Less than three weeks after a doctor who contracted Ebola in West Africa was admitted to Bellevue Hospital, Mayor Bill de Blasio declared the city to be free of the deadly virus.
“It is a good feeling to hug a hero,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio after embracing Dr. Craig Spencer, one of the first of many hugs the doctor would receive throughout the press conference celebrating his release. The event was a victory lap for Mr. de Blasio and his administration for their response to Dr. Spencer’s symptoms, and an opportunity to celebrate those health workers who have traveled to West Africa to battle the disease.
“Dr. Spencer is Ebola-free, and New York City is Ebola-free,” the mayor said.
Dr. Spencer, 33, thanked the doctors and nurses at Bellevue, where he has been quarantined since coming down with a fever Oct. 23 after treating victims in Guinea. Upon returning, he visited several city businesses before becoming symptomatic and entering quarantine.
Today, he said he was a “living example” of how the protocols for health workers who have had contact with Ebola patients are effective—though there was no mention of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Chris Christie’s controversial attempt to automatically quarantine any health worker returning from treating Ebola patients in Africa. Mr. Christie publicly clashed with a nurse who criticized her being quarantined at Newark airport. Later, Mr. Cuomo relaxed the rules pertaining to returning health workers. Neither Mr. Cuomo nor Mr. Christie were present at Tuesday’s press conference.
“Today I am healthy and no longer infectious,” Dr. Spencer said to applause from the mayor and health workers. “My early detection, reporting and now recovery from Ebola speaks to the effectiveness of the protocols that are in place for health staff returning from West Africa.”
Photo courtesy of nyc.gov