U.S. polices on Ebola should be driven by science and should avoid discouraging American health care workers from going overseas to help curb Ebola outbreaks, President Obama said on Tuesday.
“We don’t want to discourage our health care workers from going to the front lines,” Obama said. When workers come back from West Africa, they should be thanked for their “incredible dedication.”
Obama was reacting to days of back-and-forth between state governments in New York and New Jersey, who have issued mandatory quarantines for some people returning from West Africa and the federal government, which insists those policies go overboard and are medically unnecessary because a person is only contagious if he or she is showing symptoms.
Obama said it was important for everyone here to “remain vigilant,” but it is also clear that the only way to completely shield the U.S. from Ebola is to stop it at its source and that’s why it’s important to keep from discouraging American workers willing to travel to the “front line,” Obama said.
The president was asked why the Army seemed to be taking a different approach than the one advocated by his administration for the general public. If you remember, the Army is placing troops returning from West Africa under what it calls “controlled monitoring” for 21 days.
Obama said the troops traveling to West Africa are not volunteers and are under the control of the U.S. military.
“We don’t expect to have similar rules for our military that” we do for civilian volunteers, Obama said.