I read an interesting article today about the legal questions surrounding the quarantine of Jeremy Speakers, AKA the guy with the extreme drug resistant TB. Now the government infringes on civil liberties all the time, and I am the first to cry FOUL!. But not this time. One of the few purposes our government has is to protect its citizens. The CDC exists to protect the populace from outbreaks of disease. How can they do that, if they don't have the right to quarantine infected people?
Do we really want the CDC to have to petition a court before quarantining someone? Can we afford the time that takes? What kind of person, infected with something extremely contagious, would holler about his rights being infringed by quarantine? Sometimes the needs of the many really do outweigh the needs of the one. A plague can wipe out an entire population. The form of TB that Speakers has is nearly always fatal, unless caught extremely early, which is unlikely. His case was only diagnosed by mischance -- he hurt his ribs and had a chest x-ray. Otherwise he still wouldn't know he had the disease, and probably wouldn't, until symptoms had appeared and it was too late to treat. We were all very lucky, including Mr. Speakers. Let's hope he realizes this, and decides not to sue the government.