Wednesday afternoon on CNN’s “Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin,” CNN legal analyst Paul Callan predicted that Kaci Hickox, the Maine nurse who recently promised to go to court to fight her quarantine orders, would probably lose the court battle if she proceeded.
“If Kaci decides to leave her home, which would clearly go against the rules of Maine, where does the law fall?” Baldwin asked Callan. “On what side?”
“The law tends to fall on the side of public health officials who can order a quarantine when there’s a communicable disease or infectious disease that might threaten the public,” Callan explained. “The courts have been very deferential through the years to local public health authorities in formulating these rules.”
“Remember, when you have an epidemic, it’s kind of a moving target,” Callan continued. “The science gets better about how long the incubation period is, or how long you have to lock people up, and you can’t have the legislature enacting a new law constantly.”
“Even if she says, ‘I am asymptomatic, therefore I am not contagious, I have been working overseas with Doctors Without Borders, you know, crossing the T’s, dotting the I’s as far as personal protective equipment etcetera?’” Baldwin asked.
“Well, what happens when the next person comes into the state of Maine and says, ‘I know a lot about medicine too, and even though I was in West Africa, I’m asymptomatic,’” Callan said. “When she arrived in the United States, they used a monitor to take her temperature by measuring skin temperature, and she had a fever. There was a good faith basis for putting her quarantine originally.
“She’s got a good lawyer, but you know something, I think they lose in court, because a judge is not going to take a chance on an epidemic because a nurse gets mad that she’s in quarantine. And she’s setting a bad example, I think, for the rest of the public, in the event that there’s a lot of quarantine going on across the United States if this thing gets out of hand.”
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