UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas (AP) — Taking inspiration from the fear of Ebola, a Dallas-area man has stacked up barrels marked “biohazard,” surrounded his yard with yellow caution tape and crossed his door and windows with white tape marked “quarantine.”
“There’s negative people everywhere and they are going to give me grief about it but it’s all in good fun,” James Faulk told reporters Thursday while standing outside his home wearing a face shield and white protective suit with the label “CDC Trainee” and d gripping a clipboard and red plastic bag marked “biohazard infectious waste.”
The decorations re-enact a scene that’s played out at three Dallas apartments following the first diagnosis in the U.S. of Ebola. After the diagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan, who traveled here from West Africa, biohazard crews descended on the apartment where he was staying. Following his Oct. 8 death, two of his nurses were also diagnosed with the virus and the cleanup scene was repeated at their homes.
Faulk, who lives in a town house in the wealthy enclave of University Park, started putting up the decorations Sunday. He said he thought that by then “it was getting back to normal just a little bit.”
“So the next step is: Let’s have fun on Halloween and scare some people in the process,” said Faulk, who on Thursday added a banner reading “Happy Halloween.”
The two nurses remain hospitalized and hundreds of Texans, including those who cared for the Ebola patients and who were on the same flights as one of the nurses, are still being monitored.
“It could be too soon,” Faulk conceded. “It’s a scary thing.”
Jill Grover, whose children attend the high school across the street from Faulk’s house, said she initially thought it might have been a real scene until she noticed no workers were around.
“It is Halloween, but it is scary because the Ebola was happening in Dallas,” said Grover, who said she wasn’t offended but could see how others would be.
University Park spokesman Steve Mace said police so far have gotten just one call about the house and an officer drove by to check out the situation. He said no laws were being broken.
The spread of Ebola presents a $33 billion threat to West African economies says the World Bank. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is pouring billions into halting the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history, from airport screenings to military aid in Africa.
In a worst case scenario, in the next four months there could be 1.4 million Ebola cases, according to a September 23 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This would be a 175-fold increase from the current 8,033 cases. So far 3,879 people have died from the outbreak, with the majority of deaths occurring in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.