A 5-year-old boy who returned from Guinea this weekend is being held in isolation at Bellevue on the basis that he's currently suffering from a 103-degree fever, among other "Ebola-like" symptoms. Still, de Blasio implored New Yorkers to hold any speculation until test results are in later this afternoon, adding that "everything has been handled according to protocol."
"If there are any people on this earth who don't give in to fear, it's New Yorkers," he said. "Don't give into fear, don't give into hype."
Ebola, de Blasio was quick to emphasize again, is transmissible only through direct contact with bodily fluids. That hundreds of health care workers have traveled to West Africa, interacted with Ebola patients directly, and returned home to resume their lives symptom-free is a testament to the extreme unlikeliness that a layperson can contract the virus from visiting a bowling alley or eating a meatball. He added also that both nurses in Dallas have since recovered.
"By any normal logic, there is no negative impact from providing care," he said. "We've got to look at this in context, and we have to stop making more of this than it is." Moreover, while a sudden outbreak is hardly expected, de Blasio noted that every city hospital is fundamentally prepared to accept patients, while five are specifically equipped for Ebola.
Still, the city is continuing to exercise extreme caution when it comes to handling potential patients. The CDC today instated yet another, more refined series of protocols, now requiring anyone who has come into contact with Ebola but not exhibiting symptoms to enter a 21-day period of home quarantine, with health professionals checking in twice daily to monitor their status. Friends and family are still entitled to visit, de Blasio said, in an effort to respect that fact that "these are heroes and need an opportunity for a proper re-entry into this country."
Those who came into contact with Ebola and are symptomatic, however, will be immediately shuttled to Bellevue for the full-blown Ebola isolation experience. De Blasio and his wife, Chirlane, paid a visit to Bellevue's isolation units this weekend, and both were impressed by the facility, which features several checkpoints, multiple chambers and a network of video systems by which outsiders could communicate with an isolated patient.
"The elaborateness of the protocols is absolutely extraordinary," he gushed. "When you're on that floor, it feels like the center of the universe. It's the front line of all front lines."
The Ebola updates, however, were not the focal point of de Blasio's press conference. The topic at hand was the passage of a new law officially lowering the city's default speed limit to 25 mph, a move that advocates say will double the likelihood of a pedestrian surviving a crash.