The New York Post is reporting that a Manhattan doctor who’d been working with ebola patients in West Africa has been rushed to Bellevue after showing signs of the virus, and so, “the Big Apple may have its first case of ebola.” Of course, this isn’t the first time the Post has reported that New York might have its first case of ebola, but no matter—this time they want you to know that it might be for real.
The Post reports that a “33-year-old Doctors Without Borders physician who treated Ebola patients in Guinea and returned to New York City 10 days ago was rushed in an ambulance with police escorts from his Harlem home to Bellevue Hospital on Thursday” and there have been other, as of yet unconfirmed reports that it’s “possible” the doctor took an Uber to Brooklyn Bowl yesterday, before feeling ill.
This is—obviously, and deservedly—extremely worrisome, but the city’s health department has issued a statement reassuring New Yorkers to stay calm:
The Health Department is also working closely with HHC leadership, Bellevue’s clinical team and the New York State Department of Health to ensure that all staff caring for the patient do so while following the utmost safety guidelines and protocols.
The chances of the average New Yorker contracting Ebola are extremely slim. Ebola is spread by directly touching the bodily fluids of an infected person. You cannot be infected simply by being near someone who has Ebola.
And while we are as prone to panic over news like this as anyone else, we should probably all pause before worrying overmuch right now, and even look to the admittedly imperfect handling of the ebola cases in Dallas as an example of how the disease can be contained without massive spreading. We should also consider the fact that we are lucky to be living here, and that the real battle against ebola, the one that has already claimed thousands upon thousands of lives is happening in West Africa and that the doctor who is in Bellevue right now awaiting treatment, put himself in harm’s way to help those who do not have even close to the resources available that we do here.
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