Always Africa, though news from the continent is slow today.
First from the London Daily Mail, which gets it about right:
Ebola hysteria sweeps US schools: Teacher who visited Dallas told not to come to work as hundreds of Mississippi parents pull kids school because principal visited Zambia… 3,000 miles from countries hit by the disease
- Maine elementary teacher stayed 9.5 miles from Ebola hospital in Texas
- She has been ordered into isolation for 21 days amid ‘parents’ concerns’
- In Mississippi, hundreds of parents pulled kids from middle school after principal visited Zambia – a country 3,000 miles from Ebola-hit nations
- Parents at nearby high school also removed children to ‘avoid risk’
CNN reports on the growing American Ebolaphobia:
U.S. public ‘very worried’ about Ebola
The fear of Ebola is fraying nerves and ringing false alarms across the country. Ted Rowlands reports.
From AllAfrica, the silver lining in the Ebolaphobia cloud:
How Ebola Could Save Thousands of U.S. Lives
If media coverage of the three Ebola cases in the United States – some of it calling attention to the far greater danger of influenza – causes more people to ask their doctors about a flu shot, Ebola could end up saving many lives
Have you had your flu shot this year?
The highly contagious respiratory infection is linked to as many as 50,000 annual deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An estimated 20,000 children under five are hospitalized.
If media coverage of the three Ebola cases in the United States – some of it calling attention to the far greater danger of influenza – causes more people to ask their doctors about a flu shot, Ebola could end up saving many lives. Strong statements by Fox news anchor Scott Shepherd and New York Times columnist Frank Bruni (Scarier Than Ebola) are examples of what could prove to be life-saving reporting.
The Pentagon gets busy, via the Los Angeles Times:
Pentagon announces Ebola rapid-response team for U.S. cases of virus
The Pentagon announced Sunday it is putting together a 30-person rapid-response team that could provide quick medical support to civilian healthcare workers if additional cases of the Ebola virus are diagnosed in the United States.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered U.S. Northern Command Commander Gen. Chuck Jacoby to assemble the team, which was requested by the Department of Health and Human Services, said Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby.
The team will consist of 20 critical-care nurses, five doctors trained in infectious disease, and five trainers in infectious-disease protocols.
CBC News covers measures to the north:
Canada’s Ebola response gets fresh test in Nova Scotia
- One of 5 rapid response teams ready to aid local health authorities
Nova Scotia has been chosen for a second test of Canada’s response to Ebola.
On Sunday, a team from the federal Public Health Agency arrived to brief health-care providers on the techniques they will be reportedly practising on Monday should a confirmed case of Ebola arrive in Canada.
“Drills, dry runs, and practising are important to ensuring that our teams are able to respond without hesitation in the event of a case of Ebola,” Health Minister Rona Ambrose said in a news release.
The agency says if a case of Ebola is ever confirmed in Canada, one of the five Ebola rapid response teams would work with local health authorities to prevent its spread.
Each team comprises a field epidemiologist, an infection control expert, a bio-safety expert, a laboratory expert, a communications expert and a logistics expert. Aircraft are stationed in Winnipeg and Ottawa.
And a video report from the Public Health Agency of Canada:
PHAC Rapid Response Team
Ebola Rapid Response Team practices deploying to a simulated case of Ebola
From The Hill, czarist politics:
Praise, criticism for Obama’s Ebola czar pick
President Obama’s selection to lead the administration’s Ebola response drew both praise and criticism from guests on the Sunday morning political shows.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, pushed back at GOP opposition to Obama’s new czar, Ron Klain, calling him an “excellent manager.”
Klain, a former chief of staff to Vice President Al Gore and later Vice President Joe Biden, will take the reins of the administration’s Ebola strategy next week. He was named to the position on Friday.
When asked if a healthcare professional would be a better choice, Fauci said “not necessarily.”
From the Washington Post, surprise, surprise:
Why Democrats are sounding like Republicans on Ebola and the GOP is moving into overdrive
Democrats are beginning to sound more like Republicans when they talk about Ebola. And Republicans are moving into overdrive with their criticism of the government’s handling of the deadly virus.
The sharpened rhetoric, strategists say, suggests Democrats fear President Obama’s response to Ebola in the United States could become a political liability in the midterm election and Republicans see an opportunity to tie increasing concerns about the disease to the public’s broader worries about Obama’s leadership.
“This is feeding into the Republican narrative that Democrats don’t know how to govern and government is too large,” said Jim Manley, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.). Democrats, Manley said, “are desperate to try to demonstrate that they have tough ideas to respond to the crisis.”
Failure acknowledged, via the Los Angeles Times:
Fauci acknowledges that Ebola guidelines failed to protect caregivers
A top federal health official conceded Sunday that the government-recommended protective gear worn by nurses and doctors caring for patients sickened by Ebola has been inadequate to protect caregivers from infection.
