Aug. 4, 2014 at 8:09 AM ET
A doctor treating the first Ebola victim in the United States said he was “thrilled” to see the patient walk into an Atlanta hospital facility, which he assured TODAY viewers on Monday is built to contain communicable diseases “far more infectious than Ebola.”
“We’re going above and beyond what’s necessary to contain this virus,” said Dr. Jay Varkey with the infectious disease unit at Emory Hospital.
Varkey is working with a team treating Kent Brantly, an American doctor who came down with Ebola while treating patients in Africa. He returned to the United States on Saturday on a specially-equipped jet and then was transported on ground in carefully-fitted ambulance. However, he surprised many when he walked into the hospital, with assistance. He wore a completely enclosed hazardous material suit.
Ebola has infected 1,440 people so far, killing 826 of those victims, according to world health statistics.
Varkey addressed safety concerns raised by many over the CDC's decision to transport Brantly back to the United States:
Varkey could not disclose anything about Brantly’s condition, at the request of his family, but the patient’s wife said in a statement he was in “good spirits.”
Another statement from Samaritan’s Purse, the charity Brantly worked for in Africa, also said the doctor’s condition continues to improve: “We can confirm that Kent was able to receive a dose of the experimental serum prior to leaving Liberia,” the group said.
Brantley received a second dose of the serum after arriving in the United States, NBC News reported. He was described as clinically stable Monday, with a lower fever and improvement in other symptoms.
Among those who have vocally spoken against Brantly's return to the United States has been Donald Trump, who took to Twitter several times to say that Americans with Ebola should stay away until they have recovered.