Obama: 'Confident' We Can Prevent Serious Ebola Outbreak

The president addresses cases of Ebola in Dallas and how to stop the virus from spreading.
16:06 | 10/15/14

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Transcript for Obama: 'Confident' We Can Prevent Serious Ebola Outbreak
This is an ABC news. -- -- -- -- -- Jordan stuff yeah. Good afternoon -- coming any air right now because President Obama is about to address the growing -- crisis. He's just completed an emergency meeting at the white house on a day -- we learned that another American health worker contracted the virus. After caring for the liberian man who died last week at a Dallas hospital. The new patient amber -- Vincent the second person infected in the US along with fellow nurse -- a fan. Clinton's home in Dallas is now being decontaminated. At the CDC and Texas presbyterian mounting questions about the handling of Ebola patients. Nurses -- -- the hospital did not have the proper equipment or protocols protect them saying they were quote lied to. Here's what we know right now 127 people being monitored for possible symptoms amber -- being flown to a special unit at Emory hospital in Atlanta. And we have also learned the -- flew to Cleveland on Frontier Airlines over the weekend on that plane. The CDC now contacting passengers on a flight back to Dallas and facing big questions about why -- was allowed to fly. -- -- -- our chief White House correspondent John -- John so much fear in the country now the president gonna try to calm people down and convince everyone he's on top of this crisis. That's right George the president needs to simultaneously reassure the public that -- risk of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States remains extremely. Low. What make it clear he takes that risk seriously. And that he is acting decisively to rent any further spread of the virus the problem right now for the president George. Is that the public is simply not convinced that he is fully on top of matter right now. And even though the risk here is -- -- -- -- say he's also calling this the greatest public health emergency of our time overseas and -- the president right now. In the cabinet. -- Well obviously. He's been dominated by the diagnosis of a second health care workers in Dallas. We -- people and in light. The second case I felt very important for me to bring together. Our team including. Our CDC director top -- to hear directly from them in terms of how we are wrapping up. Our efforts here. Obviously initially. We want -- express concern. For the -- health workers who have been affected. You know our nurses and our health care workers. Are absolutely vital to the health and well being of our families. They've sacrificed for us. All the time not just in this case but in the case of other illnesses that affect us. Selfless they work hard they're often underpaid. And so our thoughts and prayers are with them. And we have to make sure that we are doing everything we can take -- -- even as they take care of us. As a consequence what we've been doing here today is reviewing exactly. What we know about what's happened in Dallas. And how we're gonna make sure that something like this is not repeat and that we are monitoring. Supervising. Overseeing. In -- much more aggressive way exactly what's taking place. In Dallas initially and making sure that the lessons -- are then transmitted. Two hospitals and clinics all across the country. First of all. What I've directed the CDC to do. Is that as soon as somebody is diagnosed -- -- we want a rapid response team swat team. Essentially from the CDC to be on the ground. As quickly as possible hopefully within 44 hours so that they are. Taking. The local hospital step by step. Through exactly. What needs to done and making sure that all the protocols are far from. That use of protecting -- equipment is done effectively -- disposal. Of that protective equipment. Is done properly. The key thing to understand about this disease is that these protocols work. We know that because they've been used for decades now. In Ebola cases around the world. Including. -- Emery and in Nebraska. So if they're done properly. They work. But we have to make sure there -- understandably. Certain local hospitals that may not have that experience. Far. Walking walked through that process as carefully as possible I'm gonna make sure that this rapid response team can do that in addition. We are reviewing. Every step. Of what's happened since mr. Duncan was initially brought it. To the hospital in Dallas of the understand exactly where some of -- problems may have occurred and doing a thorough -- All workers who. Had contact with mr. Duncan. Including those who engaged in some testing. That took place. We are now communicating all these various lessons to hospitals clinics first responders country. Obviously given all the attention this received. We're gonna make sure that that. Provision of information is -- on -- and and being updated. Paula in real time basis. In addition. We are working very carefully what the mayor of Dallas governor of Texas. And others to make sure that in the event any other cases arise from these health workers. They are properly cared for in a way that is consistent with the public safety. I know that people are concerned about factor. The second health care worker had traveled. Here's what we know about you -- that. It is not like the -- It is not airborne. The only way that a person can contracted -- -- coming into direct contact. With the bodily fluids somebody who is showing symptoms. In other words if they don't have symptoms they're not contagious. What we are able to -- -- -- is to do what's called contact -- So that anybody who may have had contact with someone even if it was incidental contact. Even if it weren't showing symptoms being able to identify who those individuals -- And make -- that they are then being monitored. In a way that allows us. Make certain that the disease does not spread for. And that's currently taking place very aggressive process. Conducted by the CDC. HHS and -- of -- teams. I -- use myself as an example just of the people have a sense of the science here I. Shook hands ware hugged and kissed. Not a doctor but a couple of verses. At -- because valiant work that they did. Treating one of the -- They all the protocols. When they were -- And I felt perfectly safe doing so. And so. This is not a situation in which. Like a flu. The risks a rapid spread of the disease. If we do these protocols properly if we follow the steps we get information out there and -- likelihood of widespread. Ebola outbreak in this country are very very -- but. It will fall learned over the last several weeks is that. Folks here in this country and lot of non specialized hospitals and clinics. Don't have that much experience dealing with these issues and so we'll have to push -- this information. As aggressively as possible that's the instructions. -- provided. To my team. Just couple other points. No we are going to be monitoring carefully. The health status of the other health care workers in Dallas. And obviously they're concerned we understand that many of them are scared. Had we are going to make sure that we're on the ground. 