Dr. Craig Spencer, the Harlem resident who has tested positive for Ebola, has now entered the "next phase" of his illness. Officials say that the 33-year-old Spencer, who is currently in isolation at Bellevue Hospital, has entered "the next and more serious phase of his illness, as anticipated with the appearance of gastrointestinal symptoms."
But for his part, Spencer sounded as cheerful as one could be in this scenario: "I’m still undergoing treatment," he told the NY Times by phone, adding that in spite of everything, "I am feeling well." He also noted that he has received "about 200 calls from reporters and 300 emails," but hasn't had an opportunity to respond yet: "When you have Ebola, not the best way to spend your time."
So far, Spencer has been receiving both antiviral and plasma therapy; that included receiving a plasma transfusion from the second American Ebola patient, Nancy Writebol. He is also being treated with Brincidofovir, an experimental drug that was previously used to successfully treat NBC News cameraman Ashoka Mukpo for Ebola at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo clarified statements he made on Friday about Spencer, when he said Spencer "didn’t follow the guidelines for the quarantine" and seemed to attack his character: "I didn’t mean to be critical of Dr. Spencer, and I hope that’s not the way it was interpreted," Cuomo said. "He was a hero. I mean, these people go, leave this country, go to West Africa to help people with a terrible disease...I think what he did was great."
De Blasio also defended Spencer while speaking to reporters on his Ebola tour of the city, calling the doctor "a soldier who goes into battle to protect us."
After being placed under quarantine since Thursday, Spencer’s fiancée, Morgan Dixon, was released from the hospital last night. "What we have done today is bring somebody back to where they should be — their home," said Dr. Jay Varma, the deputy city health commissioner for disease control. Nevertheless, Dixon will have to stay inside the couple's apartment on West 147th Street under quarantine for 21 days. Although she has no symptoms and doctors say she poses no threat of spreading the disease, a Health Department officer will remain posted outside her door 24 hours a day.