News that a doctor in New York City tested positive for Ebola, prompted CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC to break into their regularly scheduled programming on Thursday evening and air extensive live coverage.
Officials announced Dr. Craig Spencer, 33, tested positive for the deadly virus after returning to the United States from treating Ebola patients in Guinea. Spencer had been in Africa working in conjunction with Doctors Without Borders and returned home on Oct. 14.
According to media reports, he started feeling ill on Tuesday, but didn’t visit a hospital until he woke up Thursday with a 103 degree fever. Local and federal health care workers are now retracing his steps to determine who he may have come in contact with in recent days.
The New York Times reports Dr. Spencer traveled from Manhattan to Brooklyn via subway on Wednesday night, so he could visit a bowling alley. He would travel home in a taxi.
Spencer is being treated at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and remains in isolation while further tests are conducted by the Centers for Disease Control.
In an effort to assure the public, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke to reporters Thursday night from Bellevue Hospital.
“There is no reason for New Yorkers to be alarmed,” de Blasio said. “The patient is now in isolation, the health department has a team of detectives who have been at work tracing all the patients’ contacts and they are prepared to quarantine the contacts as necessary.”
Seated next to him was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who told reporters, “We’ve been in touch with four people who had contact with the Ebola patient.” Cuomo also said the “CDC is sending a rapid response team to New York.”
CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Fox News’ Megyn Kelly and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow all shifted the focus of their programs to cover the breaking news situation.
The cable news networks previously aired wall-to-wall Ebola coverage on Oct. 12, when Texas nurse Amber Vinson tested positive for the disease. CNN, Fox News and MSNBC temporarily scrapped their normal Sunday morning coverage to broadcast live updates on the healthcare worker who contracted the virus after treating Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S.
At least 4,877 people have died from the Ebola epidemic, according to the World Health Organization.