Nurse Amber Joy Vinson, 29, had "extensive contact" with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who died of Ebola last week at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Now Vinson is infected. And during the time between her exposure and diagnosis, Vinson was a busy bride-to-be, flying across the country to take care of wedding business.
The hospital did not explicitly tell those workers who had come into contact with Duncan to quarantine themselves, so Vinson went about her daily life. She got on an airplane. She knew she had worked with an Ebola patient and just two days after he died, she boarded an airplane from Dallas to Cleveland. Why?
To plan her fucking wedding.
Vinson's no fool, and she's not evil, either — it's not clear whether or not she was feeling any symptoms when she headed to Cleveland. By Sunday, Vinson had the wherewithal to take her temperature before traveling. Seeing that it was elevated to 99.5 degrees, she called the CDC to see if she was okay to board her flight. Because her fever didn't meet the CDC's extra-special fever threshold of 100.4 degrees, they gave her the go-ahead to fly back to Dallas with 132 other people on the flight. So that's 132 people who now need to be checked out and on alert, but really we should double that — she was obviously sick on Friday, before the fever kicked in, so all the passengers on that flight need to be checked out as well. [Update: If Vinson wasn't showing any symptoms on Friday, she likely wasn't contagious and the passengers from that flight are fine. But Sunday, by the time the fever set in, was a problem.]
But the worst of it (aside from the fact that this poor woman now has a horrifying, deadly virus) is the possibility of who came into contact with Vinson in Cleveland while she was doing all of the wedding stuff. We don't know what details, exactly, she was working on, but think of the possibilities: dress shopping, food tastings, tableware selections, venue tours — there are a lot of opportunities for a sick bride-to-be to spread her germs.
So Vinson didn't know she was definitively ill when she headed to Cleveland, nor did she know for sure that there was a problem when she was given the go-ahead from the CDC. Fine. But she knew she was at risk of contracting Ebola from the second she first laid eyes on Duncan, and as a medical professional she knew that she wasn't really in the clear for 21 days, the maximum incubation period for the virus. To assume that she was fine was a very dangerous roll of the dice on her part.
I'd maintain even if you feel a-okay, even if you've not been quarantined, you should maybe reconsider cramming yourself into a flying germ tube with a bunch of strangers and crossing state lines. It's a stupid risk to take; it's even stupider when you're pushing the boundaries in order to settle on floral arrangements or seating charts or whatever. A wedding is a ton of work, especially if you're planning it from a thousand miles away, but ultimately that nuptial shit is so trivial. It is not worth your health or someone's life. (I can't believe this even needs to be said.) And if you were to pick up the phone and ask vendors to put things on hold for a few weeks while you make sure you don't have goddamn Ebola, they'd probably be alright with that.
This is I Thee Dread, Jezebel's website devoted to all manners of nonsense pertaining to the wedding industrial complex. Got something worth sharing? Email us. Horror stories welcome.