The Economic Implications Of A Potential Ebola Pandemic In The United States

Fear Of Ebola - Public DomainFor the moment, our top public health officials are quite adamant that there absolutely will not be a major Ebola outbreak in the United States.  But what if they are wrong?  Or what would happen if terrorists released a form of weaponized Ebola or weaponized smallpox in one of our major cities?  What would such an event do to our economy?  I think that we can get some clues by looking at the economic collapses that are taking place in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone right now.  When an extremely deadly virus like Ebola starts spreading like wildfire, the fear that it creates can be even worse for a society than the disease.  All of a sudden people don’t want to go to work, people don’t want to go to school and people definitely don’t want to go shopping.  There are very few things that can shut down the economy of a nation faster.  Considering the fact that our big banks are being more reckless than ever, we better hope that we don’t see a “black swan event” such as a major Ebola outbreak come along and upset the apple cart.  Because if that does happen, our Ponzi scheme of an economy could implode really quick.

Right now there is just one confirmed case of Ebola in Texas.  If they isolated him before he infected anyone else, we might be okay for the moment.  But already we are being told that there may be “a possible second Ebola patient” in Dallas…

Health officials are closely monitoring a possible second Ebola patient who had close contact with the first person to be diagnosed in the U.S., the director of Dallas County’s health department said Wednesday.

All who have been in close contact with the man officially diagnosed are being monitored as a precaution, Zachary Thompson, director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, said in a morning interview with WFAA-TV, Dallas-Fort Worth.

“Let me be real frank to the Dallas County residents: The fact that we have one confirmed case, there may be another case that is a close associate with this particular patient,” he said. “So this is real. There should be a concern, but it’s contained to the specific family members and close friends at this moment.”

We have learned the name of the man that is confirmed to have Ebola.  His name is Thomas Eric Duncan and when he went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital last Friday, he told them that he was feeling quite ill and that he was from Liberia.  You would have thought that should have set off major alarm bells.  But instead, he got sent back home

The first Ebola patient diagnosed in the U.S. initially went to a Dallas emergency room last week but was sent home, despite telling a nurse that he had been in disease-ravaged West Africa, the hospital acknowledged Wednesday.

The decision by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to release him could have put many others at risk of exposure to the disease before he went back to the ER two days later, after his condition worsened.

Thomas Eric Duncan explained to a nurse Friday that he was visiting the U.S. from Liberia, but that information was not widely shared, said Dr. Mark Lester, who works for the hospital’s parent company.

So a fully contagious Duncan had the opportunity to spread the virus around for another 48 hours before he was finally admitted to the hospital for treatment.

And it wasn’t just adults that he potentially exposed to the disease.  It is being reported that he had “close contact” with five students that attend four different Dallas schools.  Local media is reporting that the names of those schools are Tasby Middle School, Hotchkiss Elementary School, Dan D. Rogers Elementary and Conrad High School.

Predictably, many parents are already pulling their kids out of school in the Dallas area.

It shall be very interesting to see how many kids actually show up for school tomorrow morning.

But this is what happens to a society when the fear of Ebola takes hold.  People almost immediately start shutting down their activities and staying home.

Over in West Africa, months of Ebola fear is starting to take a major toll on the economy.  For example, the president of Guinea says that his economy is on the verge of complete collapse

Guinea has been more successful in containing the Ebola epidemic than its immediate neighbors in West Africa, but the loss of revenue caused by the crisis has left the country in dire financial straits, President Alpha Condé said after concluding a round of meetings at the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Condé said Guinea would need about $100 million until December to cover its budget gap, which will grow if Ebola is not tackled by the end of the year.

“The slowing down of our economies due to Ebola requires that most of our countries get some budgetary support … it’s going to be crucial that we get that support so our economies don’t completely collapse,” he said.

And things are even worse in Liberia.  The Washington Post says that Liberia is descending “into economic hell”…

Liberia, the West African nation hardest it by Ebola, has begun a frightening descent into economic hell.

That’s the import of three recent reports from international organizations that seem to bear out the worst-case scenarios of months ago: that people would abandon the fields and factories, that food and fuel would become scarce and unaffordable, and that the government’s already meager capacity to help, along with the nation’s prospects for a better future, would be severely compromised.

If thousands of people start getting Ebola in major cities all over America, the same thing will happen here too.

