Ebola drill in Dominican republic
Ebola drill in Dominican republic Reuters

In a stunning press release, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), and the NYC Health and Hospital Corporation (HHC) announced that the number of individuals in New York City who are being “actively monitored” for the Ebola infection has jumped to 357 people from 117 people the prior week. 

That represents almost a 300% increase. 

This also does not represent people who have entered New York City from West Africa and lied on their entry forms, regarding the risk that they carry the virus. Those people wouldn’t even currently show up in the NYC Ebola watch list count.

The press release reported that the “vast majority” of the increased number of possible Ebola patients now in New York City represents people who have recently come to the United States from the Ebola-stricken West African countries by airplane. Had a “travel ban” been imposed these people would not have been able to enter the United States. 

President Barack Obama has actively resisted the imposition of any travel ban from the West African Ebola-affected countries. Were any of the 357 people to have actually contracted Ebola, it would be an extremely dramatic development. That’s because NYC health officials would have to go a massive “contact tracing” protocol and trace every contact the Ebola-infected had been for his entire stay in New York City. As the Ebola-watch number increases, the likelihood also increases for an actual New York City Ebola-infected person to surface.

Under the “active monitoring” regimen New York City “health officials have to check in with affected individuals daily, rather than just allowing people to monitor their own symptoms.” As more people arrive from West Africa the number is likely to dramatically increase. After the 21-day maximum incubation period for Ebola, though, if the patient hasn’t shown any symptoms, he can be taken off the monitoring.

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