As I get ready to fly today, I'm wondering when we'll see the first case of airplane passengers confronting a sick traveler. I'm thinking, of course, of this bizarre story about a tuberculosis-infected man carrying his sorry self across multiple nations and borders.
To recap: Speaker has extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, XDR-TB. He was originally diagnosed with multidrug-resistant TB. His doctor recommended that he not travel. In response, the personal injury lawyer (ambulance chaser? savor the irony!) flew to Europe for a honeymoon. Disdaining Italian medical care (why?), he then flew to Canada. Next he drove across the apparently-porous US border.
One detail fascinates me, the extent to which this story is driven by privilege. Speaker is white, male, attractive, a member of a profession associated with power, and apparently wealthy. His father works for the CDC on... TB. Speaker was able to win national media attention, including conversations with leading tv interviewers; how likely would this have been if he weren't white and/or well-connected and/or telegenic? Consider: would an uninsured or underinsured person sneer at Italian health care? Did his doctor fail to order him to stay home because of Speaker's social status?
Another aspect is just how lame American epidemic response appears in light of this. WHO rightly mocks the US for letting this disease vector aim himself at the rest of the world. A border guard was alerted to Speaker (yes! the system worked!)... only to decide to let the fellow go on anyway. A fine terror tactic: get a splendid disease, then fly around the US, carefully hawking into receptacles.
I expect to hear more stories like this one, with a passenger subduing another. Wait for the next person to be visibly ill for a while.