New York officials learn lessons from Dallas after first Ebola diagnosis in city

Officials went into overdrive to stave off hysteria in the city, holding a press conference Thursday night not long after Dr. Craig Spencer was diagnosed with Ebola and isolated.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (l) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (l) and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo

New York City officials responded rapidly to the first confirmed Ebola case in the city and received praise from many following the news online and on TV as they worked to calm the public and prevent panic.

Dr. Craig Spencer, while working for Doctors Without Borders, was diagnosed with the virus and quarantined in New York City’s Bellevue Hospital late Thursday, less than a week after returning from Guinea.

Fears intensified when it was reported that Spencer, who was said to have taken his own temperature twice a day to track any potential symptoms, rode the subway, went to a bowling alley, and rode in an Uber car before going into isolation. The New York Times published a primer on how difficult it is for Ebola to spread on public transit.

Officials went into overdrive to stave off hysteria in the city, holding a press conference Thursday night at Bellevue not long after Spencer was isolated.

"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, in part because the city has been preparing for a case of Ebola in recent months.

Uber, the ride-sharing service Spencer used Wednesday night, had its own emergency comms response in place.

Only four people have reportedly been in close contact with Spencer since he returned to the US from West Africa.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a press release on Thursday that the agency is independently testing to confirm Spencer’s case. The CDC is "in close communications with the New York City Health Department and Bellevue Hospital," the latter of which was recently checked out by the agency and approved to treat Ebola patients.

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