Just a quick note. The UN Security Council has ad its first ever emergency meeting over a health issue, specifically the current West African Ebola outbreak. From a summary in Science, the Council ...
... unanimously passed a resolution that declared the spread of the virus a “threat to international peace and security” and called on the world to send more health care workers and supplies to Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, and not to isolate those countries.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who chaired today's meeting, noted that the resolution had 130 co-sponsors, more than any previous one in the history of the Security Council.
I know a lot of people want to send blankets or water. Just send your cash.
--George Walker Bush
GWB is right about that: in a disaster, donations are what's needed most, to enable relief workers to buy the supplies they need.
In an epidemic like this, there are no Republicans and no Democrats, only humans trying to help other humans.
Disturbing possibilities raised in a September 23 release from the CDC includes this paragraph:
By September 30, 2014, without additional interventions and using the described likelihood of going to an ETU, approximately 670 daily beds in use (1,700 corrected for underreporting) will be needed in Liberia and Sierra Leone (Figure 2). Extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior (e.g., notable reductions in unsafe burial practices), the model also estimates that Liberia and Sierra Leone will have approximately 550,000 Ebola cases (1.4 million when corrected for underreporting) (Appendix [Figure 2]). The uncorrected estimates of cases for Liberia on September 9, 2014, were 2,618, and the actual reported cases were 2,407 (i.e., model overestimated cases by +8.8%). The uncorrected estimates of cases for Sierra Leone on September 13, 2014, were 1,505 and the actual reported cases were 1,620 (i.e., model underestimated cases by -7.6%).
although a (quite optimistic?) possibility for containing the outbreak is also mentioned:
Results from the two illustrative scenarios provide an example of how the epidemic can be controlled and eventually stopped. If, by late December 2014, approximately 70% of patients were placed either in ETUs or home or in a community setting such that there is a reduced risk for disease transmission (including safe burial when needed), then the epidemic in both countries would almost be ended by January 20, 2015 (Appendix [Figure 3]). In the first scenario, once 70% of patients are effectively isolated, the outbreak decreases at a rate nearly equal to the initial rate of increase. In the second scenario, starting an intervention on September 23, 2014, such that initially the percentage of all patients in ETUs are increased from 10% to 13% and thereafter including continual increases until 70% of all patients are in an ETU by December 22, 2014, results in a peak of 1,335 daily cases (3,408 cases estimated using corrected data) and <300 daily cases by January 20, 2015 (Appendix [Figure 10]). Delaying the start of the intervention until October 23, 2014, results in the peak increasing to 4,178 daily cases (10,646 cases estimated using corrected data). Delaying the start further, until November 22, results in 10,184 daily cases (25,847 estimated using corrected data) by January 20, 2015, which is the last date included in the model (Appendix [Figure 10]).
Something in the setting of the initial outbreak seems to be have been subtly different from previous incidents to be missed or not seen as important, but it has resulted in serious problems. Is there a good reason to be optimistic for a reasonably rapid stop to this?