Kaci Hickox, the nurse who returned from Africa after working with Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone to treat Ebola victims, blustered that Maine had better rescind her quarantine by Thursday or she will sue.
Hickox, 33, told NBC’s Today, “I truly believe this policy is not scientifically nor constitutionally just, and so I am not going to sit around and be bullied around by politicians and be forced to stay in my home when I am not a risk to the American public. If the restrictions placed on me by the state of Maine are not lifted by Thursday morning, I will go to court to fight for my freedom.”
Hickox was escorted from Newark airport into quarantine before she was returned to Maine for the remainder of her 21-day quarantine. She had tested negative for Ebola when she returned from Africa.
Maine Governor Paul LePage remained adamant about his decision to quarantine Hickox, asserting he would find legal authority to her at her home in Fort Kent until Nov. 10.
“While we certainly respect the rights of one individual, we must be vigilant in protecting 1.3 million Mainers, as well as anyone who visits our great state,” Le Page said.
But President Barack Obama criticized those who urge caution when dealing with the disease.
“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,” he said, according to CNN.
Hickox protests that she is in good health, and is taking her temperature twice daily to check her condition. She has stated that the last time she dealt with an Ebola patient was October 21.
“Such action would be illegal and unconstitutional and we would seek to protect Kaci’s rights as an American citizen under the Constitution,” Hickox’s attorney, Steven Hyman, told Reuters. “There is no medical risk and we have to deal with fact and not hysteria.”
Ebola has an incubation period of three weeks.
Some states, including California, have already implemented 21-day quarantines for doctors and nurses who have dealt with Ebola patients in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Gov. Christie has accused the White House of doing too little to protect Americans from Ebola.
Other national figures are also protesting the quarantines being imposed.
“They’re making it up almost by the hour,” said Stephen Morrison, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “This is a collision between the political and the public health realms.”
U.N. and medical charities joined public health experts to condemn the quarantines, claiming that they will encourage fewer doctors and nurses to travel to Africa to help Ebola victims.
But Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a different take: He said that a nurse who willingly quarantined herself after returning from working with Ebola patients in Sierra Leone was a heroine. That nurse has not exhibited any symptoms of Ebola, yet consented to being checked twice-daily by state health officials for 21 days.