The official, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that medical professionals need gear that would provide complete, head-to-toe coverage, shielding their skin from contact with an Ebola patient’s body or its fluids.
Serving as the Obama administration’s sole spokesman for Ebola on five national television talk shows Sunday, Fauci indicated that new guidelines for “personal-protective’‘ gear were about to be issued by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He acknowledged that two nurses in Dallas may have been infected by their exposure to an Ebola-infected patient that they cared for who ultimately died, Thomas E. Duncan.
The original guidelines, Fauci said, “did have some exposure of skin in the sense you had a mask—but there was some skin that was exposed and some hair that was exposed.’‘ Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,’‘ Fauci added, “we want to make sure that’s no longer the case.’‘
More failure acknowledged, via the New York Times:
C.E.O. of Texas Hospital Group Apologizes for Mistakes in Ebola Cases
The head of the group that runs the Texas hospital under scrutiny for mishandling Ebola cases apologized Sunday in full-page ads in local Dallas newspapers, saying the hospital “made mistakes in handling this very difficult challenge.”
Barclay E. Berdan, chief executive of the Texas Health Resources, which operates a network of 25 hospitals here, said in an open letter that hospital officials were deeply sorry for having misdiagnosed symptoms shown by Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was sent home after his first visit to the emergency room of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, but was later readmitted and then died of the virus two weeks later.
“The fact that Mr. Duncan had traveled to Africa was not communicated effectively among the care team, though it was in his medical chart,” Mr. Berdan wrote. “On that visit to the Emergency Department, we did not correctly diagnose his symptoms as those of Ebola. For this we are deeply sorry.”
And a diagnosis from the Progressive:
Top Doc Says Ebola Shows Skewed Priorities
The Ebola crisis has revealed severe deficiencies in how the American health care system works, experts say.
Dr. Walter Tsou, past president of the American Public Health Association and the former health commissioner for Philadelphia, says that the Ebola crisis shows the skewed priorities of the U.S. health care system.
“Our chronic disease-oriented health care system is ill-equipped to address an acute infectious disease outbreak,” Dr. Tsou, a board adviser to Physicians for a National Health Program, tells The Progressive. “We don’t have enough biocontainment units, sufficiently trained experts on how to control for highly infectious disease agents, trained sanitation crews who can clean up and properly handle waste disposal.”
Tsou says that the Ebola epidemic has uncovered big flaws in the global health system, too.
The Los Angeles Times covers Golden State preparations:
Gov. Brown to meet with nursing groups to discuss Ebola preparations
Leaders of two nursing organizations say they plan to meet Tuesday with Gov. Jerry Brown to call on the state to upgrade Ebola training and safety precautions for California health professionals.
The California Nurses Assn. and National Nurses United are asking state regulators to formally adopt what they called “optimal safety standards,” including requirements for Hazmat suits and accelerated hands-on training programs.
“California hospitals have been appallingly slow in moving to enact any effective protocols, much less the highest standards, in response to this virulent Ebola threat that has already infected two nurses in Dallas,” NNU and CNA Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro said in a statement.
And from the New York Times, their ship just came in:
Ebola Watch Lists in U.S. to Shrink, Cruise Passenger Cleared
Some of the dozens of people who are being watched for possible exposure to Ebola in the United States are expected to be cleared on Sunday and Monday, potentially easing concerns about the spread of the disease after two nurses were infected.
A Dallas lab worker who spent much of a Caribbean holiday cruise in isolation tested negative for the deadly virus and left the Carnival Magic liner with other passengers after it docked at Galveston, Texas, early on Sunday morning.
The precautions taken for the cruise passenger reflected widespread anxiety over Ebola in the United States, including calls from some lawmakers for a travel ban on West Africa.
The McClatchy Washington Bureau covers the post-quarantine question:
As 21-day Ebola quarantine ends, what’s to fear?
The first wave of people, including the fiance of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan, will emerge from a state-ordered, 21-day Ebola quarantine Monday, which should probably spark relief in a region that desperately wants to escape the shadow of the epidemic.
But church officials are considering extra security for Louise Troh and her children amid ongoing fears about Ebola across Dallas-Fort Worth _ and throughout the United States.
Experts who study psychology say the release of 48 people from the Ebola watchlist back into society, and the expected onslaught of news coverage about them shopping at local grocery stores and returning to schools, could fuel another wave of irrational fears.
From the London Daily Mail, doubly devastated:
‘They are left with nothing’: Devastated girlfriend of Ebola patient zero Thomas Eric Duncan to be released from quarantine after Hazmat teams destroyed almost all their belongings
- The fiancée of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan will be released from quarantine at midnight tonight – but will emerged with hardly any possession after they were destroyed by hazmat teams.
