NBC medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman has a message for everyone. She’s very sorry. Back in October, Snyderman returned with her film crew from Liberia where a member of her team, Ashoka Mukpo, had contracted Ebola. (Mukpo made a full recovery in Nebraska later on.) She and her team agreed to a voluntary quarantine for the standard 21 day period, but before the time was up, Snyderman went out to a restaurant to pick up some takeout food. Other members of the team broke quarantine as well.
This week she went on The Today Show to reiterate how sorry she was for the mistake.
“I’m very sorry for not only scaring my community and the country, but adding to the confusion of terms that I think came as fast and furious as the news about Ebola did,” she told TODAY’s Matt Lauer in her first appearance since breaking the self-imposed 21-day period of isolation…
“I wear two hats — I have my doctor hat and I have my journalist hat, and when the science and the messaging sometimes collide, and you leave the optics, in this case a hot zone and come back to the United States, good people can make mistakes,” she said. “I stepped outside the boundaries of what I promised to do and what the public expected of me, and for that I’m sorry.”…
“We knew the risks in our head but didn’t really appreciate, and frankly we were not sensitive to, how absolutely frightened Americans were,” she said.
In the end, neither Snyderman nor any of the rest of her crew came down with the virus, so in that sense all’s well that ends well. I can also appreciate the fact that she apologized immediately after it happened and is willing to come back out and repeat that apology many weeks later. But this should also remind us that the issue is still out there and requires continued attention on two fronts even though the election is over.
We seem to be close to a cure for Ebola. Perhaps we are already there, since the survival rate for those afflicted with the virus who contract it in or reach the United States is pretty impressive. But it’s still raging in Africa, and resources are needed to try to wipe it out. And until that happens, we have to remain vigilant regarding people coming back to the US from these countries. Allowing ourselves to become lax just because nobody is facing imminent election is a mistake. The virus doesn’t give a hoot about the election cycle, and if a carrier shows up in a crowded metropolitan area in January it will be just as bad as if it had happened in October.
Here’s the video of the apology and interview.