Thursday, October 30, 2014

Don Lemon interviews NBC photo-journalist Ashoka Mukpo on his recovery from Ebola, and on state health department quarantines, on "CNN Tonight"

On Wednesday night, CNN’s Don Lemon (on “CNN Tonight”) aired a half-hour interview with NBC contract cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, who contracted Ebola shortly after starting to work for NBC News in West Africa. The main video link is here.   Mukpo was interviewed in his somewhat spartan apartment in Providence, RI. 
Mukpo says the onset came suddenly.  He felt a deep backache when stopping at his apartment, took his temperature, which was 101.3F, and knew immediately he faced a rough two weeks.

He says that Ebola is far worse than any flu, causing weakness that is profound.  He had difficulty with the transfusion of plasma from Dr. Brantly, but the next day began to feel better.  The anecdotal evidence really does suggest that plasma with antibodies does help more patients, which will put people who have recovered into the position of dealing with repeated plasma donations, which are possible.  In fact, in the early 1980s, there was a large public push to recruit plasma and marrow donations, and this died off once the HIV epidemic became known.  (Gay men were banned from donating blood, but the pressure for blood donations from anyone became much less for several years, at least as I saw when living in Dallas.)
Mukpo suggested that states are being unreasonable in quarantining people without symptoms and negative tests.  That will discourage more health care workers from volunteering. 
Mukpo speaks without an accent, and no one has indicated what language his name comes from (Russian?).  

Earlier this week, Anderson Cooper had interviewed Ryan Boyko, who is under quarantine in Connecticut despite the fact that he did not go near Ebola patients when in West Africa. In factm Boyko is one of two quarantined graduate students written up in the Yale News, story here

A Providence newspaper reinforces Mukpo’s story here. Mukpo may know that nearby West Warwick was the home of Gode Davis, who passed away recently.  His film “American Lynching” remains unfinished (I’ve personally seen some of the footage), but discussion goes on.   Davis was very active in local civics, including the response to the 2003 West Warwick disco fire. 

CNN reports on Thursday morning thay Kaci Hickox went on a bike ride near her home in northern Maine and state police followed her, but she has not been arrested as of now.  This will wind up in court.  
Wikipedia attribution link for West Warwick, RI park picture. 

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