The Ebola Outbreak and Related Restrictions in the Eastern US, 2014

ElyaDatabase ID Number: M111

Creator: Edward Hock ’21 History, Archaeology, & Italian Studies

The proliferation of public health restrictions following the September 30, 2014 Ebola diagnosis of Thomas Duncan, a Liberian citizen visiting the United States, began a week later, on October 7th. The first state to implement stricter quarantine and screening requirements than the CDC’s federally recommended voluntary quarantine for those exposed to the virus was Connecticut, which enacted a mandatory 21-day quarantine. New York, New Jersey, and California followed over the rest of the month, and Virginia and Illinois put slightly less restrictive mandatory quarantine procedures in place. Maine, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania did not mandate quarantine, but mandated twice-a-day monitoring for symptoms for anyone who might have been exposed. Some schools briefly closed throughout the country, including in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio, and in exurban Belton, Texas, over 100 miles south of Dallas. Despite Duncan’s diagnosis actually having occurred in Dallas, and his transmission of the virus to two of the nurses treating him, neither the city of Dallas, Dallas County, nor the state of Texas ever implemented any public health restrictions besides the unenforced, voluntary quarantine suggested by the CDC. Luckily, there was no significant spread of Ebola within the United States, but the negligence of the proudly conservative Texas state government in its response to the threat would write a macabre prelude to the similarly lax attitudes of red state leadership to the far more dangerous coronavirus pandemic a little over half a decade later. Of the eleven states that implemented Ebola restrictions, five had Republican governors, but of the five states that mandated quarantine, only New Jersey had a Republican governor.

Cite This Work :

Edward Hock, “The Ebola Outbreak and Related Restrictions in the Eastern US, 2014.” Scale: 1:70,000. In Elya J. Zhang, ed., Mapping History Series. <> (accessed May 27, 2022).

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