If A Few Ebola Cases Can Make The Stock Market Crash This Much, What Would A Full-Blown Pandemic Mean?

Stock Market Crash Ebola - Public DomainIs Ebola going to cause another of the massive October stock market crashes that Wall Street is famous for?  At one point on Wednesday, the Dow was down a staggering 460 points.  It ultimately closed down just 173 points, but this was the fifth day in a row that the Dow has declined.  And of course Ebola is one of the primary things that is being blamed for this stunning stock market drop.  Since September 19th, we have seen the S&P 500 fall about 7 percent and the Nasdaq fall nearly 10 percent.  The VIX (the most important measure of volatility on Wall Street) shot up an astounding 22 percent on Wednesday.  So many of the ominous signs for the markets that I wrote about on Tuesday are now even worse.  If a handful of Ebola cases in the United States can cause this much panic in the financial world, what would a full-blown pandemic look like?

Of course Ebola is not the only reason why stocks are declining.  Just look at what is happening over in Europe.  The European Stoxx 600 index is already down a whopping 11.4 percent from the high that it hit just 18 days ago.  That is officially considered to be “correction” territory.

And Greece experienced a full-blown stock market collapse on Wednesday

As if the world didn’t have enough to be worried about (ISIS, Ebola, slowing China, Ukraine, slowing Germany, Fed tightening, etc.) now look what’s back: Greece. And in a big way.

The stock market is down over 9% on Wednesday, which is about as big as crashes come.

And the banks are getting absolutely smashed.

In general, markets tend to fall faster than they rise.

When there is a sudden downturn, the price action can be violent.  And just like we saw back in 2008, financial stocks are leading the way.  Just check out what happened to some of the biggest banks in America before the final bell sounded…

Volume leader Bank of America, down 5%, Citigroup, off 5.5%, and JP Morgan, down 4.6%, were particularly hard hit.

And thanks to Ebola fears, airline stocks plummeted as well

Airline stocks were roiled by the prospects of curtailed travel due to the spreading Ebola virus. United Continental fell 4% and American Airlines was off 4.3%. Among tech stocks, Intel lost 3.3%. Apple fell 1.7% and Microsoft slipped 2.3%.

An increasing number of voices are concerned that we could be on the verge of a repeat of what happened back in 2008.

For example, Professor Steve Keen, the head of Economics, History & Politics at Kingston University in London, wrote the following in a piece for CNN entitled “Brace yourself for another financial crash“…

My acceleration indicator has been flagging that the stock market was due for a fall since mid-2013.

It’s a tribute to the power of the Fed’s Quantitative Easing that the market continued to defy the gravity of decelerating debt for so long. QE was really a program to inflate asset prices since, as my colleague Michael Hudson puts it, “the Fed’s helicopter money fell on Wall Street, not Main Street”.

But with QE being unwound, the stock market is now back under the control of the not so tender mercies of excessive private debt.

So welcome to the New Crisis — same as the Old Crisis. The roller coaster ride is likely to continue.

Others are even more pessimistic.  For example, just check out what Daniel Ameduri of Future Money Trends recently told his readers

“If it drops below 15,000 points I would suggest people start buying food and ammo, because this depression is about to turn nasty.”

However, keep in mind that not that much has really changed from a month or two ago.

Yes, we now have had three confirmed cases of Ebola in the United States, but this could be just the beginning.

At first, the fear of Ebola will be worse than the disease.

But if a worst-case scenario does develop in the United States where hundreds of thousands of people are getting the virus, the fear such a pandemic will create will be off the charts.

In the midst of a full-blown Ebola pandemic, we wouldn’t just be talking about a 10 percent, 20 percent or 30 percent stock market decline.

Rather, we would be talking about the greatest stock market collapse in the history of stock market collapses.  In essence, there would not be much of a market at all at that point.

And if Ebola does start spreading wildly in this country, we would have a credit crunch that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

During times of extraordinary fear, financial institutions do not want to lend money to each other or to consumers.  But our economy is entirely based on debt.  If credit were to stop flowing, we would essentially not have an economy.

