Take this seriously. Don’t put New York City back on the list.
We don’t want to bring home the Ebola plague — though people around the country are well aware that New York once saw this happen.
We don’t want to return to Jimian cooking, which killed William Kisser, an assistant professor of medicine, when the city had to close its emergency center at Bellevue Hospital in 2009.
So let’s consider a few other areas where a renewed list of blacklisted jurisdictions could do some good — at least for now.
This city is a thoroughbred herd of more than 1 million people, so let’s spend resources to ensure that it remains herded, even if it’s not on the list.
Also on the list are the counties of Tuolumne, Elmira, Lee, Goochland, Edenton, Denton, Jones, Stonewall, Brunswick, Cuyahoga, Allegany, and Otsego.
Our colleague Matthew G. Katz, who owns a lab in Rochester, says he’s got drugs that can kill Ebola. If he tries to provide them for this exact medical setting — or a similar one that doesn’t need them so badly — he’ll find himself in the soup. (It wouldn’t be like he was on this list — remember, Ebola was an international disease).
But the list shouldn’t go on forever. It’s an impediment to improving care. Right now, even some of the counties that were blacklisted in 2014 should be in the list. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for aid after an Ebola outbreak state that “… at least two locations of the [local] government that are listed as NOT IN CONTACT (i.e., as NOT INVOLVED with CDC program) that are CHOSEN BY CDC for CDC program assistance, must be approved by the county health department.”
So what about counties that even the CDC still doesn’t want to support? The Health Department of Milwaukee County used to pay for its own road tests, even though it hasn’t tested anyone for Ebola since 2012. It was on the list in the last list but recently, as part of a systematic overhaul of its Ebola protocol, officials included thousands of miles of state and federal highways that remain within the county’s own jurisdiction. No surprise there — it’s a big, urban, Democratic county. In Baltimore County, Maryland, the officials are still trying to decide whether they should contract with a private lab or buy them one from the CDC.