And much, much more. . .
We begin with a shrieking alarm, via the Guardian:
WHO warns 10,000 new cases of Ebola a week are possible
- UN agency says fatality rate at 70% and that ‘a lot more people will die’ unless world steps up its response to crisis
The Ebola outbreak could grow to 10,000 new cases a week within two months, the World Health Organisation warned on Tuesday as the death toll from the virus reached 4,447 people, nearly all of them in west Africa.
Dr Bruce Aylward, the WHO assistant director-general, told a news conference in Geneva that the number of new cases was likely to be between 5,000 and 10,000 a week by early December.
WHO’s regular updates show that deaths have resulted from 4,447 of the 8,914 reported cases, but Aylward said that any assumption that the death rate was 50% would be wrong. He put the death rate at 70% because many deaths are not reported or recorded officially.
Where detailed investigations have been carried out, it was clear that only 30% of people were surviving, he said, adding that the figure was almost exactly the same in the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. “This is a high-mortality disease in any circumstances but particularly in these places,” said Aylward.
More from Sky News:
Sixty Days To Beat Ebola, United Nations Warns
- If the deadly outbreak cannot be reined in by Christmas then the UN says there is no plan in place and it could be overwhelmed
The UN says the ebola outbreak must be controlled within 60 days or else the world faces an “unprecedented” situation for which there is no plan.
The United Nations made the stark warning as it warned that the disease “is running faster than us and it is winning the race”.
Nearly 9,000 cases of ebola have been reported so far in West Africa, including 4,447 deaths.
“The WHO advises within 60 days we must ensure 70% of infected people are in a care facility and 70% of burials are done without causing further infection,” said Anthony Banbury, the UN’s deputy ebola coordinator.
“We need to do that within 60 days from 1 October. If we reach these targets then we can turn this epidemic around.”
A video report from RT:
‘Key to containing Ebola is getting more intl help’ – WHO spokesperson
Ebola deaths are being recorded in more and more countries around the world – a United Nations worker has died in hospital in Germany – the latest victim of the virus outside Africa. At the heart of the pandemic – in West Africa – the outbreak has already killed more than 4,000 people. For more RT is joined by Winifred Romeril from the World Health Organization.
From Voice of America, a lament:
International Ebola Support is Lethargic, MSF Says
South Africans working for Doctors Without Borders, known by its French initials MSF, are calling on their fellow citizens to support efforts to stem the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. More than 4,000 people have died and the number of new infections is doubling every three weeks. Yet there is a severe shortage of medical facilities, contact tracing, surveillance and education on Ebola in affected communities.
The message from MSF is a simple one: the international community is failing the people of West Africa.
MSF says that despite promises from various countries to help stem the deadly virus, to date, few pledges have translated into concrete action on the ground. Sharon Ekambaram, head of a MSF South Africa unit, says there are critical gaps in all aspects of the response.
“And so the spread of Ebola continues unabated as the response fails to curtail and bring down new infections,” she explained. “MSF is really angry that the world and the international community is failing the people of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. It is hard to understand, to be frank, the media frenzy about individual contaminations of people in the USA and in Europe… rich nations have the resources to contain spread of Ebola if it reaches their shores. It is the people of the impoverished communities of West Africa that are at the highest risk of infection and death.”
While Nikkei Asian Review examines another impact:
Ebola casting shadow on global economy
Rising concern over a possible global outbreak of Ebola, especially in the wake of the new cases in Spain and the U.S., is putting investors on edge and has begun affecting the global economy.
The disease will likely prove a long-term drag on the African economy. Ebola’s two-year financial impact could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015 in West Africa alone, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said Thursday.
Expectations that global travel will slow sent airline stocks down in the U.S. market Monday. The government has begun screening travelers from West Africa at major airports.
From the New York Times, reassurance:
Scientists Rein In Fears of Ebola, a Virus Whose Mysteries Tend to Invite Speculation
News that a nurse in full protective gear had become infected with the Ebola virus raised some disturbing questions on Monday. Has the virus evolved into some kind of super-pathogen? Might it mutate into something even more terrifying in the months to come?
Evolutionary biologists who study viruses generally agree on the answers to those two questions: no, and probably not.
The Ebola viruses buffeting West Africa today are not fundamentally different from those in previous outbreaks, they say. And it is highly unlikely that natural selection will give the viruses the ability to spread more easily, particularly by becoming airborne.
“I’ve been dismayed by some of the nonsense speculation out there,” said Edward Holmes, a biologist at the University of Sydney in Australia. “I understand why people get nervous about this, but as scientists we need to be very careful we don’t scaremonger.”
