Ebola Today: New York Eases Ebola Quarantine Rules in the Face of Medical Criticism

9:30 p.m. ET: New York slowly backs away from mandatory quarantines: After relentless opposition from the medical community and the Obama administration, New York is loosening its quarantine rules. The New York Times reports Governor Andrew Cuomo said anyone quarantined who does not show symptoms of the disease would be allowed to stay at home. They would also be paid for lost wages.

3 p.m. ET: Obama urges states to stop mandatory quarantines: The White House says it’s putting pressure on governors to repeal mandatory quarantines they established last week for all medical workers returning from West Africa.

The New York Times reports that at least two governors — New York’s Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey’s Chris Christie (R) — said Sunday that they would not reverse their decisions, arguing that existing federal guidelines were not enough to protect public health.

Illinois, Florida and Connecticut have also passed similar rules that require the 21-day isolation of such travelers, even if they exhibit no symptoms of the virus.

Officials in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. said they would not enact a similar policy in their states, with one D.C. Department of Health official telling the Washington Post it was not scientifically justified.

10:28 a.m. ET: Florida governor orders Ebola monitoring. Florida Governor Rick Scott has ordered that anyone returning from an Ebola-stricken country as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention be monitored twice daily over 21 days for symptoms of the disease. Florida joins New York, New Jersey, and Illinois as states requiring mandatory monitoring of individuals to help gauge the risk of the disease spreading in the state.


The latest numbers:

Number of cases worldwide in the current outbreak: 9,936 (up 720 in five days)

Number of deaths: 4,877 (up 322 in five days)

Countries currently affected by Ebola: Mali, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Spain, and the United States of America.

Countries where the outbreak has ended: Nigeria (Oct. 19), Senegal (Oct. 17)

And here’s your daily reminder not to panic:

The likelihood of contracting Ebola in Massachusetts remains very low, according to the state’s public health officials. You have to be in direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids while they are contagious (displaying symptoms of Ebola). Even if someone has been exposed, symptoms may appear in as little as two days, and in as many as 21 days, after exposure. The CDC says the average is 8 to 10 days.

Ebola symptoms:

– Fever (greater than 38.6°C or 101.5°F)

– Severe headache

– Muscle pain

– Weakness

– Diarrhea

– Vomiting

– Abdominal (stomach) pain

– Unexplained hemorrhage (bleeding or bruising)

Need more details? Here’s an MGH physician dropping some knowledge for you.

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