I had no real expectation that the present resident in the Spite House would do any better at managing an Ebola crisis than he had done in his botchery of every other challenge presented during his extended taxpayer funded golf tour. I figured that Soetero would screw it up, but I did think that there were some actual adults left over from previous legitimate administrations who would understand the implications of an infectious pathogen with a 90% case fatality rate, an R0 of 2 to 3, and a demonstrated ability for limited airborne transmission. In short, I thought that the Fourth Branch of Government, understanding the lethal threat of an Ebola epidemic to them personally, would be able to redirect the inevitable mis-steps of the present "administration."
Regrettably, I was mistaken.
I'll take a moment to present for your unsettlement a few fun facts about Ebola virus:
- The Ebola virus is an RNA virus, which means it mutates easily.
- The mean infectious bolus is 1 to 10 virions (complete viral packages, including the virus itself and a protein coat.) In other words, it only takes at most 10 viral particles to infect half of the people exposed. 1 might do it.
- One droplet from a sneeze or a cough can contain thousands of virions.
- Sneeze or cough droplets can travel up to 10 meters in still air from the person generating them.
- The virus is still active in droplets over 90 minutes after being expelled from the person shedding the virus. Ebola can survive for days to weeks in the environment, unless exposed to UV or disinfection chemicals.
- 95% of those taken ill with Ebola hemmorhagic fever show symptoms within 21 days of exposure; 98% within 42 days. This would imply that 2% take more than 42 days to show symptoms.
- Only 83% of those infected spike a fever over 101 degrees F.
- Each Ebola case, on average historically , causes two to four more cases. Estimates for R0 for this clade range from 1.8 to 2.6, or around two to three. With the average onset of symptoms and increasing infectiousness starting around a week after infection, the number of people infected doubles every two to four weeks. Data right now seem to show doubling every three weeks, but the data available are known to significantly under-represent the actual case count.
- The case fatality rate ranges from 50% to 90% depending on the infected person's initial immune response, initial bolus, general health level, and level of medical care available.
- Those (un?-) fortunate enough to get sick early in the epidemic, and who receive top-notch care from dozens of skilled nurses and physicians willing to risk their lives to treat them with all the support that can be mustered by modern medicine, have a 50/50 chance of recovery. Someone stuck in Liberia, where there is no treatment, no healthcare workers, no antibiotics or sterile saline, has a 1 in 10 chance to live, or less.
- It is known that Ebola survivors shed virus for an extended period after recovering; semen from a survivor showed virus 61 days after he was released from the hospital.
So, with the above in mind, does anyone doubt that if the present situation in West Africa continues to devolve that we'll see increasing numbers of cases that develop from people who were asymptomatic when they traveled? Does anyone doubt that eventually, if this goes on, that one of these cases will take root in a major metropolitan area, and start to geometrically multiply? If that does not give you cause for concern, it should. (Update- see link here and here)
I can tell you that while there are a few hospitals in these presently united States that are truly ready to cope with one or two isolated Ebola cases, none are ready for that sort of outbreak. Not one. The fact is, that a universal 21 day quarantine of all overseas travelers would prevent 95% of Ebola infected travelers from becoming the source of the great Ebola pandemic of North America.
History shows, over and over again, countless examples of the effectiveness of quarantine in preventing the spread of infectious disease. And those people whose business it is to know such things know the state of our unreadiness and the effectiveness of quarantine, but refuse to accept it, for ideological reasons having nothing to do with the cold, hard facts.
And that scares me even more than Ebola. THAT, O gentle reader is the most deadly disease that exists, the Progressive mental illness that compels those who accept its tenets to deny reality in favor of ideology. After decades of watching the ongoing epidemic of botchery that is government, Progressives still want you to believe that government is the cure, rather than the most deadly plague there is. That mental disease is both Progressive and progressive, and those infected with it are spreading death. This latest Ebola epidemic is simply the most recent symptom of a much worse illness.
The good news is that there is a cure. The philosophy of freedom. Philosophy may not cure Ebola, but it will allow a society and a culture which will eventually conquer not only infectious diseases but all manner of other ills. So, as you make whatever preparations you deem required for a potential Ebola outbreak, think about the Progressive disease that is spawning it.
What are you going to do about that? With regard to all who serve the Light, Historian