From the Washington Post, angst:
Ebola poll: Two-thirds of Americans worried about possible widespread epidemic in U.S.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans are concerned about a widespread Ebola epidemic in the United States, despite repeated assurances from public officials that the country’s modern health-care and disease-surveillance systems will prevent the type of outbreak ravaging West Africa.
In a Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in recent days, the number of Americans who say the government should be doing more to prevent additional Ebola cases in the United States is almost twice the number who believe the United States is doing all it can to control the spread of the virus.
That includes overwhelming support — 91 percent — in favor of stricter screening for people traveling to this country from West Africa. Such screening began this past weekend at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and soon will begin at four other international airports in the country.
And the New York Times covers the political front:
Debate Over Ebola Turns to Specific Policy Requests
The public health concerns about Ebola have now spread to both political parties, which are engaged in a finger-pointing policy debate that could jar midterm elections just weeks away.
For a week, Republicans have advocated severely limiting — if not eliminating — flights from West Africa, accusing President Obama of complicity in a looming epidemic for failing to take their advice. On Monday, Democrats joined the debate, blaming Republican budget cutting for the government’s failure to prepare for Ebola.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee unveiled an Internet banner advertisement charging Republicans with undermining the Ebola response by cutting funds for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while protecting tax breaks for special interests. A little-known liberal group, the Agenda Project Action Fund, showed a 60-second advertisement that it says will run in Kentucky next week. It includes gruesome images of dead and dying West Africans. “Republican cuts kill,” the ad says as it ends, accompanied by the sound of breathing through a respirator. “Vote.”
More from the McClatchy Washington Bureau:
Pols trade blame for Ebola, but both parties cut budgets for health
The political blame game over the deadly Ebola virus is in full swing just weeks before the November elections – with each side ignoring the facts.
Several Republicans, including House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, contend that President Barack Obama has been too slow or hasn’t done enough in response to the outbreak. Some Republicans, such as Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, want to restrict air travel from West Africa, the outbreak’s epicenter, or bolster the U.S. borders.
Democrats are pointing fingers, too, blaming congressional Republican budget-cutting zeal for crippling the response of federal health institutions to the crisis. On Monday, a liberal group and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee linked Republican fiscal policies to the Ebola outbreak.
Still more from the National Journal:
Lawmakers Want Answers on U.S. Ebola Cases
- Hearing Thursday will examine whether the country is prepared to cope with the virus.
Amid rising anxiety over the Ebola outbreak, a congressional panel is to convene Thursday in Washington to hear details of the two confirmed cases in Dallas and whether America’s ports of entry, hospitals, and health care workers are adequately prepared to prevent a further spread of the virus.
The lawmakers’ inquiry will include the question of why screening procedures did not prevent Thomas Duncan from entering the U.S. from Liberia on Sept. 20, the handling of his diagnosis, and his treatment prior to his death last week, according to a memo released Tuesday by majority staffers of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The committee will also be updated by officials scrambling to determine how a nurse who helped treat Duncan at a Texas hospital has become the first person to contract Ebola in the U.S.
Reuters covers the White House response:
White House to seek more Ebola funds in FY2015 spending bill
The Obama administration expects to ask Congress for additional funds for a growing U.S. government effort to halt the spread of Ebola, White House Budget Director Shaun Donovan said on Tuesday.
Donovan told Reuters that the request, which would come on top of more than $1 billion in federal funds currently available, would be made in the coming weeks as Congress reconvenes in November to consider a 2015 fiscal year spending bill in the post-election “lame duck” session.
“Our expectation is that we will be talking to Congress about additional needs,” Donovan said at the Reuters Global Climate Change Summit in Washington.
On to the first home-grown American case with the Guardian:
Dallas nurse infected with Ebola gets blood transfusion from survivor
- Dr Kent Brantly, the first American to return to the US from Liberia to be treated for Ebola, donated plasma to Nina Pham
A Dallas nurse who caught Ebola while treating a Liberian patient who died of the disease has received a plasma transfusion donated by a doctor who beat the virus.
Ebola has killed more than 4,000 people nearly all of them in West Africa in an outbreak the World Health Organisation has called “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times.” US health officials say they are ramping up training for medical workers who deal with the infected.
Nurse Nina Pham was among about 70 staff members at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, according to medical records. They drew his blood, put tubes down his throat and wiped up his diarrhoea. They analysed his urine and wiped saliva from his lips, even after he had lost consciousness.