24/7 to provide them the kind of support information and assurances that they. To get through this particular challenge. And finally we're also going to be continually examine our screening processes. At airports. We're making sure that in the event that we have additional cases that involve the need for transporting those. Patients who specialized hospitals that -- Teams -- in place and those facilities are in place. And you won't make sure that. On a daily basis we brought the public -- all the information may need in any updates. About. What has happened not just in Dallas but what is done across the country. -- -- -- -- -- We are going to have to make sure. That we do not lose sight of the importance of the international response. To what is taking. I am absolutely confident that we can prevent. A serious. Outbreak of the disease through the United States. But it becomes more difficult to do -- If this epidemic of Ebola rages out of control. In West Africa. If it does then it will spread. Globally. In an age. -- frequent travel. And you know the the kind of constant. Interactions that people have across borders. And so it is very important for us to understand that the investment we make in helping. Liberia Sierra. -- deal with this problem. Is an investment -- public health this is not simply charity although. Obvious it's important. That America takes the lead in the humanitarian. Crisis that's taking place there but it is also probably the single most important thing to prevent. A more serious Ebola outbreak in this country making sure that we get. What is a raging epidemic right now West Africa under control so for that reason last night -- -- Baldwin. Prime minister -- they're prepared to solicit greater support for national effort. This morning I spoke -- chancellor Merkel of Germany. But mr. Lindsey Italy present -- France as well as David Cameron the prime minister. Great Britain to make sure that we are coordinating our efforts and that we are. Putting a lot more resources there so far -- Has put into this process. So -- one in terms of the public. I want people understand that the dangers. -- contracting Ebola and the dangers of a serious outbreak are extraordinarily law. But we are taking this very seriously. At the highest levels of government. And we are going to be able to manage this particular situation. But. We have to look toward the future and if we are not. Responding in -- nationally and effective way and if we do not set up the kind of preparedness. And training. In our public health infrastructure. States. Not just for this outbreak but for future outbreaks -- we could have problems. So in the meantime. -- -- -- -- to be thinking about them and praying for to health workers. -- -- -- Those who. Also treated this patient with compassion and care just want to say thank them. And -- we are going to be doing everything we can't make sure their properly care for their secular culture and. President Obama wrapping up that we lose cabin at the White House saying he is absolutely confident. We can prevent an outbreak of -- right here in the United States seeing the possibility. And the likelihood of an outbreak is very very low but that the United States must also do everything you can to -- calls a raging epidemic. Across West Africa right now to bring in Tommy Thomas who's covering -- -- -- in Dallas outside Texas Presbyterian Hospital the president also said. All Americans should share their prayers for those two health care workers what more do we know. About the condition of the nurses right now and the possibility that other workers at that hospital might be infected. George good evening let's start with the new Ebola patient we know that she's 29 year old. Amber Benson a nurse here we're told that she's -- would not severely ill and she's now on her way to Atlanta her fellow nurse and friend -- fault is improving. We're told her condition is good. Her friends tell us they've been video chatting with her and she's very positive she's in a good -- she says she's not depressed or down. As for those other health care workers were talking about 75. Doctors and nurses and staff that they're monitoring right now. For any fever or other Ebola symptoms the CDC very blunt -- there could be more infections out there. It back to Dallas mayor said today it could get worse before it gets back to. Okay George thanks for being our chief medical editor doctor -- your best -- a veteran of the CDC and -- first things first we just saw that. Video ever -- -- -- taking -- the special charter plane that is gonna -- to Atlanta but so many questions. About how she was able to get on that flight from Cleveland. Into Dallas and whether that was a breach of protocol tell us about that and and and what kind of risk was actually on that plane. Yet George you know it's it's not exactly clear what was communicated to the health care workers at the hospital in terms of -- risk category. Where -- whether she was told that you or someone who's possibly exposed to a -- Which would -- a higher risk category or someone who is simply -- interpretation but using equipment properly. Which took her lowest category -- their lowest category in society it is not a problem but it -- and -- higher risk group. She should not have been on that plane but it's not clear that she was aware -- that. Regular doctor -- did say that after that. Exposure was discovered on Sunday she probably should not have been on that plane. Even she had elevated temperature but not a fever by the CDC standards the president saying time in the country these protocols the CDC has in place work. He's also talking about sending swat teams to any hospital. That has and infection I think the big question is is that going far enough. Well you know what he didn't say which city wins that we need to reach reach at our strategy and look to sending all of the patients who have a bullet. Two it just centers that have experts keeping in that area I think it's it's a lot many people feel it's it's a lot to expect -- hospital to ramp up overnight. It took a bullet treatment unit in what we've seen here in the first -- that tried so far is to help your workers with a bull. Now of course we are seeing immigrants are being brought to Emory hospital in Atlanta professor thanks very much that's all -- now. David -- here we'll be back later on world news tonight with -- -- from doctor that's our whole team. Sitting at the latest on the Ebola crisis anytime by starring that story on the ABC news mobile app. This has been a special.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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