That is why we need to pray that this Ebola crisis stops here.  But thanks to the incompetence of Barack Obama and the CDC, there has been a series of very grave errors in trying to contain this disease.  This display of incompetence would be absolutely hilarious if we weren’t talking about a disease that could potentially kill millions of us.

Let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.  That means stocking up on the food and supplies that you will need to stay isolated for an extended period of time.  As we have seen so many times in the past, basic essentials fly off of store shelves during any type of an emergency.  During an extended Ebola pandemic, those essentials would be in very short supply and prices on the basics would absolutely skyrocket.  Those that have taken the time to get prepared now will be way ahead of the game.

And if there were dozens or hundreds of people in your community that were contagious, you would definitely not want to go to a grocery store or anywhere else where large numbers of people circulate.

The key during any major pandemic is to keep yourself and your family isolated from the virus.  This is basic common sense, but it is something that Barack Obama does not seem to understand.  As I write this, he still has not done anything to restrict air travel between the United States and West Africa.  Hopefully this very foolish decision will not result in scores of dead Americans.

The Pure Hell At The Heart Of The Ebola Pandemic In Africa Could Soon Be Coming To America

Ebola Cases And Deaths - Photo by Leopoldo Martin RDid you know that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone is approximately doubling every 20 days?  People are dropping dead in the streets, large numbers of bodies are being dumped into the rivers, and gravediggers can hardly keep up with the the number of corpses that are being delivered to the cemeteries.  As you read this, life is pure hell in many areas of West Africa, and now the CDC is warning that things may get far, far worse in the very near future.  According to the CDC, the number of Ebola cases could potentially soar to 1.4 million by the end of January.  Of course the CDC says that this is a “worst-case scenario”, but for our health officials to even suggest that such a huge number is possible is quite chilling.  We are now being told that the fatality rate for this Ebola outbreak has risen to 71 percent, and so most of the “cases” will eventually turn into deaths.  If we do eventually see 1.4 million cases of Ebola in West Africa, it is incredibly naive to think that it will not spread to other parts of the globe as well.

The World Health Organization has been trying to document the number of cases and deaths that are happening, but at this point even the WHO admits that the official statistics “vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.

And for the first time, health officials are conceding that this crisis may never have an end point.  A study that was published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says that Ebola could potentially become endemic to West Africa.  In other words, it could become a disease that is continually spread and that we have to deal with on a regular basis like malaria or the flu.

Hopefully this outbreak will be brought under control shortly.  But at the moment there are no signs that this is happening.  In fact, hundreds of health workers have contracted the disease themselves.  And if current trends continue, the CDC warns that we could see up to 1.4 million cases of Ebola by the end of January

Researchers say the total number of cases is vastly underreported by a factor of 2.5 in Sierra Leone and Liberia, two of the three hardest-hit countries. Using this correction factor, researchers estimate that approximately 21,000 total cases will have occurred in Liberia and Sierra Leone by Sept. 30. Reported cases in those two countries are doubling approximately every 20 days, researchers said.

“Extrapolating trends to January 20, 2015, without additional interventions or changes in community behavior,” such as much-improved safe burial practices, the researchers estimate that the number of Ebola cases in Liberia and Sierra Leone could be between approximately 550,000 to 1.4 million.

Over the past several weeks, there have been numerous reports of dead bodies lying in the streets of major cities over in West Africa.

And now even the WHO is admitting that many Ebola corpses have been dumped into nearby rivers…

“The true number of deaths will likely never be known, as bodies in the notoriously poor, filthy and overcrowded West Point slum, in the capital, Monrovia, have simply been thrown into the two nearby rivers,” WHO said in a separate statement.

No wonder Ebola is spreading so rapidly.

So far authorities have been able to keep this crisis mostly contained to just a few countries.

But what happens when we have over a million people running around with Ebola?

How in the world do we keep that contained?

There are some in the scientific community that are expressing skepticism that we will be able to…

That sort of exponential increase in cases makes it more likely that Ebola will become entrenched in West Africa, said Robert Murphy, a professor of medicine and biomedical engineering at Northwestern University.