More from the Washington Post:
The decades-old treatment that may save a young Dallas nurse infected with Ebola
In late July, when it looked like Dr. Kent Brantly wasn’t going to make it, a small news item escaped Liberia. It spoke of Brantly’s treatment – not of the Ebola vaccine, Zmapp, which Brantly later got. But of a blood transfusion. He had “received a unit of blood from a 14-year-old boy who had survived Ebola because of Dr. Brantly’s care,” the missive said.
Now months later, Brantly, who has since recovered from his battle with the virus, has passed on the favor. A 26-year-old Dallas nurse named Nina Pham, who contracted the illness while treating the United States’ first Ebola patient, has received Brantly’s blood. It’s not the first time it has been used to treat Ebola patients. Recovered Ebola victim Richard Sacra got it, as well as U.S. journalist Ashoka Mukpo, who last night said he’s on the mend.
Injecting the blood of a patient such as Brantly, who has recovered from Ebola and developed certain antibodies, is a decades-old but promising method of treatment that, academics and health officials agree, could be one of the best means to fight Ebola. Called a convalescent serum, it might also save Pham, an alum of Texas Christian University.
And the Daily Mail offers the usual omnium gatherum:
Ebola-stricken nurse breaks her silence from quarantine unit to say she is ‘being cared for by the best team in the world’ at Dallas hospital
- Nina Pham, 26, said on Tuesday: ‘I am blessed by the support of family and friends and am blessed to be cared for by the best team of doctors and nurses in the world’
- The nurse has received blood transfusion from Dr Kent Brantly, who was given the all-clear from Ebola
- Antibodies in his blood could help the patients fight the disease
- Miss Pham, from Fort Worth, caught the Ebola virus while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, 42, in Dallas
- Second person who some identified as Miss Pham’s boyfriend is being monitored for symptoms
- Miss Pham raised in Vietnamese family in Fort Worth and graduated from Texas Christian University in 2010 with Bachelor of Science in Nursing
- About 70 staff members at Texas hospital were involved in the care of first Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan after he was hospitalized
Support, via Reuters:
U.S. health workers rally on Facebook for Dallas nurse with Ebola
Thousands of U.S. health workers have joined social media campaigns in the past few days to support a Texas nurse who became the first person infected with Ebola in the United States, which she contracted caring for a dying African patient at a Dallas hospital.
The nurse, Nina Pham, 26, was diagnosed over the weekend and is in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where she worked. She has been swept in questions on whether a lapse in infectious disease protocols was behind her becoming infected.
“She isn’t sick because she is a bad nurse, didn’t follow protocol, or was inadequately trained. She is the RN (registered nurse) who made a sacrifice to care for a very sick man,” Roy Rannila, a staff member for the Texas hospital group caring for Pham wrote on his Facebook page.
A Facebook page, “Nurses for Nina”, has garnered over 4,500 “likes” in less than 24 hours and messages of support from healthcare providers in areas such as Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona, Tennessee and Washington D.C.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, playing catch-up:
Dallas health officials scramble to identify staff who treated Ebola patient
Health officials on Monday were scrambling to identify and monitor a large number of health care workers at a Dallas hospital who could be at risk of contracting Ebola after they cared for Thomas Eric Duncan in the hospital’s isolation ward.
It’s unclear how many caregivers could be at risk; some reports indicated as many as 70 were involved in Duncan’s treatment. Dr. Tom Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said he wouldn’t be surprised if more workers develop the disease in the coming weeks.
A 26-year-old nurse at the hospital, who was identified Monday by her family as Nina Pham, tested positive for the virus Saturday even though she had worn protective clothing in her multiple contacts with Duncan.
More from the the Washington Post:
CDC doesn’t know how many health-care workers in Dallas may have been exposed to Ebola; AP says it’s ‘about 70’ people
A day after a nurse who treated an Ebola-stricken patient in Dallas was diagnosed with the virus, public health officials are still trying to figure out how many health-care workers may have had similar exposure.
It is still unclear how, exactly, the nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas became the first person to contract the virus in the United States, said Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But if one health-care worker was infected, “it is possible other people could have been infected as well,” Frieden said during a briefing with reporters on Monday.
The Associated Press covers a confession:
CDC acknowledges it could have done more on Ebola
he nation’s top disease-fighting agency acknowledged Tuesday that federal health experts failed to do all they should have done to prevent Ebola from spreading from a Liberian man who died last week in Texas to the nurse who treated him.
