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President Barack Obama Weekly Address October 25, 2014 (Video/Trascript )
President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House October 25, 2014
Hi everybody, this week, we remained focused on our fight
against Ebola. In Dallas, dozens of family, friends and others who had
been in close contact with the first patient, Mr. Duncan, were declared
free of Ebola—a reminder that this disease is actually very hard to
catch. Across Dallas, others being monitored—including health care
workers who were most at risk—were also declared Ebola-free.
Two Americans—patients in Georgia and Nebraska who
contracted the disease in West Africa—recovered and were released from
the hospital. The first of the two Dallas nurses who were
diagnosed—Nina Pham—was declared Ebola free, and yesterday I was proud
to welcome her to the Oval Office and give her a big hug. The other
nurse—Amber Vinson—continues to improve as well. And in Africa, the
countries of Senegal and Nigeria were declared free of Ebola—a reminder
that this disease can be contained and defeated.
In New York City, medical personnel moved quickly to
isolate and care for the patient there—a doctor who recently returned
from West Africa. The city and state of New York have strong public
health systems, and they’ve been preparing for this possibility.
Because of the steps we’ve taken in recent weeks, our CDC experts were
already at the hospital, helping staff prepare for this kind of
situation. Before the patient was even diagnosed, we deployed one of
our new CDC rapid response teams. And I’ve assured Governor Cuomo and
Mayor de Blasio that they’ll have all the federal support they need as
they go forward.
More broadly, this week we continued to step up our
efforts across the country. New CDC guidelines and outreach is helping
hospitals improve training and protect their health care workers. The
Defense Department’s new team of doctors, nurses and trainers will
respond quickly if called upon to help.
New travel measures are now directing all travelers from
the three affected countries in West Africa into five U.S. airports
where we’re conducting additional screening. Starting this week, these
travelers will be required to report their temperatures and any symptoms
on a daily basis—for 21 days until we’re confident they don’t have
Ebola. Here at the White House, my new Ebola response coordinator is
working to ensure a seamless response across the federal government.
And we have been examining the protocols for protecting our brave health
care workers, and, guided by the science, we’ll continue to work with
state and local officials to take the necessary steps to ensure the
safety and health of the American people.
In closing, I want to leave you with some basic facts.
First, you cannot get Ebola easily. You can’t get it through casual
contact with someone. Remember, down in Dallas, even Mr. Duncan’s
family—who lived with him and helped care for him—even they did not get
Ebola. The only way you can get this disease is by coming into direct
contact with the bodily fluids of someone with symptoms. That’s the
science. Those are the facts.
Sadly, Mr. Duncan did not survive, and we continue to keep
his family in our prayers. At the same time, it’s important to
remember that of the seven Americans treated so far for Ebola—the five
who contracted it in West Africa, plus the two nurses from Dallas—all
seven have survived. Let me say that again—seven Americans treated; all
seven survived. I’ve had two of them in the Oval Office. And now
we’re focused on making sure the patient in New York receives the best
care as well.
Here’s the bottom line. Patients can beat this disease.
And we can beat this disease. But we have to stay vigilant. We have to
work together at every level—federal, state and local. And we have to
keep leading the global response, because the best way to stop this
disease, the best way to keep Americans safe, is to stop it at its
source—in West Africa.
And we have to be guided by the science—we have to be
guided by the facts, not fear. Yesterday, New Yorkers showed us the
way. They did what they do every day—jumping on buses, riding the
subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work, gathering in parks.
That spirit—that determination to carry on—is part of what makes New
York one of the great cities in the world. And that’s the spirit all of
us can draw upon, as Americans, as we meet this challenge together.