Friday, June 1, 2007

Bad Idea of the Week II : Tuberculosis Edition

By now you've almost certainly heard of the man infected with drug-resistant tuberculosis who traveled to Greece for his wedding despite being warned not to fly, and how he snuck back into the country through Canada because he was afraid he might die overseas. Well, he apologized today:

Andrew Speaker, interviewed on the “Good Morning America” program on the ABC network in his hospital room in Denver, said “I don’t expect those people to ever forgive me. I just hope they understand that I truly never meant them any harm.”

Jason Vik, 21, a passenger on the outgoing flight who just graduated from the University of South Carolina, Aiken, is now waiting for results of a TB skin test.

Mr. Vik spoke angrily about Mr. Speaker’s behavior. “He stepped on a plane with 487 people, one of the largest aircraft that Boeing makes, and he put us all at risk, just so he could go get married,” he said.

Hopping onto a plane while infected with drug-resistant TB? Apparently not even wearing a surgical mask to protect your fellow passengers? Congratulations, Mr. Andrew Speaker, that's good makes you the winner of my second Bad Idea of the Week Award. (You certainly outshine the guy who won the first one; all he did was blog during his malpractice trail.) You won't be able to hog it all for yourself, though; you have to share it with the border agent who let you into the country:
Congressional investigators, who will be holding hearings on the way the case of the man, Andrew Speaker, has been handled, say that the border agent at the Plattsburgh, N.Y., border crossing with Canada decided that Mr. Speaker did not look sick and so let him go.Russ Knocke, press secretary for the Homeland Security Department, would not confirm the agent’s rationale for releasing the man, saying only that the case was under investigation by its internal affairs and inspector general’s offices.


A day earlier, on May 23, the disease control centers alerted the Atlanta office of Customs and Border Protection, a part of the Homeland Security Department, that a man with a serious medical condition might try to enter the United States and the information was entered in the department’s computer system.

The department instructed any border control agents who encountered the man to “isolate, detain and contact the Public Health Service,” Mr. Knocke said.

Here's to you, Mr. Border Agent, for letting this man into the country because he didn't "look sick." That's the type of common sense we need more in America. After all, whoever heard of someone carrying a disease without showing any symptoms? It's about time someone put those quarantine-happy panic-mongers at the CDC in their place. Today they want to "isolate and detain" people with drug-resistant tuberculosis; tomorrow they'll be shipping kids with chickenpox off to Guantanamo. This act of courage earns you a share of my second Bad Idea of the Week Award.

UPDATE: Hello, Wall Street Journal readers. I'm glad you could stop by! (Thanks to Sphere.) Take a look around. Our focus here at One More Political Blog is primarily on international relations, American politics, and the law. Enjoy.


ajlynch85 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ajlynch85 said...

hey, if the guy wore a mask, people would have realized that he "looked sick", thereby foiling his plans to get married. clearly he thought SOME of this though first. im just saying....

DC said...

Hmm, interesting point. Although he could pretend to be someone who didn't want to GET sick- I've heard of people who wear surgical masks on planes because they hate getting colds every time they fly.