President Barack Obama said Thursday he might consider appointing an “Ebola czar” to help coordinate efforts to combat the deadly disease in the United States and ensure that it doesn’t spread. Obama also shot down calls for a travel ban to West African countries that have been ravaged by the epidemic.
"If we institute a travel ban instead of the protocols we put in place now, history shows there is a likelihood of increased avoidance. People do not readily disclose their information,” Obama said at the White House, adding that a ban could result in less treatment for the sick and increased risk to other travelers.
When asked in the Oval Office by NBC's Kristen Welker if he would be assigning a point person, the president said that up until now his team has been doing "an outstanding job dealing with what is a very complicated and fluid situation.” But he added that “It may make sense for us to have one person, in part just so that after this initial surge of activity we can have a more regular process to make sure we're crossing all t’s and dotting all the i’s.”
Two nurses who treated an Ebola patient who later died have tested positive for the disease. Nurse Nina Pham was being flown to a National Institutes of Health medical center in Maryland for treatment Thursday. Another nurse, Amber Vinson, is being treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.