After Criticism Of NYC Ebola Patient, Supporters Speak Up

Dr. Craig Spencer has taken a lot of heat in the press, but his supporters say he should be praised for treating Ebola victims abroad.

After Criticism Of NYC Ebola Patient, Supporters Speak Up
Getty Images / Kena Betancur

Last week, Dr. Craig Spencer flew to New York City from Guinea, where he was working with Doctors Without Borders to treat Ebola patients. Since then, he's become a target for some but a hero for others.

MEG TIRRELL VIA CNBC"They know that he went bowling at the Gutter in Williamsburg Brooklyn. ... They also know that he went to The Blue Bottle Coffee stand on the High Line park. ... They also know he visited the Meatball Shop on Greenwich Avenue. ... Now we also know that he rode the subway. This is all before he became feverish."

Thanks to the CDC, we know these are most of the places Spencer visited before he was taken to Bellevue Hospital. Hence the accusations that the doctor was being "irresponsible."

MEGYN KELLY VIA FOX NEWS"He's here for a week, he doesn't tell anybody and if starts to feel symptomatic before his 103 fever he's still out here bowling and taking taxies and not self-quarantining..."

Folks on Twitter weren't exactly pulling their punches either, with some openly insulting Spencer for his actions. 

It wasn't just harsh judgement though — the Internet's snark started to show as commenters came up with the #Ebowla hashtag in reference to Spencer's bowling. 

There was so much talk surrounding Spencer's bowling escapade that The New York Times released a blurb on whether you can get Ebola from a bowling ball. Short answer: it's extremely unlikely.  

But just in the past 24 hours or so, all that outrage has been met with praise for Spencer. His supporters say it took courage to travel to West Africa and fight Ebola in the first place.

Doctors Without Borders released a statement saying he followed all of the correct guidelines set up for someone returning home after treating Ebola patients.

Those guidelines include checking your temperature two times a day, finishing Malaria prevention, being aware of relevant symptoms, staying within four hours of a hospital with isolation rooms, and immediately contacting Doctors Without Borders if any symptoms start.

Time's Charlotte Alter went after the #Ebowla hashtag, saying we should be praising Ebola victims, not mocking them and that people joking about Spencer don't seem to realize his life is in danger. 

Sarah Kliff at Vox lauds Spencer for his work in Africa and says people demanding doctors returning from West Africa be put in mandatory quarantine have it wrong. She writes, "If the cost of treating infectious diseases was to give up everything else you love in life, no doctors would treat infectious diseases, and we would all be at much greater risk."

But that's the reality for anyone returning to New York, New Jersey and Illinois, three states that have put in place a mandatory 21-day quarantine for anyone returning from West Africa after treating Ebola patients. 

This video includes images from Getty Images.