Or that taxis, one of the biggest culprits in spreading Ebola throughout Monrovia, Freetown, and Conkary for months now, are magically more sanitary and safe in NYC??
Thank heavens CDC experts were on hand to downplay fears, because they've proven so insightful and well-informed on all their health care decisions and judgment calls on Ebola in the US to date.

(My apologies if beverages flying out your nose burned right there.)

After all, it's not like them suddenly not having to bother trying to contact-trace a few tens of thousands of NYC subway riders, or a few dozen car service passengers, makes their government jobs a wee bit easier today, is it? It isn't like all those people left untraced could come back to bite an entire megalopolis in the ass in 2-21 days, is it?
Nah, that's all just crazy talk. Everything will probably be fine.
It's definitely true that no one has ever died from subway-acquired Ebola in Liberia.
(Just as no one in NYC has ever been trampled by an elephant or eaten by lions.)
The whole "not feeling well for two days" thing doesn't count as "symptomatic" because mere symptoms aren't what they meant when they say "symptomatic".

Wait, what?

And if you shared sweaty-fingered bowling balls with Doctor Perfectly Followed The Protocols, you've got nothing to worry about.

What could possibly go wrong with all that? After all, why be prudent, when you can just as easily throw all caution to the winds with a deadly pathogen that was traipsed around the city since Tuesday? Obviously, it isn't like Mayor DeBlasio or Gov. Cuomo ride those subway cars or in that taxi, and they sure as hell won't be bowling anytime soon.
So you can trust them about this.

Spencer went for a three-mile jog and visited a bowling alley in Brooklyn named The Gutter prior to feeling symptomatic Thursday morning, Bassett said. The bowling alley has been closed. He also traveled on three subway lines. Authorities are checking his MetroCard to determine where else he went.
"At the time that the doctor was on the subway he did not have fever ... he was not symptomatic," according to Bassett, who said the chances of anyone contracting the virus from contact with Spencer were "close to nil."
De Blasio and Bassett were joined by Gov. Cuomo at a news conference to allay concerns about the spread of the virus, especially via public transportation.
Sounds good, right? So about ten paragraphs later, they slip this turd in the punchbowl:
The doctor began feeling sluggish a couple of days ago, but it wasn't until Thursday, when he developed 100.3-degree fever, that he contacted Doctors Without Borders, authorities said.The health department said a special ambulance unit transported a patient suffering from a fever and gastrointestinal symptoms.
For anyone not getting it (like Mayor De Blasio and Gov. Cuomo, "feeling sluggish" is
lethargy, which those in the medical arts refer to as a symptom.
Coincidentally, it's listed on most medical summaries as a symptom of Ebola.

The doctor exhibited symptoms of the Ebola virus for "a very brief period of time" and had direct contact with "very few people" in New York, de Blasio told reporters.
"The goal right now is to make sure people don't panic," he said.
Which explains why despite telling people that the risk is "near nil", the bowling alley is closed, the car driver is on watch, and the authorities are busily checking his Metro card record of travels. They aren't being prudent, they're lying, and covering their asses, so that if/when their bullshit bites them there, they can spring into action with some vague idea of where the next 1, or 10, or 100 patients will be coming from.

They hope.

It's clear from this effort that the mayor of NY and the Governor are not about to repeat the mistakes of officials in Dallas.

They're setting out to commit entirely NEW ones!



Anonymous said...

Thank you for the smiles and release of my own inner snark as I watch a deadly virus traipsing around this country and the world, being followed by the Keystone Cops.
You're a dose of much-needed sanity and I wish someone would hire you to deal with this thing, because everyone else seems to be suffering from dire cases of rectal-cranial inversion.

Iaato said...

Gotta' wonder--did he wash his hands?

Ex-Dissident said...

I hate to badmouth a group of doctors, but these docs without borders are thrill seekers and not known for being very careful. There is an element of insanity that infects each one of them and his behavior after returning from Guinea perfectly illustrates it. His girlfriend is probably reconsidering the wisdom of dating this nut. He wasn't careful at all with the lives of those who surround him. He also lied initially when he claimed to be self-quarantining.

KC said...

VA hospital in San Juan Puerto Rico being prepared for ebola cases

Emily Disraeli said...

Aesop my friend and wise source of Obola information, I will be the first to acknowledge "YOU WERE FUCKING RIGHT." You explained week after week, how this virus would infiltrate through our borders and then how .Gov and Big medicine screw up, cover their asses and then pat them selves on their backs for a job well done. If anybody survives, history is going to be a Bitch.

A Texan said...

I sat there watching the news conference last night, saying, "wrong" or "bullshit" so many times that my wife told me to shut up. It was like Alice in Wonderland - nothing made sense. I am left with a few reasons for such a snowjob: 1) everyone involved is a drooling idiot; 2) they are deathly afraid of a panic so much so that they knowingly lie while understanding that the lies will come undone in a week or two; 3) they are in utter denial (see #1); 4) they believe that their mere words have the power to make this go away (again, see#1); or 5) they want this to go viral for whatever reason (s). Any way you look at it, we are screwed unless the lucky cosmic dice break our way again. Let's just say I don't have a case of the warm and fuzzies about this, and I pray that Bismarck was right (again) when he said that God protects fools, drunks and the United States.

mikej said...

Wouldn't Manhattan Island be a great place to quarantine all of our Ebola cases? I'm assuming that there's still somebody in the government who knows how to control a bridge.

Emily Disraeli said...