If there are hundreds of thousands of Ebola cases, then “many more countries will have cases, and it won’t be just West Africa,” Murphy said. “There is so much mobility now, this can spread anywhere.”

If Ebola continues to spread like wildfire throughout West Africa, it is probably just a matter of time before it starts popping up in major cities in other areas of the globe.

If this were to happen in the United States, life would change for all of us almost overnight.

It is hard to put into words that kind of chaos that we are witnessing over in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone right now.  Panic and fear are everywhere, and the corpses just keep piling up.  The following is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article

The Ebola epidemic is spreading rapidly in Sierra Leone’s densely packed capital – and it may already be far worse than the authorities acknowledge.

Various models of the growth of the epidemic here “all show an exponential increase,” said Peter H. Kilmarx, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team in Sierra Leone. “The conditions are amenable to Ebola spread.”

“Since last month, it’s every day, any minute and hour, and often, they are coming” to bury the Ebola dead, said Desmond Kamara, a police officer.

A cloudy stream drains from the area of the new graves into the slum, further frightening the residents.

“We are at risk, big risk,” said Ousman Kamara, a resident. “We have made many complaints.”

But the bodies, he said, keep coming.

“Even at night,” he said. “You stand here, and you see them coming.”

Could you imagine something like that happening in America?

At this stage of the crisis in West Africa, all existing treatment facilities are absolutely overwhelmed.

Because there are no more beds, large numbers of people with Ebola are being turned away.  Many end up dying just outside of the walls of some of these clinics

A new Ebola clinic opened in Monrovia this week, but bodies lay on the ground outside its walls. Ambulances filled with Ebola patients, some that have traveled seven hours to get there, are not unloaded. Without help to get them inside, the patients fall in the dirt, mere feet away from treatment.

If things are this bad already when we only have thousands of cases, what are things going to look like when we have more than a million cases?

A representative for Samaritan’s Purse admitted the other day that “it’s too late. Nobody’s going to build 100,000 beds.

And it can be absolutely heartbreaking for health workers to turn away people that are dying.

The following is firsthand testimony from a health worker that is on the front lines of this crisis that is actually having to do this…

The first person I had to turn away was a father who had brought his sick daughter in the trunk of his car. He pleaded with me to take his teenage daughter, saying that whilst he knew we couldn’t save her life, at least we could save the rest of his family from her.

Other families just pulled up in cars, let the sick person out and then drove off, abandoning them. One mother tried to leave her baby on a chair, hoping that if she did, we would have no choice but to care for the child.

I had to turn away one couple who arrived with their young daughter. Two hours later the girl died in front of our gate, where she remained until the body removal team took her away.

Those that are working on burial teams often see things that are even worse.  Just consider the following example

Dressed from head to toe in white protective suits and thick goggles, the burial teams try to stay safe, but nothing can shield them from the unspeakable horrors they’ve seen when they make their regular rounds. On Friday, Kiyee described what he saw when he entered a home:

“I took the key and opened the door and went in and saw a 6-month-old child licking on the mother’s skin,” said Kiyee. The mother was lying on her stomach. She had died from Ebola. The baby was searching for the mother’s milk. “Right away I started shedding tears.”

This is the kind of pure hell that we could see in the United States if Ebola starts spreading here.

Just because we have a more advanced medical system and better living conditions does not mean that we will be able to stop the spread of this virus.

In fact, some medical professionals are already warning that we are not prepared for an Ebola pandemic.

If cases of Ebola do start appearing in major cities throughout America, you will want to be prepared to stay at home as much as possible.  There will not be any magic pill that you can pop that will “cure” you of this disease.  It is a brutally efficient killer that does not show any mercy.

So let us hope that global health officials know what they are doing and that this pandemic will be brought under control soon.

But it would also be foolish not to prepare for the worst.

