Kaci Hickox will not be caged.
The nurse who protested her detainment in a New Jersey tent upon her return from treating Ebola patients in West Africa is now defying a state-imposed home quarantine in Maine. Physically healthy, Hickox and her boyfriend went for a bike ride Thursday morning, taking both state troopers and a small army of reporters on a tour of New England's beautiful fall foliage on a brisk late-October morning.
As casual bike rides go, this trip was as defiant as they come. For the 33-year-old Doctors Without Borders nurse, it was a ride for science, and for civil liberties. At the heart of her protest is a belief that authorities in the two states were confining her out of fear–both political and irrational–rather than medicine. She has no fever and feels fine, and as public health officials have stressed repeatedly in recent weeks, Ebola can't be transmitted unless a person is symptomatic.
She told reporters that she wouldn't "stand here and have my civil rights violated."
"I'm fighting for something other than myself," Hickox said at one point, according to ABC.
Hickox generated enormous public sympathy during the weekend she spent locked in a tent outside a hospital in Newark; the conditions drew rebuke from federal public health officials and even the White House, prompting President Obama to literally as well as rhetorically wrap his arms around U.S. health-worker "heroes" who are fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.