NEW YORK, New York — New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Saturday that Governor Andrew Cuomo did not consult with him before a giving a public announcement that revealed individuals who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa would be quarantined for 21 days upon their arrival into New York, so they could be monitored for Ebola symptoms.
When asked if Cuomo’s action, which mirrored New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s response to the Ebola crisis, contradicts the information de Blasio has given about how the deadly virus is contracted, the mayor responded, “I think the governor eluded to the fact that this is a big and complicated city and if someone’s here and they’re traveling around, then that means we have to do extra special work to track down people’s movements, but that is a very different idea on how you transmit the disease.”
Mayor de Blasio explained his reaction to the quarantine further.
“Let me qualify what it is and what it isn’t, because I have had extensive conversations with the governor. This is an evolving situation. Government agencies will update their standards as we go along. The CDC has done that several times. That is normal. The governor has made clear in the pronouncement and conversations we’ve had since that there is inherent flexibility built into the approach.”
Dr. Craig Spencer, a medical professional who is a member of Doctors Without Borders, returned to New York City from Guinea recently after treating Ebola patients. Spencer contracted the Ebola virus and was brought to Bellevue hospital, the CDC later confirmed, and was brought to Bellevue Hospital in Brooklyn for treatment.
De Blasio believes it is an “inappropriate characterization” to say that Spencer was irresponsible for going to a coffee stand, a restaurant, and a bowling alley in the city after he came back from West Africa, telling Breitbart News:
“Here is a doctor who volunteered to go into what is the medical equivalent of a war zone. This is no different than a soldier who goes into battle to protect us. Doctor Spencer went to the front line putting his own life potentially in danger to save others not only not only in the nation that he was serving but to protect the entire world and to protect his native country, so that needs to be fully respected.”
He continued, “He also constantly monitored his own condition. And at the moment when he had an indication of fever, and remembering it was 100.3, hardly a high fever compared to the norm of 98.6, but the minute he even got to 100.3 between 10 and 11am on Thursday he immediately activated communication and was brought into Bellevue right away. So I think he’s comported himself in an incredibly professional and appropriate manner.”
De Blasio’s city health commissioner Dr. Mary Basset was later asked if she, as a physician herself, would have been out and about the way Spencer was if she had just treated Ebola patients.
“This isn’t really a hypothetical question, but I’m not sure I’m in the position to answer, but I will reiterate again that the trigger to concern of contagion to others is emergence of fever at the moment of even when he had a very low grade fever,” she responded.
According to de Blasio, New York’s two health commissioners, Dr. Basset for the city and Dr. Howard Zucker for the state, “will be in constant communication on any of the specifics, but let’s be clear. What has been said is, a medical professional who had direct contact with an Ebola patients or an individual who had direct contact with Ebola patients–that is the narrow definition that was put forward.”
“That still has to be determined if those qualifications are met. The two health professionals will determine how that works in New York State and New York City in practice, de Blasio said.