Computer Models Tell Us That This Ebola Pandemic Could Soon Kill Millions

Ebola Is Coming - Public DomainWe could potentially be on the verge of the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.  The number of Ebola cases in Africa has approximately doubled over the past three weeks, and scientific computer models tell us that this Ebola pandemic could ultimately end up killing millions of us – especially if it starts spreading on other continents.  At first, many assumed that this Ebola outbreak would be just like all the others – that it would flare up for a little while and then it would completely fade away.  But that has not happened this time.  Instead, this epidemic has seemed to pick up momentum with each passing week.  Despite extraordinary precautions, hundreds of health workers have gotten the virus, and the head of the CDC says that the spread of Ebola is “spiraling out of control” and that it is “going to get worse in the very near future.”  For those that have thought that all of this talk about Ebola was just “fearmongering”, it is time for you to wake up.

Right now, the World Health Organization says that we could see the total number of Ebola cases reach 20,000 nine months from now.  But computer models created for the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Defense are projecting that Ebola could soon be growing at a rate of 20,000 cases per month

The Ebola epidemic affecting West Africa is predicted to last a further 12 to 18 months, according to U.S. scientists.

Epidemiologists have been creating computer models of the Ebola epidemic for the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department.

The model they have created is a far less optimistic estimate than that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which last month said it hoped to contain the outbreak within nine months and 20,000 total cases.

The New York Times reports that various researchers have said the virus could grow at a rate that could be closer to 20,000 per month.

The WHO is sticking to its estimates, a spokesman said Friday.

Other scientists are even more pessimistic.

For example, a model created jointly by a researcher at the University of Tokyo and a researcher at Arizona State University has produced a “worst-case scenario” of 277,124 Ebola cases by the end of this year

The Eurosurveillance paper, by two researchers from the University of Tokyo and Arizona State University, attempts to derive what the reproductive rate has been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. (Note for actual epidemiology geeks: The calculation is for the effective reproductive number, pegged to a point in time, hence actually Rt.) They come up with an R of at least 1, and in some cases 2; that is, at certain points, sick persons have caused disease in two others.

You can see how that could quickly get out of hand, and in fact, that is what the researchers predict. Here is their stop-you-in-your-tracks assessment:

In a worst-case hypothetical scenario, should the outbreak continue with recent trends, the case burden could gain an additional 77,181 to 277,124 cases by the end of 2014.

That is a jaw-dropping number.

If we do see an explosion like that, how many millions of cases will we see by the time 2015 is through?

A different model has produced an even more jaw-dropping number.

An “econometric simulation model” created by Francis Smart at Michigan State University is predicting that a whopping 1.2 million people will die from Ebola in the next six months

An econometric simulation model based on the assumption the World Health Organization and others will be unable to control the Ebola outbreak in West Africa predicts 1.2 million people will die from the disease in the next six months.

Six months is the minimum time the WHO projects will be necessary to contain the epidemic.

In his analysis, econometrics research assistant Francis Smart at Michigan State University took seriously the conclusions of Canadian researchers who proved the strain of Ebola in the current West African epidemic could go airborne.

The Ebola virus could be transmitted between humans through breathing, Smart says.

In developing the model, Smart began with WHO’s Aug. 28 statement that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could afflict more than 20,000 people before it is brought under control.

That has got to be the worst possible number, right?

Wrong.

The other day a prominent German virologist came forward and declared that “it is too late” to stop Ebola and that five million people will die in Sierra Leone and Liberia alone…

A top German virologist has caused shockwaves by asserting that it’s too late to halt the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and Liberia and that five million people will die, noting that efforts should now be focused on stopping the transmission of the virus to other countries.

Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told Germany’s Deutsche Welle that hope is all but lost for the inhabitants of Sierra Leone and Liberia and that the virus will only “burn itself out” when it has infected the entire population and killed five million people.

“The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” said Schmidt-Chanasit. “That time was May and June. “Now it is too late.”

So which of the numbers discussed above are accurate?

Only time will tell.

Meanwhile, the U.S. federal government is feverishly preparing for the worst.

