- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday announced a series of new regulations intended to help standardize treatment of those returning from areas of west Africa currently plagued by the Ebola epidemic.
- The new guidelines establish four tiers of risk, with "high-risk" individuals being those who have come in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person, and "no-risk" individuals being those who have neither had contact with an infected person nor traveled to a country with an active outbreak in the previous 21 days. High-risk individuals should not travel and should undergo "direct active monitoring."
- Those at "some risk" are those who have been within three feet of an infected person or had direct contact with an infected person while wearing protective gear. The CDC advises health professionals to closely monitor these individuals and limit travel and activity on a case-by-case basis. "Low risk" individuals are those who have traveled to a country with the epidemic, but have had no known exposure to the disease. They should be monitored but face no travel or activity restrictions.
The CDC guidance does not support the strict quarantine regulations put in place by the governors of New York, New Jersey and Illinois over the weekend. Medical workers returning from caring for patients with Ebola have been placed under a forced 21-day quarantine in those states. CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden says those policies do more harm than good by making returning travelers less likely to reveal their travel history.
"The risk to us would increase," Friedan said.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest also argued that such policies discourage badly-needed health workers from offering their assistance.
"We believe that we can both show them the respect that they have earned while also ensuring that we have protocols in place to protect the American people," Earnest said.