President Obama Says He's Open to Appointing an Ebola Czar

PHOTO: President Barack Obama speaks to the media about Ebola during a meeting at the White House in Washington, Oct. 16, 2014.ABC News
President Barack Obama speaks to the media about Ebola during a meeting at the White House in Washington, Oct. 16, 2014.

President Obama said today that he is open to appointing what would essentially be an Ebola Czar to deal with the ongoing situation with the deadly disease in the U.S.

"It may be appropriate for me to appoint an additional person," to be the point person, the president told reporters at the White House after meeting with his Ebola response team for nearly two hours, as new information continued to develop about how health care workers at a Dallas hospital may not have been given proper training and equipment to deal with an Ebola patient there.

However, a travel ban is not the way to go, the president said. He doesn't have a philosophical objection, but he said that a travel ban is less effective than screening. Implementing a travel ban may actually backfire by prompting travelers to hide their travel history or seek treatment, Obama said.

PHOTO: Belkys Fortune, left, and Teressa Celia, pose in protective suits in an isolation room during a demonstration of procedures for possible Ebola patients at Bellevue Hospital, New York, Oct. 8, 2014.Richard Drew/AP Photo
Belkys Fortune, left, and Teressa Celia, pose in protective suits in an isolation room during a demonstration of procedures for possible Ebola patients at Bellevue Hospital, New York, Oct. 8, 2014.

The president also said he spoke with Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. John Kasich of Ohio today about the Ebola situation.

"When we have tight propocols with respect to the treatment of patients, our health care worker remain safe," Obama said.

"I understand that people are worried. This is a disease that is new to our shores," Obama said. But he underscored the limited scope of the outbreak right now, and that Ebola is a "very difficult disease to catch."

"We are taking this very seriously at the highest levels, including me," Obama said.