This week we learned that Barack Obama is going to ask Congress for 88 million dollars for the purpose of conducting “a major Ebola offensive” in Africa.

Granted, Obama will ask Congress for money at the drop of a hat these days.  He wants 500 million dollars to arm the allies of ISIS and his reckless spending has been one of the primary factors why the U.S. national debt has risen by more than a trillion dollars over the past 12 months.

But it is still noteworthy.

Even more noteworthy is the fact that the U.S. State Department has just ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits

The U.S. State Department has ordered 160,000 Hazmat suits for Ebola, prompting concerns that the federal government is anticipating the rapid spread of a virus that has already claimed an unprecedented number of lives.

In a press release posted by Market Watch, Lakeland Industries, a manufacturer of industrial protective clothing for first responders, announced that it had signaled its intention “to join the fight against the spread of Ebola” by encouraging other suppliers to meet the huge demand created by the U.S. State Department’s order of 160,000 hazmat suits.

“With the U.S. State Department alone putting out a bid for 160,000 suits, we encourage all protective apparel companies to increase their manufacturing capacity for sealed seam garments so that our industry can do its part in addressing this threat to global health,” states the press release.

The huge bulk order of hazmat suits for Ebola has stoked concerns that the U.S. government expects the virus to continue to ravage countries in west Africa and may also be concerned about an outbreak inside the United States.

You don’t order that many Hazmat suits unless you are anticipating an outbreak of apocalyptic proportions.

And the CDC has just issued a six page Ebola checklist to hospitals to help them spot potential Ebola patients in America…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning hospitals and doctors that “now is the time to prepare,” has issued a six-page Ebola “checklist” to help healthcare workers quickly determine if patients are infected.

While the CDC does not believe that there are new cases of Ebola in the United States, the assumption in the checklist is that it is only a matter of time before the virus hits home.

Let us hope and pray that these precautions do not become necessary.

Because if Ebola starts spreading like wildfire in this country, we are going to see pain and suffering beyond anything that most of us have ever imagined.

Just consider what a health worker on the front lines is seeing on a day to day basis…

I wake up each morning – if I have managed to sleep – wondering if this is really happening, or if it is a horror movie. In decades of humanitarian work I have never witnessed such relentless suffering of fellow human beings or felt so completely paralysed and utterly overwhelmed at our inability to provide anything but the most basic, and sometimes less than adequate, care.

I am supervising the suspect tent, which has room for 25 patients who are likely to have Ebola – 80-90% of those we test have the virus. We administer treatment for malaria, start patients on antibiotics, paracetamol, multivitamins, rehydration supplements, food, water and juice while they wait for their results. Sometimes people have arrived too late and die shortly after arriving.

In one afternoon last week I watched five seemingly fit, healthy, young men die. I gave the first a bottle of oral rehydration solution and came back with another for the second. In the half a minute or so in which I had been away the first man died, his bottle of water spilt across the floor. The four others followed in quick succession.

Ebola is truly a terrible, terrible disease.

The moment that cases start popping up in the United States, all of our lives will instantly change.

I hope that you are getting prepared for that.

16 Apocalyptic Quotes From Global Health Officials About This Horrific Ebola Epidemic

Gustave Doré - Death on the Pale HorseEbola continues to spread an an exponential rate.  According to the World Health Organization, 40 percent of all Ebola cases have happened in just the last three weeks.  At this point, the official numbers tell us that approximately 3,500 people have gotten the virus in Africa and more than 1,900 people have died.  That is quite alarming, but the real problem will arise if this disease continues to spread at an exponential pace.  One team of researchers has used computer modeling to project that the number of Ebola cases will reach 10,000 by September 24th if current trends continue.  And if the spread of Ebola does not slow down, we could be dealing with 100,000 cases by December.  Even the WHO is admitting that the number of cases is likely to grow to 20,000 before too much longer, and global health officials are now starting to use apocalyptic language to describe this outbreak.

