New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday slammed the Centers for Disease Control’s “hyperbolic” reaction to the mandatory quarantine policy he and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo installed last week on medical workers who have had direct contact with Ebola patients, accusing the center of covering its tracks after falling “behind" on responding to the epidemic.
“This is because they don’t want to admit that we’re right and they were wrong. I’m sorry about that,” Christie told Matt Lauer Tuesday morning on the "Today Show." "I understand that the CDC has been behind on this. Folks got infected in Texas because they were behind and we’re not going to have folks being infected in New Jersey and other states in this country.”
In addition to his sharp critique of the CDC, Christie also stressed that there are few differences between the mandatory quarantine policy in New York and New Jersey and the “voluntary quarantine” guidelines the CDC released on Monday. Voluntary quarantines instruct people with high-risk of Ebola exposure to stay out of public places and refrain from using public transportation for 21 days.
"We’re all wrong and they’re right, Matt? We’re trying to be careful, here. This is common sense. The American public believe it is common sense and we’re not moving an inch. Our policy has not changed and our policy will not change," he said.
The GOP governor also pushed back on the idea that his administration had softened its position on the quarantine after a backlash to the involuntary detention of Kaci Hickox, a nurse who was forcefully quarantined in a New Jersey hospital upon returning from Sierra Leone. Hickox, who initially showed signs of a fever but was was ultimately deemed asymptomatic, was held for three days against her will. Her experience dominated headlines over the weekend before she was allowed to return to her home in Maine on Monday.
“If she had never presented with any symptoms, our policy would have been to send her back to Maine and to ask her to quarantine at home in Maine,” Christe said. “It’s because she presented with symptoms and then she was tested, and that testing was ordered, Matt, by the CDC in conjunction with the State of New Jersey.”
Christie responded bullishly when Lauer asked him if could perhaps be on "the wrong side of science" even if he is on the right side of public opinion: “No I’m going to be on the right side of both ultimately, Matt.”