White House Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain said the United States has reached a 'milestone’ with the release of the last American patient to be diagnosed with the disease that has ravaged much of West Africa.
"We are not at the beginning of the end or even the end of the beginning, but we are at the throes of this effort in West Africa with interventions that can work," Klain told about 30 people at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Thursday for a gathering of nonprofits, faith-based groups and government officials involved in the Ebola fight.
"We will see other cases of Ebola in the United States, as the president has said, occasionally and sporadically," Klain said. "But it's a milestone because it shows that our health care system can successfully identify isolate and treat an Ebola patient and return him home and healthy."
President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $6.2 billion to combat the Ebola virus in West Africa.
Vice President Joe Biden told the gathered crowd that it was up to them to push Congress to approve the funding.
"I'll be very blunt. The emergency funding request that we have on the Hill now; I'm going to be completely honest, we need you and your constituents to help carry the word,” Biden said. “Because, your views -- each individual organization that's represented here carries a lot more weight in this environment, this political environment we find ourselves in, than anything I can say, the president can say, Speaker [John] Boehner can say. "
Some of the organizations represented at the event included World of Hope, Bread for the World, the International Medical Corps, World Vision, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Save the Children and the law firm Latham & Watkins, according to the White House press pool report.
Biden added that his wife Jill Biden had been in Sierra Leone just days before the outbreak occurred. He also said that "every state of the union" should have a hospital prepared to take Ebola patients.