New York City police officers working around the Harlem apartment of Craig Spencer, the doctor who tested positive for the Ebola virus on Thursday, were caught discarding their protective gloves and masks in a street-corner trash bin.
According to the New York Post, the NYPD cordoned off the entire block in front of Spencer’s building on W. 147th Street. Authorities inside the apartment were reportedly wearing hazmat suits, so its possible that the gear-discarding officers were only on patrol outside the building.
Nevertheless, the video clip first posted by the Daily Mail caused a stir on Twitter.
I’m as anti Ebola hysteria as anyone, but really NYPD? Dumping protective gear in public?http://t.co/Zeo8SJCB2M
— B. Morgan (@bm87x) October 24, 2014
— Shubbie (@shOoObz) October 24, 2014
Sending NYPD to an Ebola infected home is not smart! Where is the NYC Health Dept or other health trained personnel?
— Denyse Naylor (@DenyseNaylor) October 24, 2014
— jennifer (@aclownwhos) October 24, 2014
Some took the opportunity to criticize the NYPD for various reasons, while others thought it was more important to point out the man who attacked two NYPD officers with a hatchet on Thursday.
More people have been killed by the NYPD in the last month than people who have died from Ebola in the US.
— TheRealSpookyJustice (@justiceputnam) October 24, 2014
— Tristan Snell (@TristanSnell) October 24, 2014
Meanwhile, the Brooklyn bowling alley Dr. Spencer reportedly attended on Wednesday evening was closed down due to Ebola worries on Thursday. Owners of The Gutter said in a statement a show scheduled for Friday night is cancelled for now.
“We are working with the NYC Health Department to have the bar cleaned and sanitized under their supervision and expect to be open sometime today after that is completed. Doctors advising the Health Department have told us that our staff and customers were at no risk.”
Spencer, who this month had worked for Doctors Without Borders in the Ebola-ravaged West African nation of Guinea, fell ill with a fever on Thursday and was rushed to a Manhattan hospital where he was put in isolation. A preliminary test showed Spencer was positive for the virus, which has killed around 4,000 people in West Africa and one person, Thomas Eric Duncan, in the US.
Dr. Spencer was reportedly screened for the virus at John F. Kennedy International Airport upon his return to the US from Guinea, as all travelers from West Africa have been checked in recent weeks. He “did not have a fever or other symptoms of illness” at the time, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In Washington, a new report released Thursday depicted a federal government that might struggle with an Ebola outbreak should it happen in the nation’s capital.
A new audit by the US Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found that 84 percent of thousands of stockpiled bottles of hand sanitizer, saved in case of emergencies like an Ebola outbreak in Washington, has expired.
John Roth, the department’s inspector general, reported that the federal government had failed to “adequately conduct a needs assessment,” and now much of the safety equipment, including 16 million surgical masks, are either out of date or worthless.
“DHS did not adequately conduct a needs assessment prior to purchasing pandemic preparedness supplies and then did not effectively manage its stockpile of pandemic personal protective equipment and antiviral medical countermeasures,” Roth’s 50-page report stated.
The report found that 4,184 of the 4,982 bottles of hand sanitizer in stockpile for a possible virus outbreak or pathogen attack had expired, some as many as four years ago.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a response to Bloomberg that the inspector general “has not appropriately characterized [sic] a number of issues discussed in the report, resulting in a misrepresentation of the information and evidence that DHS program officials and subject matter experts provided to the auditors.”
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