Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York
City Mayor Bill de Blasio are offering job protection and
financial incentives for health-care workers who treat Ebola in
Under the program, doctors and nurses who travel to the
region would have their pay, health care and employment
guaranteed, similar to what reservists returning from wartime
receive, according to an e-mailed statement from Cuomo today.
The state will also reimburse workers and employers if care
workers are subject to quarantine upon return. Cuomo, a 56-year-old Democrat, has been criticized by health-care groups and
President Barack Obama for a policy he announced Oct. 24 with
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that mandates three-week
quarantines for anyone returning from Sierra Leone, Guinea or
Liberia who had contact with Ebola victims.
“Public health in West Africa and the public health in New
York are interconnected and both must be addressed,” Cuomo said
in the statement.
Government officials are struggling to quell fears of
contagion while not penalizing aid workers who venture to the
countries at the center of the epidemic. In West Africa, the
virus has infected about 10,000 people and killed about half,
according to the World Health Organization. In the U.S., one man
who traveled from Liberia died.
Unlike a more lenient quarantine policy from the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with New York’s and
New Jersey’s approach it doesn’t matter if the contact occurred
while the traveler was wearing protective gear for isolation to
“The CDC says they set minimum standards and then the
states can adapt those standards to their situation,” Cuomo
said yesterday in Staten Island. “We acted when we had present
problems and situations and the CDC hadn’t even issued their
protocols. Ours are what I consider more protective than the
CDC’s minimums and I’m totally comfortable with that.”
Cuomo and Christie moved forward with the quarantines after
Craig Spencer, a 33-year-old New York City emergency-room doctor
who had been treating Ebola in Guinea, was diagnosed with Ebola
Oct. 23. A day earlier, Spencer went bowling, rode the subway
and took an Uber car.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Freeman Klopott in Albany at
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Stephen Merelman at
Mark Tannenbaum, Mark Schoifet