The stark admission from the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came as the World Health Organization projected the pace of infections accelerating in West Africa — to as many as 10,000 new cases a week within two months.
Agency Director Tom Frieden outlined a series of steps designed to stop the spread of the disease in the U.S., including increased training for health care workers and changes at the Texas hospital where the virus was diagnosed to minimize the risk of more infections.
While the Los Angeles Times covers serious allegations:
Dallas nurses describe Ebola hospital care: ‘There was no protocol’
A Liberian man who arrived by ambulance at a Dallas hospital with symptoms of Ebola sat for “several hours” in a room with other patients before being put in isolation, and the nurses who treated him wore flimsy gowns and had little protective gear, nurses alleged Tuesday as they fought back against suggestions that one of their own had erred in handling him.
The statements came as Nina Pham, a 26-year-old nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, fought off the Ebola virus after contracting it from the Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan. The statements by the Dallas hospital nurses were read by representatives of the Oakland-based group National Nurses United.
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, said the nonunionized Texas nurses could not identify themselves, speak to the media independently or even read their statements over the phone because they feared losing their jobs. In a conference call, questions from the media were relayed to the unknown number of nurses by National Nurses United representatives, and the responses were read back to reporters.
While here in the San Francisco Bay area, hospitals are getting ready, reports the Contra Costa Times:
East Bay hospitals brace against Ebola
East Bay hospitals are prepared to screen, diagnose, isolate, and if necessary, treat and stop the threat of Ebola, according to U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell.
“They are ready,” he said. “They know what to look for … and I’m confident that if someone does present Ebola-like symptoms, they will be immediately isolated and treated so we can stop the spread.”
Swalwell, D-Dublin, held a conference call Tuesday with about 20 East Bay health care leaders at San Ramon Regional Medical Center, allowing them the opportunity to query Dr. John Brooks, the medical task force lead for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emergency Ebola Response, on the latest on the outbreak and how to protect against it.
“Hospitals are understandably concerned,” Swalwell said, adding that the spread of the virus has become a humanitarian crisis in West Africa where 4,000 people have died of Ebola and there are 8,000 cases. “I can’t think of a recent illness in the United States that is so deadly that could be spread by direct bodily fluid and have such a high fatality rate in such a short amount of time.”
And from United Press International, an apology from a talking head:
NBC’s Nancy Snyderman apologizes for violating Ebola quarantine
Nancy Snyderman issued an apology after she was caught leaving her house, despite being under quarantine after a member of her crew contracted Ebola in West Africa
A group of NBC journalists, including NBC’s chief medical editor Nancy Snyderman, are now under mandatory quarantine after they were spotted out in public last week, violating a voluntary quarantine after one of their crew contracted Ebola on a trip to Africa.
Dr. Snyderman issued an apology Monday, acknowledging that they had indeed left confinement against advice, but assured the public that they were not showing signs of the disease.
“While under voluntary quarantine guidelines, which called for our team to avoid public contact for 21 days, members of our group violated those guidelines and understand that our quarantine is now mandatory until 21 days have passed,” Snyderman said in a statement.
While Vocativ covers an act that mandates an apology:
College Allegedly Rejects Nigerian Student Because of Ebola Fears
- The Texas school might have turned down the young man, even though he lives in a country that has been Ebola-free for more than a month
The latest outbreak of Ebola hysteria in the U.S. comes from a community college in central Texas called Navarro College. The school recently turned down an application from a student in Nigeria, writing that it’s not accepting international students “from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.” Idris Ayodeji Bello, a Nigerian who currently lives in east Texas, learned about the rejection letter from a friend in Nigeria, Dr. Kamorudeen Abidogun, who also happens to be the student’s brother-in-law. Bello posted the document on his website and to Twitter, and it looks to be signed by Navarro College Director of International Programs Elizabeth A. Pillans.
Abidogun tells Vocativ that the rejected Nigerian student hopes to major in computer science, and he “was motivated by the high standard of U.S. colleges and universities” to apply to Navarro College. The young man has written an email to Navarro expressing his disappointment with the rejection letter, Abidogun says, but he hasn’t yet received a response. It doesn’t make much sense for an American college to reject Nigerian students because of Ebola fears. Though Nigeria has had 20 confirmed Ebola cases, the country’s efforts to quash the disease have been largely successful—and could serve as a model for other West African nations.
The New York Times covers a death in Germany:
Ebola Patient Dies in German Hospital
A 56-year-old man who had been working with the United Nations in Liberia died overnight at the hospital in Leipzig where he was being treated for Ebola, the hospital said Tuesday in a statement quoted by the German news media.
