- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 25, 2014

President Obama praised New Yorkers Saturday for not giving into fear of the city’s first case of Ebola, and said the nation is making progress in its fight against the disease.

“We have to be guided by the facts, not fear,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address. “New Yorkers showed us the way. They did what they do every day—jumping on buses, riding the subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work, gathering in parks.”

The states of New York and New Jersey have set up a new screening system that goes beyond the guidelines set up by federal officials. Under the new rules, patients with the highest level of possible exposure will be automatically quarantined for 21 days at a government facility.

The city learned on Thursday night that Dr. Craig Spencer, who had treated Ebola patients in West Africa, developed the disease after returning to New York on Oct. 17. He is being treated in a special unit at Bellevue Hospital Center.

The president said New Yorkers’ “determination to carry on is part of what makes New York one of the great cities in the world.”

“And that’s the spirit all of us can draw upon, as Americans, as we meet this challenge together,” he said.

Mr. Obama took part in a photo-op meeting at the White House Friday with a Dallas nurse, Nina Pham, who has recovered from the disease after contracting it from a patient from Liberia. The president hugged her in the Oval Office for the cameras and met her family.

The president also took credit for having teams from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in place in New York when Dr. Spencer was admitted to the hospital for the virus.

The president said he wanted to remind Americans about some “basic facts” of Ebola.

“First, you cannot get Ebola easily,” he said. “You can’t get it through casual contact with someone. The only way you can get this disease is by coming into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone with symptoms. That’s the science. Those are the facts.”

“It’s important to remember that of the seven Americans treated so far for Ebola—the five who contracted it in West Africa, plus the two nurses from Dallas—all seven have survived,” he said. “I’ve had two of them in the Oval Office. And now we’re focused on making sure the patient in New York receives the best care as well. And we can beat this disease. But we have to stay vigilant.”

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