Meet the Woman Leading NYC’s Ebola Fight

My Pleasure Dr.

TIME

Dr. Mary Bassett, the New York City Health Commissioner, is already imagining the moment she’ll embrace Dr. Craig Spencer, the city’s first patient with Ebola, when he’s virus-free.

“When I saw that picture of Nina Pham being hugged by the president, I thought, ‘If he will agree, I am hoping to give [Spencer] a big hug,'” says Bassett after a press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio at The Meatball Shop in New York—a restaurant Spencer had visited before being hospitalized—on Saturday. The Italian hotspot had reopened the evening before, after being temporarily shuttered.

“I understand that people are scared,” Bassett says. “Ebola is a scary disease and it evokes a lot of fear. In this country, the level of public anxiety is palpable.” But in New York City, she says, health officials and staff have been drilling for months.

On Oct. 23 Bassett received a call from Doctors…

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