Ebola threat requires CDC be on the ground in NYC, Sen. Schumer says

The Centers for Disease Control needs to dispatch a team to New York City before there is a confirmed case of Ebola, Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday.

With the busy Kennedy and Newark airports taking in flights that originate from the three West African countries fighting an Ebola outbreak, Schumer said the CDC officials should be on the ground here to immediately treat a possible case and oversee operations at hospitals..

“We’re asking that the CDC have a team on the ground, not that they fly somebody in the minute someone is diagnosed with Ebola, so that they’d be right here,” Schumer said.

The CDC would then be able to immediately isolate then move that patient to one of four centers the agency has in place to treat confirmed cases of Ebola. The CDC also has experts posted in Nebraska, Texas, Ohio and Atlanta, Georgia, according to Schumer’s office.

The CDC did not immediately return a request for comment.

Schumer also touted New York City’s response to the Ebola outbreak over Texas’ handling of a case in which two nurses in Dallas contracted the virus while treating a Liberian man who ultimately died from it.

In the city, hospitals are undergoing training exercises, have set up isolation rooms for potential cases and are being inspected by health officials.

“New York City is a whole lot better than Texas in everything that we’ve been doing,” Schumer said.

Schumer, meanwhile, declined to join the call for a travel ban on the three West African countries — Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Schumer said he was unconvinced a ban would bolster safety precautions, citing experts who argue that people will try to slip into the U.S. with forged documents or fly to other countries first.

“The worst thing that can happen is somebody walking around New York or any other city with Ebola having not been detected at our airports,” he said.