De Blasio: ‘There is no cause for alarm’

New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDeval Patrick enters 2020 race De Blasio slams Bloomberg run for president: He 'epitomizes the status quo' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings MORE (D) and health officials are urging the public to remain calm after the first case of Ebola hit the nation’s largest city.

“There is no cause for alarm,” de Blasio said at a press conference Friday. “There is no reason for New Yorkers to change their daily routine in any way.”


The mayor emphasized that the deadly virus is only transmitted through bodily fluids and that patients are not contagious before exhibiting symptoms.

Dr. Craig Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders volunteer who treated Ebola patients in Guinea, tested positive for the disease Thursday. His diagnosis raised concerns after officials confirmed that Spencer rode the subway, walked through the city’s popular “High Line” park, went bowling with friends and visited restaurants days before developing a high-grade fever — an Ebola-like symptom.

De Blasio and health officials, though, stressed that it was unlikely Spencer was contagious before Thursday morning. They said the doctor had actively monitored himself for symptoms and took his temperature twice a day since returning from Guinea. Upon discovering a 100.3-degree temperature on Thursday morning, he immediately notified health officials.

“The Health Department has a team of experts who act as detectives would in a police investigation,” de Blasio said. “They go and retrace all of the contacts that the patient has had, they have been trained to do so and they’ve been at work.”

Spencer is the fourth person to develop Ebola while in the United States. He is currently in stable condition at Bellevue Hospital and talking with family members, New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Travis Bassett said.

Dr. Ram Raju, the president of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, said that the staff at Bellevue would be vigilant to ensure the safety of those treating him.

“We want to provide excellent care for our patient, but we also want to be sure to protect our employees,” he said. “I’m absolutely confident that both will be achieved.”

A Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who caught the virus in Africa, became the first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S. earlier this month. Two nurses who treated him in Dallas were also infected. Duncan died from the disease, the first Ebola fatality in the U.S., but the two nurses recovered. 

De Blasio praised healthcare workers in Dallas who treated the first case. New York will be able to treat its first Ebola patient with more information and help than had initially been available in Dallas, he said.

“Look at the juxtaposition of what happened in Dallas and what happened here,” he said. “It’s an entirely different situation once you are prepared.”

The Dallas hospital did not admit Duncan when he first arrived, showing a fever. He returned a few days later with other symptoms and was admitted.

Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traveled to New York to help handle the latest case. Those healthcare workers have experience fighting Ebola both in Africa and Dallas, officials said.