New York City is in the grip of an Ebola scare that was unleashed after reports claimed that infected-doctor Craig Spencer visited several locations such as a bowling alley and a restaurant hours before being hospitalised for the deadly disease. He is also said to have rode on the Subway and even took a cab.
Spencer, who returned from Guinea a week back after travelling with a team of Doctors Without Borders earlier in the day, took a subway to the High Line Garden, which is a popular tourist destination.
As the news of the Ebola-infected doctor started spreading in NYC, many took to Twitter to express their fears.
Twitter user @joshua_heller, after reading about how Spencer took the Subway to travel, posted: "He took the subway form Harlem to Brooklyn?!?!YOU LITERALLY HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE CITY SUBWAY SYSTEM TO DO THAT."
Reports claim that the 33-year-old doctor instead of staying away from crowded places as is the usual practice, visited several populated areas across NYC, before returning home.
A Daily Mail report after mapping the routes travelled by the infected doctor claimed that residents in at least two dense New York City neighborhoods --- Williamsburg and Harlem -- could have been exposed.
The health officials have currently quarantined Spencer's fiance and two other friends. The CDC officials also are interviewing Spencer to verify the details of his travel across the city.
The anger of New Yorkers was quite visible on Twitter, where many blamed Spencer and even the health authorities for their 'carelessness.'
User @mikemckenna19 lashed out at Spencer and said: "While humanitarian in efforts to help West Africa, it is not appreciated that you brought #EbolaInNYC and put 8m at risk."
Another blamed the Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Margaret Lawson @maggielaw70 tweeted: "@MSF_USA is to blame for #EbolainNYC. It irresponsibly allowed its volunteer to walk freely in the city without a 21 day quarantine."
Maria Leonor Inca @LeonorInca said: "#EbolaInNYC is a disaster! A chain of hundred of people who have had contact whit #DrSpencer will be the next #ebola infected!"
Spencer is the ninth Ebola case seen in the United States and the first case in America's largest city. Ebola in NYC has once again set off renewed fears about the spread of the virus, which has killed nearly 4,900 people, largely in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
New York has no Reason to be Alarmed
New York health officials held an urgent press conference along with the city mayor to dispel fears. The deadly Ebola virus spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected person and is not airborne, the officials said.
"There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed," de Blasio said at a news conference at Bellevue reported Reuters. "Being on the same subway car or living near someone with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk."
The CDC official said that since Spencer was not feeling sick earlier, there are high chances that he was not contagious before Thursday morning. "We consider that it is extremely unlikely, the probability being close to nil, that there would be any problem related to his taking the subway system," NYC Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett said.
Spencer's apartment in Manhattan's Harlem neighborhood is isolated and sealed off, the health commissioner said.
Joyce Harrison, who lives in the building across the street, told Reuters, "I feel sorry and hope they can nip this in the bud. "I'll go right on with my daily routine and hope to God it doesn't come my way," she said.
Spencer has specialised in international emergency medicine at Columbia University-New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City since 2011.