- Associated Press - Monday, October 27, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Democratic governor of Rhode Island is criticizing state leaders in New York and New Jersey for backing 21-day quarantines for medical workers returning from West Africa.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee says the quarantines could hurt the efforts of Americans trying to aid disease-ravaged countries.

“Until you have symptoms, you cannot transmit Ebola, so we have to ratchet down some of the hysteria, if you will, about Ebola,” Chafee said Monday at an event at the State House.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, announced a mandatory quarantine program Friday for medical workers and other arriving airline passengers who have had contact with Ebola victims in West Africa. Illinois soon followed suit. Twenty-one days is the incubation period for Ebola.

Chafee said Monday he recognizes the governors are trying to do the right thing, but there has to be a balance.

“An abundance of caution is always advisable, but we have to have some common sense and recognize that many Americans want to go help in these countries where Ebola is, and that’s going to be the answer,” he said.

The nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, also has warned that such restrictions are unnecessary. He says close monitoring of medical workers for symptoms is sufficient.

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