The brief statement gave no further details. The man was the third patient to arrive in Germany in recent weeks for treatment of Ebola, and the first to die.
The first patient, a Senegalese man who worked for the World Health Organization, was treated in Hamburg from late August until Oct. 3, when he was released. He has since returned home. The second patient, a Ugandan doctor who was working in West Africa for an Italian aid organization, continues to receive treatment at a hospital in Frankfurt.
A video report from Deutsche Welle:
Ebola patient dies in Germany
A Sudanese UN medical worker has succumbed to Ebola in a Leipzig clinic after receiving intensive medical care.
On to Spain with El País:
Number of patients being monitored for Ebola symptoms rises to 100
- As well as 15 high-risk contacts, a further 83 are under “active vigilance”
The number of people currently under observation after having come into contact with Spanish Ebola patient Teresa Romero has risen to 100. All of these people interacted with the nursing assistant during the six days that she was presenting symptoms of the virus, which is when contagion can occur.
As well as the 15 people currently admitted to the Carlos III Hospital in Madrid, considered “high-risk contacts,” there are a further 83 that are being monitored, EL PAÍS has determined. The last official figure supplied was 52.
These 83 people are in their homes for now, and are subject to what the experts call “active vigilance” – i.e., they are being called by Madrid regional public health personnel twice a day to ensure that they are taking their temperature and to find out the results. This kind of passive observation is the same process used with people at risk, as was the case of Romero, who became infected with Ebola while treating two Spanish missionaries with the virus who had been repatriated from West Africa.
And an apology, also from El País:
Madrid health chief apologizes to nursing assistant with Ebola
- Javier Rodríguez admits comments were “unfortunate,” but stops short of resigning
Madrid’s regional health chief has issued a public apology to Teresa Romero, the nursing assistant who contracted Ebola after treating two infected Spanish missionaries, after accusing her of concealing information from medics and of being clumsy with her protective suit.
In a letter to Romero’s husband, who had called for his resignation, Javier Rodríguez admits that his public statements last Thursday were “unfortunate” and that he never meant to offend the patient, who remains in a serious but stable condition in Madrid’s Carlos III Hospital.
“I know these are very tough moments for you and your family, and I understand that my words may have caused even more pain,” writes Rodríguez in a letter that was published by news agency EFE. “I in no way meant to add to the pain that you are going through.”
An Ebola scare in Canada from CBC News:
Ebola test result awaited by member of Canadian Forces aid mission
- ‘Extremely unlikely’ aircrew member will test positive for Ebola, doctor says
A man quarantined in a Belleville, Ont., hospital while awaiting Ebola test results is a member of the Canadian Forces aircrew who dropped off supplies to combat the disease in Sierra Leone, CBC News has learned.
The patient is currently in isolation and samples have been sent to the National Microbiology lab in Winnipeg. Results should be ready late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning.
The patient arrived at the Belleville General Hospital emergency room early Monday. He had recently returned from West Africa and showed some symptoms common with the Ebola virus.
From the London Telegraph, the military angle:
More troops tackling Ebola than battling Isil or the Taliban
- The military campaign to help defeat Ebola becomes the Armed Forces’ biggest overseas deployment
Britain will soon have more troops tackling Ebola than battling Isil or the Taliban, as the military campaign to help defeat the deadly disease outbreak becomes the Armed Forces’ biggest overseas deployment.
Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, said the UK had to act to help stop the spread of the disease, or it would tear through West Africa, then into Europe and the UK.
By the end of November around 750 British troops will be in Sierra Leone helping to set up medical centres and train staff to tackle the outbreak which has killed more than 4,000.
He said by then it would be the UK’s “biggest deployment overseas” as it pulls back from its 13-year war in Afghanistan.
After the jump, preparations in Japan, capitalizing on crisis, vaccines promised and researched, a hefty Zuckberg donation, an atomic helping hand, a UN official’s prescription, a British hospital ship heading to Sierra Leone, an expanding Ebola text-message system, Ebola outbreaks in Nigeria and Senegal over, on to Sierra Leone and scare resources, then on to Liberia and one county’s tripling of cases, division over a desperate measure in desperate times, a ministerial quarantine, the perils of care, a hospital reopens, a warning over burials, high-level visits to Monrovia, Cote d’Ivoire quarantines arrivals from Liberia, and to close on a note of absurdity, two stories about shouting Ebola on crowd bus. . . Continue reading