OK, it just occurred to me why politicians are always saying it doesn't matter. Obamacare is a great example of this. With the possibility of the Ebola virus decimating our Healthcare System, killing our doctors and nurses and leaving America virtually with out any healthcare. Obamacare is just this made up fallacy of universal medical coverage that allowed the powers that be to siphon off extraordinary amounts of money. Now they will be able to blame the Ebola virus with the destruction of Obamacare. Simply ingenious.

Aesop said...

Well, except that Obamacare helped get us Ebola.

Thomas Duncan didn't come to the U.S. for better cable TV.

GamegetterII said...

"New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene"

Huh? "mental hygiene"?

Noticed that one just before coffee came out my nose from the later remarks on the CDC.

The 21 days ain't even up in NE Ohio yet-or 42 days-whichever it is.
Now we have Dr. Douchenozzle just wandering around NYC while symptomatic,possibly infecting way to many people to control the spread of Ebola in NYC.
Unless anyone believes DeBlasio and Co. have the abiltity to track down all those possibly exposed.
NE Ohio will likely see 2 cases,same for NYC-except Dr. Douchenozzle probably exposed more people than Ebola nurse II.
What happens when BL Level 4 beds are full?
Shut down all travel from W. Africa-period-end of story-or we have a huge problem,if we don't already. The next Duncan is either on the way-or already here.

Thanks for being the voice of reason and sanity concerning Ebola on the interwebz.

Anonymous said...

Just watched the dog and pony show that was the congressional hearing on Ebola, and I swear the doctor said that Ebola wan't contagious until someone had a fever. Waiting for transcripts, but if she actually said that she should be fired. Now.

They also kept saying that Ebola can't be spread asymptomatically, despite this NIH report to the contrary:

I absolutely love being lied to. It makes me feel so warm and secure. The more I'm lied to, the better and more reassured I am - don't know about anyone else.

Aesop said...

FYI, that documents that people could be exposed and contract Ebola virus without becoming symptomatic.

But what it doesn't do is demonstrate that they can then still pass the virus on to others.

IOW, it's only half an argument.
If someone can pass it on but remain asymptomatic, we're screwed, because such Typhoid Marys could randomly infect other contacts with no known pathology, creating a swath of Index Patients like bees pollinating flowers.

Anonymous said...

That's my concern. There can be people with no symptoms whatsoever who have Ebola, so what if they CAN spread the virus? What if it's a guy who had no idea he had it but retains it in his semen, like recovered Ebola patients do?

There's too much we don't know, so all of these reassurances without any studies backing them up aren't really all that reassuring. I'm hoping for more studies that are published, but something tells me if they're "scary" studies they won't be, not for now anyhow.

I'm not much for tinfoil hats as a fashion accessory, but I am concerned that lack of real information can and will kill people, including HCWs.

Aesop said...

It already is killing them.

Whether asymptomatic carriers do, can, or will exist remains an open question, and the unknowns with this virus are HUGE.

Remember that every time anybody in authority says "We KNOW XXX about Ebola." 60/40 he's bullshitting fluently.
It it's a US government official, government medical hack, the odds jump to 90/10. If it's a Media Talking Head, the odds jump to 99/1.

And the only studies possible are during outbreaks; it's unethical to expose healthy people to this, so the only way we learn is to see who gets Ebola and dies, try to figure out how that happened, and the write "Do Not Do THAT" guidelines for the next outbreak.
Most of best and brightest are just a little busy in this current outbreak, but eventually, we'll learn a thing or two. The open question is whether there'll be anybody left afterwards to read it.

Other than animal testing, the only way we learn things about this disease is carried to us on the backs of dead people.

We're going to get a lot more of those.

Legal Alien said...

If messers De Blasio, Cuomo, et al can provide a plausible explanation of exactly how this dr Spencer got infected (what did he do during his African trip) and without any doublespeak prove to me that he did acquire the infection via body fluid contact only, then I 'might', OK maybe still not, consider their advice and caution. . . . . guess it is not going to happen any time soon.

Tucanae Services said...

You know, I could excuse so schlep of a cop, what's he/she know about communicable disease? But the doctor! My God he should know better. He was there, he saw the devastation first hand in Africa and he more than anyone knew there was an outside chance he could be infected. He has less brains than the two male strippers here in Dallas who quarantined themselves out of fear they might spread it. Jeeez.

0007 said...

Here's a happy thought Rrf: the bowling alley.
Sharing sweaty finger holes in a ball and then ingback to your table and picking up your beer and hamburger...
Or the girlfriend and the "...virus can be transmitted via sperm for up to six weeks AFTER surviving the disease".

Liberty4Ever said...

Get ready to play a little game called Escape From New York: Ebola Edition.

Seriously, Ebola probably won't spread from this reckless doctor traveling all over town while incubating Ebola, but this is one of those scenarios where the consequences are so severe that "probably" just doesn't cut it. On an upbeat note, it does look like the bureaucrats are starting to take Ebola a bit more seriously, in their own corrupt and incompetent manner.

What I find most troubling is the typical lack of science in our public policy. Everything is politicized and science is kicked to the curb. The authoritarian egomaniacs running around telling everyone that they're in charge are clueless, but that doesn't stop them from creating Ebola treatment and containment protocols that are based on warm fuzzy feelings and outright lies. The people who are best equipped to understand the developing Ebola outbreak and create effective protocols based on science are being fed a steady diet of CDC BS.

What's worse than spreading baseless irrational fears about Ebola? Spreading baseless irrational reassurances that err on the side of creating an epidemic.

Anonymous said...

Good cartoon on Spencer here from Chris Muir:

"Dr. Spencer, can you recall a subway line you DIDN'T ride?"

"No; but I feel good about myself."

Aesop said...

DBD can, in six panels, nail Spencer's shortcomings as a human being better than I could in six paragraphs.