The US Government moved quickly to placate the fear that many people were beginning to feel at the news of the first Ebola case in this country and the subsequent disclosures regarding various problematic responses connected to the first case. The officials stressed that the US medicine, the best in the world, is capable of preventing the Ebola outbreak in the US, and is now preparing to stop the spread of Ebola at the source. Other involved officials in Dallas emphasized the fact that an Ebola patient is infectious only when symptoms become manifested, such as high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and bleeding, and that unlike flu Ebola virus is not easily transmitted. For instance, the mayor of Dallas demonstrated the latter point by riding in the vehicle together with the Ebola patient’s partner and her family who are now quarantined in a private house, which was offered for their use by a person who sympathized with the family.
According to our local TV news station, Washington State seems to have a more draconian (and arguably more realistic) law regarding the outbreak of dangerous infectious diseases: the entire community will be quarantined. In fact, this sort of quarantining the entire affected community is what happens in Oran in Camus’ The Plague. I wondered why this had not happened, for instance, in the source area, when I came to know the first Ebola case in the US. But, I also think that in 2014 when individual rights are more respected than 1940s, quarantining the entire community to the extent that those who tried to escape the place could be shot is considered too inhumane. On the other hand, I wonder if this openness is due to the fact that Ebola virus is not dreadfully infectious.
By the way, what happens in Camus’ quarantined community is the development of solidarity among the people who fight to save the lives of the people Oran.
“It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.” – William James, The Principles of Psychology