Tags: Barack Obama | Ebola Outbreak | touching | nurses | Emory | safe

Obama: 'I Hugged and Kissed' Ebola Medical Staff — and 'Felt Perfectly Safe Doing So'

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 11:00 PM

In an effort to quell growing public fears over the Ebola crisis, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he felt safe touching nurses who had treated two Americans at Emory University Hospital recently.

"I want to use myself as an example just so people have the sense of the science here," Obama said. "I shook hands with, hugged and kissed – not the doctors, but a couple of the nurses at Emory because of the valiant work that they did in treating one of the patients.

"They followed the protocols. They knew what they were doing, and I felt perfectly safe doing so, and so this is not a situation in which, like the flu, the risks of a rapid spread of the disease are not imminent."

Obama visited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta on Sept. 16, when he would have met the nurses. That was 27 days after Dr. Kent Brantly was released and declared cured and 29 days after nurse Nancy Writebol was released.

Medical experts say people are safe from Ebola exposure if they show no symptoms within 21 days of contact.

Obama addressed the press after a White House Cabinet meeting called to discuss the Ebola crisis, after news broke earlier in the day of a second nurse's contracting Ebola in Dallas. That nurse, 29-year-old Amber Vinson, and another, 26-year-old Nina Pham, both treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian national who died last week.

Vinson was flown Wednesday night to Emory for treatment, while Pham is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, where both nurses work.

Obama said Wednesday that if protocols are properly followed, the likelihood of a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United states is "very, very low."

"But I think what we've all learned over the last several weeks is that folks here in this country and a lot of non-specialized hospitals and clinics don't have that much experience dealing with these issues, and so we'll have to push out this information as aggressively as possible," Obama said.

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In an effort to quell growing public fears over the Ebola crisis, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he felt safe touching nurses who had treated two Americans at Emory University Hospital recently.
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2014-00-15
Wednesday, 15 Oct 2014 11:00 PM
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