On Monday, 43 out of the 48 initial contacts of Thomas Eric Duncan, the first U.S. Ebola victim, have been allowed to resume their lives after a 21-day isolation period. Dallas officials not only celebrated the milestone but also asked the community to welcome them back into their midst without stigmatizing those who are returning to their normal routines.
“There is zero risk that any of those people who have been marked off the list have Ebola. They were in contact with the person who had Ebola and the time period for them to get Ebola has lapsed.”
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said at a news conference.
Judge Jenkins described this process of reintegration that these 43 people will be undergoing as a defining moment and reminded Dallas residence to trust the science that supports their recommendations.
“They are people who need our compassion our respect and our love. Treat them the way you would want your own family treated if you were in their place and they were in yours. We have to believe in science. That’s what separates us from other mammals.”
Judge Jenkins added.
Duncan’s fiancé, Louise Troh is among the people leaving quarantine on Monday, together with her 13 year old son, Timothy Wayne, Duncan’s nephew, Oliver Smallwood as well as Jeffrey Cole, one of Oliver’s friends. They lived in the apartment where Duncan had also stayed during the early stages of his illness.
Judge Jenkins expressed his concern with Troh’s son, who will be returning on Tuesday to the Sam Tasby Middle School.
“I’m extremely concerned about Louise’s middle school son. To be dropped into a pool of middle schoolers after all that he’s been through — I need your help parents. I need your help to treat that young man with the kind of love you’d want your own son treated with.”
Apart from Troh, four other Dallas Independent School District students will be returning to classes on Tuesday. According to superintendent Mike Miles, three other students who were also in quarantine will be attending Dallas Independent School District schools.
“They’ve been through an ordeal. I think the schools will be well-prepared.”
George Mason, Troh’s pastor, spoke on her behalf asking for privacy after the quarantine experience:
“Today is a jubilant day for them. They are really looking forward to getting out and resuming their lives. It would be a tremendous gesture on your part to allow them to re-enter the community on their own terms.”