Obama pushes against mandatory Ebola quarantines

For the second day in a row, President Barack Obama struck out at state policies aimed at quarantining medical workers returning from Ebola-affected regions.

"I put those on notice who think that we should hide from these problems, that's not who we are, that's not who I am, that's not who these folks are," Obama said, referring to a group of doctors behind him who were working to fight Ebola. "This is America, and we do things differently."

A screen image showing President Barack Obama speaking to ebola health care workers, Wednesday.
Source: The White House

Speaking after a Wednesday meeting with those doctors, Obama said Americans' actions are leading to significant gains in the fight against Ebola, but that these people require support at home.

"If we're discouraging our healthcare workers who are prepared to make these sacrifices from traveling to these places in need, then we're not doing our job in terms of looking after our own public health and safety," Obama said. "We can't discourage that, we've got to encourage it and applaud it."

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Some states, including New Jersey and New York, have instituted mandatory quarantine policies for any health care worker returning from treating Ebola patients in affected countries. One nurse, Kaci Hickox, was critical of this policy after being placed into quarantine in a New Jersey hospital after returning from West Africa.

"When they come home, they deserve to be treated properly, they deserve to be treated like the heroes that they are," the president said of the health care workers treating African Ebola patients.

He also took an optimistic tone on the battle against the deadly disease, saying he is confident America will "contain and ultimately snuff out this outbreak of Ebola—because that's what we do."

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"Because of the leadership that we've shown on the ground, the mood in Liberia has changed—people have a greater sense of confidence that this can be dealt with," the president said.

Obama was introduced by Dr. Kent Brantly, who survived the disease after contracting it in West Africa.