President Obama Criticizes Gov. Christie's Ebola Policy of Mandatory Quarantine, Says Doctors Treating Virus Need to be "Supported"
Looks like Chris Christie is in big trouble with President Obama. Following Governor Christie's decision to enforce mandatory quarantines for returning health workers from West Africa — specifically, nurse Kaci Hickox, who so far tested negative for Ebola — President Obama has decided to respond. On Tuesday afternoon, President Obama made a statement on Ebola from the White House that essentially reprimanded the New Jersey governor's fear-based decision.
President Obama opened his remarks by highlighting the bravery that America's health workers have shown and the remarkable progress they've made in the fight against Ebola. In discussing their work, Obama had three main points to make: 1) We must fight Ebola at its source, in West Africa, 2) America needs to continue its global leadership in defeating Ebola, and 3) in order to do that, we must continue to support our health workers and not discourage them from heading overseas to the source.
Obama mentions the CDC's new guidelines, which were issued on Monday, that aim to monitor returning healthcare workers more closely. Obama calls these new measures "sensible."
Obama said that on Wednesday he plans on meeting with health workers who have returned from West Africa or are about to go to thank them and to get their input on how our policies can better help them.
He also pointed out that, despite the mass hysteria surrounding Ebola, only two people have contracted Ebola on American soil: the two Dallas nurses who treated Thomas Eric Duncan, who had contracted the disease in West Africa and was severely symptomatic. The only patient in treatment now is Craig Spencer, whose brave service we should be "saluting."
Obama also noted that Senegal and Nigeria are both Ebola-free, "in part because of the outstanding work led by Americans."
So with all this progress being made, Obama emphasized the importance of not doing anything to undermine America's continued leadership in fighting Ebola.
(As opposed to being forced into quarantine.)
Obama stressed that returning healthcare workers should be monitored in a "prudent fashion" based on science, not fear.
The last point is in direct response to Christie's quarantine policy, which the New Jersey governor continues to champion adamantly, despite widespread criticism.
After Hickox was released from quarantine on Monday, Governor Christie defended his policy earlier on Tuesday, saying, "I don’t think it’s draconian." Christie, who was appearing on the Today show, added, "The members of the American public believe it is common sense, and we are not moving an inch. Our policy hasn’t changed and our policy will not change."
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