- Louise Troh, 54, missed her boyfriend’s funeral while she was locked away for the duration of the deadly virus’s 21-day incubation period, which expires tonight.
- During the frantic operation to seal off Duncan’s apartment in Dallas and eliminate all traces of the disease, she also lost the majority of her belongings.
- Only a few personal documents, some photographs, and a single Bible escaped the cleansing operation.
The McClatchy Washington Bureau covers the latest form of prejudice:
In Texas, Liberian Americans weary of Ebola stigma
When Otto Williams opened his mouth last week to say that he’d be happy to work a new job installing home heating and air conditioning units, the contractor listened to Williams’s accent and asked where he was he from.
“Liberia,” said Williams, 42, an HVAC technician. Knowing the concerns some people have about the Ebola virus, he made sure to smile.
But soon, the contractor mentioned he was in a hurry, excused himself and promised to call Williams back. He didn’t.
“It’s gotten to the point where you don’t want to mention you’re Liberian,” Williams said.
More from the Washington Post:
West Africans in Washington say they are being stigmatized because of Ebola fear
Alphonso Toweh was riding a bus when a man sitting next to him politely asked where he was from.
“Liberia,” said Toweh, a writer from Monrovia who is visiting the Washington area, home to the nation’s second-largest population of African immigrants.
“At that point, the man went far from me,” he said. “He did not want to come close to me. People, once they know you are Liberian — people assume you have the virus in your body, which is not the case.”
The Japan Times covers a patient recovered:
Spain: Nursing assistant clear of Ebola virus
An initial test shows that a nursing assistant who became infected with Ebola in Spain is now clear of all traces of the virus nearly two weeks after she was hospitalized, authorities said Sunday.
Teresa Romero, 44, is the first person known to have contracted the disease outside West Africa in the current outbreak when she tested positive for the virus Oct. 6. She has been in quarantine at Carlos III hospital in Madrid since then.
A statement Sunday said a blood test revealed that Romero’s immune system had eliminated the virus from her body. The statement came from the Spanish government committee in charge of the nation’s Ebola crisis. A second test in the coming hours is needed to absolutely confirm Romero’s recovery, said Manuel Cuenca, microbiology director at Madrid’s Carlos III health care complex.
From the Associated Press, another screening program launched:
Belgium’s main airport to begin Ebola screening
Brussels Airport says it will begin screening passengers arriving from Ebola-stricken countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The airport operator says passengers arriving from these three countries will have their temperatures taken starting Monday.
Four flights a week from the area concerned arrive weekly at Brussels Airport. Similar measures were begun Saturday at Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport, where one daily flight arrives from Conakry, Guinea.
And from the Guardian, a renewed push for Aussie medical aid:
Ebola: Labor renews calls for health workers to be sent to west Africa
- Tanya Plibersek says Australia would be in ‘big trouble’ if it waited for virus to spread to Asia Pacific before offering help
Australia would be in “big trouble” if it waited for the Ebola virus to spread to the Asia-Pacific region before acting, the opposition has said, as the government called for bipartisanship on the serious health issue.
The health minister, Peter Dutton, said on Sunday the government continued to talk with other countries about what support could be provided if Australian medical teams were dispatched to west Africa and later needed to be evacuated.
Dutton accused Labor of “playing politics with a very important issue” and indicated that Australia was “ready to rapidly deploy support” if an outbreak occurred in near neighbours such as Papua New Guinea or the Solomon Islands.
Questions from the Associated Press:
Effectiveness of Ebola travel ban questioned
A ban on travel from West Africa might seem like a simple and smart response to the frightening Ebola outbreak there. It’s become a central demand of Republicans on Capitol Hill and some Democrats, and is popular with the public. But health experts are nearly unanimous in saying it’s a bad idea that could backfire.
The experts’ key objection is that a travel ban could prevent needed medical supplies, food and health care workers from reaching Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, the nations where the epidemic is at its worst. Without that aid, the deadly virus might spread to wider areas of Africa, making it even more of a threat to the U.S. and the world, experts say.
In addition, preventing people from the affected countries from traveling to the U.S. could be difficult to enforce and might generate counterproductive results, such as people lying about their travel history or attempting to evade screening.
After the jump, China and Japan mull partnerships with Washington, front line nurses speak out, the problem with bushmeat, the sorrows of surviving, a continent’s image tarnished, Washington’s military point man hails progress, the WHO plans an African meet, Nigeria to get an all-clear, troubling news for a British survivor, defenses bolstered in the Gambia, a troubling sign in Zimbabwe, and the African Union sends help, on to Liberia and a presidential cry for help, a hopeful sign, and survivors mask a plea for help — plus a suggestion we really like. . . Continue reading