For people in the western world that have never seen anything like this other than in the movies, it can be difficult to grasp just how horrible this epidemic truly is.  In the areas of west Africa where Ebola is spreading, fear and panic are everywhere, food shortages are becoming a serious problem and there have been reports of dead bodies rotting in the streets.  People are avoiding hospitals and clinics because of paranoia about the fact that so many health workers have contracted the disease.  According to the World Health Organization, more than 240 health workers have gotten the virus so far and more than 120 of them have perished.

We have never seen anything like this in any of our lifetimes, and the scary part is that this might only be just the beginning.

The following are 16 apocalyptic quotes from global health officials about this horrific Ebola epidemic…

#1 Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “It is the world’s first Ebola epidemic, and it’s spiraling out of control. It’s bad now, and it’s going to get worse in the very near future. There is still a window of opportunity to tamp it down, but that window is closing. We really have to act now.”

#2 Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders: “Riots are breaking out. Isolation centres are overwhelmed. Health workers on the frontline are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers.”

#3 David Nabarro, senior United Nations system coordinator for Ebola disease: “This outbreak is moving ahead of efforts to control it.”

#4 Dr. Bruce Aylward, WHO’s assistant director-general for emergency operations: “This far outstrips any historic Ebola outbreak in numbers. The largest outbreak in the past was about 400 cases.”

#5 Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization: “…we hope to stop the transmission in six to nine months”.

#6 Dr. Daniel Bausch, associate professor in the department of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University: “You have a very dangerous virus in three of the countries in the world that are least equipped to deal with it. The scale of this outbreak has just outstripped the resources. That’s why it’s become so big.”

#7 Gayle Smith, senior director at the National Security Council: “This is not an African disease. This is a virus that is a threat to all humanity.”

#8 Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “The level of outbreak is beyond anything we’ve seen—or even imagined.”

#9 Vincent Martin, head of an FAO unit in Dakar:  “This is different than every other Ebola situation we’ve ever had. It’s spreading widely, throughout entire countries, through multiple countries, in cities and very fast.”

#10 Dr. Richard Besser, health and medical editor for ABC News: “Emergency rooms are closed, many hospital wards are as well leaving people who are sick with heart disease, trauma, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, malaria and all the everyday health emergencies with nowhere to go.”

#11 Bukar Tijani, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization regional representative for Africa: “Access to food has become a pressing concern for many people in the three affected countries and their neighbours.”

#12 Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security: “People are hungry in these communities. They don’t know how they are going to get food.”

#13 Dr. Daniel Bausch, associate professor in the department of Tropical Medicine at Tulane University: “This is for sure the worst situation I’ve ever seen.”

#14 Dr. Tom Frieden, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “I could not possibly overstate the need for an urgent response.”

#15 Official WHO statement: “Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

#16 Dr. Joanne Liu, the international president of Doctors Without Borders: “It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets.”

Despite all of these warnings, a lot of people in the western world are not too concerned about this epidemic because they have faith that our advanced technology will prevent a widespread Ebola outbreak in the United States and Europe.

But I wouldn’t be so certain about that.

So far, the most promising experimental Ebola drug seems to be ZMapp.  In clinical trials, it has been doing very well on monkeys.

However, it hasn’t turned out to be a silver bullet for humans so far.  Two out of the seven people that have received ZMapp have died, and as CBS News recently explained, current supplies are exhausted and it takes a really long time to make more of this stuff…

ZMapp’s maker, Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc., of San Diego, has said the small supply of the drug is now exhausted and that it will take several months to make more. The drug is grown in tobacco plants and was developed with U.S. government support.

Kobinger said it takes about a month to make 20 to 40 doses at a Kentucky plant where the drug is being produced. Officials have said they are looking at other facilities and other ways to ramp up production, and Kobinger said there were plans for a clinical trial to test ZMapp in people early next year.

The cold, hard truth is that Ebola is a brutally efficient killer for which we do not have a cure at the moment.

And what makes things even more complicated is that a different strain of Ebola is now spreading in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  A treatment that works for one strain of Ebola may not work on another strain.

So let us hope and pray that Ebola does not reach the United States.

If it does, it could potentially spread like wildfire.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!