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Maine Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox, Free of Monitoring, Says We Must 'Get Over This Fear'

Her monitoring period for symptoms ended Monday.

Kaci Hickox, the nurse who defied an Ebola quarantine in Maine until a judge sided with her, said Tuesday that her life was “back to normal” after three weeks of monitoring for symptoms.

“I felt like every day should have been normal,” she told NBC News. “I hope that one day we as an American culture can get over this fear and can learn to show compassion instead, and we can continue to listen to the medical experts about Ebola.”

She also stressed that the focus must be on fighting the disease in West Africa: “That’s the only way we will be free of this threat.”

Hickox treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone before returning to the United States on Oct. 24. She was held in a quarantine tent in New Jersey before being released to Maine, which sought to quarantine her for three weeks in a home in the town of Fort Kent.

Hickox defied Gov. Paul LePage by going for a bike ride. The governor called her callous and said he didn’t trust her. A judge later ruled that she could come and go as she pleased, as long as she submitted to monitoring for symptoms.

The monitoring period expired Monday at midnight. Hickox said she was disappointed by the election last week, when LePage won a second term.

“I understand that we are still learning what democracy means in this country, and it’s disappointing,” she said. She said that LePage had “said a lot of things about me that were just, first of all, untrue, and he doesn’t know me.”

Hickox and her boyfriend, Ted Wilbur, plan to move elsewhere in Maine. They said they were disappointed that the University of Maine at Fort Kent, where Wilbur was a nursing student, had asked him to stay away from campus.

“I had paid for an education, and they refused my right to go to school,” Wilbur said. “That was a poor leadership choice, and they had a real opportunity.”


— Erin McClam