Where Should We Quarantine Coronavirus Patients?

The coronavirus scare is reaching a new phase: where do we quarantine all the folks who may or may not be infected? As always, the answer is “somewhere else”:

Dozens of concerned residents, state officials and representatives of surrounding communities packed Costa Mesa City Hall on Saturday to show their support for the city’s decision to request a temporary restraining order that blocks state and federal agencies from using a local facility as a quarantine site for coronavirus patients.

….Residents of Costa Mesa and neighboring cities maintained Saturday that the state-owned Fairview Developmental Center in the city is a bad choice for a quarantine and treatment center. “Ludicrous,” said Costa Mesa resident Katherine Craft. “What would motivate someone … to put sick people with a deadly virus that we don’t know enough about into a community of over 100,000 and at a facility that’s outdated?”

The Fairview Developmental Center was built decades ago and is now almost entirely disused. That means it’s a hundred acres of empty buildings surrounded by a golf course:

Short of abandoning quarantine patients in dinghies anchored offshore, it’s hard to imagine a facility better suited as a quarantine site. It’s got lots of separate buildings; it’s near doctors and health care facilities; and it’s surrounded by a golf course. And it’s not as if you can catch coronavirus by being downwind of it.

But fear and ignorance and NIMBYism win every time.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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