NYC doctor to be released after Ebola recovery
New York: A New York City emergency room doctor who had Ebola has recovered and is scheduled to be released from the hospital on Tuesday, health officials said.
The city Department of Health said on Monday in a statement that Dr. Craig Spencer “has been declared free of the virus.”
Spencer tested positive for the virus Oct. 23, just days after returning from treating patients in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders.
The 33-year-old has been treated in a specially designed isolation unit at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola treatment center. His condition was upgraded from serious to stable last week and he was feeling well enough to request an exercise bike and a banjo.
His fiancee and two friends were initially quarantined but were released and are being actively monitored along with hundreds of others.
Spencer is expected to issue a statement but not take questions when he's released from the hospital.
News of Spencer's infection set many New Yorkers on edge, particularly after details emerged that he rode the subway, dined in a meatball restaurant and visited a bowling alley in the days before he tested positive.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie responded by announcing a mandatory 21-day quarantine for travelers who have come in close contact with Ebola patients.
Health officials have stressed that Ebola is not airborne and can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person who is showing symptoms.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Cuomo had urged residents not to be alarmed by the doctor's Ebola diagnosis, even as they described him riding the subway and taking a cab. De Blasio said all city officials followed “clear and strong” protocols in their handling and treatment of him.
“We want to state at the outset that New Yorkers have no reason to be alarmed,” de Blasio said when Spencer was diagnosed. “New Yorkers who have not been exposed are not at all at risk.”
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed thousands of people, but only a handful of people has been diagnosed in the United States. In the U.S., the first person diagnosed with the disease was a Liberian man, who fell ill days after arriving in Dallas and later died, becoming the only fatality.
None of his relatives who had close contact with him got sick. Two nurses who treated him were infected and were briefly hospitalized.