President Barack Obama repeated his message that America needs to support those treating the Ebola outbreak in Africa, saying “the world owes them a debt of gratitude” — even as authorities in Maine weighed whether to enforce a quarantine on a nurse there.
"What we need right now is these shock troops that are out there leading globally. And we can't discourage that, we need to encourage it, and applaud it," Obama said Wednesday at the White House, flanked by about a dozen workers who had either just come back from Africa or were preparing to go.
The president was introduced by Dr. Kent Brantly, Medical Director of Samaritan's Purse Ebola Consolidated Case Management Center in Monrovia, Liberia.
Brantly, a survivor of Ebola who recovered in the U.S. after contracting it in West Africa, has become a hero in the eyes of some for donating his blood to other Americans stricken with the deadly virus.
"The world owes them a debt of gratitude," Brantly said of those who have gone overseas to help in the Ebola fight. "But the struggle is far from over, more medical workers are desperately needed."
Maine health officials were expected Wednesday afternoon to say whether they would seek to enforce a 21-day quarantine on nurse Kaci Hickox, who recently returned to the United States from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, and has tested negative for the deadly disease. An attorney for Hickox said she is not showing symptoms and does not intend to obey the order.
- 'God's Work': Obama Says U.S. Must Support Health Workers Who Go to Africa
- Maine Weighs Options to Enforce Ebola Quarantine of Nurse Kaci Hickox
- Hagel Approves 21-Day Quarantine for Troops