The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn’t simply concerned about prevention of disease in the United States. The agency’s quarantine program — 50 years old this year — is designed to keep disease threats from abroad at bay.
That mandate even applied to disease threats from outer space. If you’re old enough to remember the first moon landing, you’ll recall the returning astronauts could not be reunited with their families until they’d spent 21 days in a containment unit on a ship in the Pacific Ocean. Moon rocks we wanted. Moon bugs, no thanks.
Today the CDC’s quarantine program operates 20 stations strategically placed around the country — at airports, land borders, and seaports.