A major Ebola pandemic in America would mean an almost total economic shutdown and basic essentials would start disappearing from the marketplace almost immediately.  Just check out what is happening in Liberia even as you read this…

The basic necessities of survival in Liberia — food, transportation, work, money, help from the government — are rapidly being depleted, according to recent reports by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Even though economic demand would drop through the floor for most things, prices for food and other essential supplies tend to skyrocket during a major emergency.  The IMF says that the inflation rate will hit approximately 13 percent in Liberia by the end of the year even though economic activity has declined dramatically.  It is going to become extremely challenging for most families over there to feed themselves.

And as economic activity withers, tax revenues also dry up.  Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are all facing massive revenue shortfalls, and they are asking for international assistance.

But if the same thing happened in the United States, do you think the rest of the world would send us lots of money to help us pay our bills?

I don’t think so.

Needless to say, an Ebola outbreak is not good for financial markets either.  News of the confirmed case of Ebola in Texas helped push down the Dow more than 238 points on Wednesday, and airline stocks in particular declined sharply.

If there are no more confirmed cases of Ebola in Texas, things will probably get back to normal for U.S. markets.

But if Ebola does start spreading and cases start popping up all over the country, that could be just the thing to burst our massive stock market bubble.

Let us hope that this is just a false alarm.

Let us hope that our public health authorities have everything under control.

Nobody should want to see thousands (or potentially millions) of fellow Americans get sick and die.

Unfortunately, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before another major pandemic of some sort ravages this nation.

When that happens, will our fragile economy be able to handle the shock?

Ebola In America: The Confirmed Case In Dallas, Texas Could Change Everything

United States Map On A Globe - Public DomainThe day that many of us hoped would never arrive is here.  Ebola has come to America.  Air travel between the United States and the countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone should have been totally shut down except for absolutely essential personnel but it wasn’t.  And now our nation may end up paying a great price as a result.  On Tuesday, the CDC announced that there is a confirmed case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas.  We know that this individual is a male and that he traveled by air from Liberia to Texas on September 19th.  At that time, he was not exhibiting any symptoms.  It is being reported that he started developing symptoms on September 24th and that he sought out treatment two days later.  Incredibly, he was turned away and sent home.  Then on September 28th he went to a hospital again and this time he was admitted for treatment.  That means that he could have potentially been spreading Ebola to others for at least four full days before finally getting treated at a hospital.  Now he is in intensive care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.  The CDC says that “there is no doubt that we will stop it here” and is promising that “it will not spread widely in this country”.  The CDC better be right on both counts.

At this point, the CDC is admitting that it is not known if others have been infected by this individual.  The CDC also says that it is tracking down everyone that he has been in contact with.  But over four days in a major U.S. city, you can be “in contact” with a whole lot of people.  And what about all of the people that those people were in contact with?

If I was in charge of this crisis, I would admit that we don’t know the full scope of the problem yet but that we are dealing with it the best that we can.

Instead, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is taking an entirely different approach.  Dr. Thomas Frieden insists that we have absolutely nothing to worry about

“I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola, so that it does not spread widely in this country. It is certainly possible that someone who has had contact with this patient could develop Ebola. But there is no doubt in my mind that we will stop it here.”

Frieden better be right about that.

Other “experts” are being even more dogmatic

“There is no cause for concern,” says Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “The Ebola virus is not easily transmitted from person to person, and we have an outstanding infrastructure in place both to contain the virus and trace contacts. There will not be an Ebola epidemic in the United States.”

I have no idea how they can say these things when the outbreak over in Africa is completely and totally out of control.  Despite extreme precautions, hundreds of health workers have gotten the virus, and so far global health officials have not even been able to slow down the exponential growth of the Ebola pandemic in West Africa.

And our health officials should not be so dogmatic about how this virus spreads either.

In a previous article, I discussed a study that was conducted back in 2012 that demonstrated that Ebola could be transmitted through the air between pigs and monkeys that did not have physical contact with one another

When news broke that the Ebola virus had resurfaced in Uganda, investigators in Canada were making headlines of their own with research indicating the deadly virus may spread between species, through the air.

The team, comprised of researchers from the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, the University of Manitoba, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, observed transmission of Ebola from pigs to monkeys. They first inoculated a number of piglets with the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. Ebola-Zaire is the deadliest strain, with mortality rates up to 90 percent. The piglets were then placed in a room with four cynomolgus macaques, a species of monkey commonly used in laboratories. The animals were separated by wire cages to prevent direct contact between the species.

Within a few days, the inoculated piglets showed clinical signs of infection indicative of Ebola infection. In pigs, Ebola generally causes respiratory illness and increased temperature. Nine days after infection, all piglets appeared to have recovered from the disease.

Within eight days of exposure, two of the four monkeys showed signs of Ebola infection. Four days later, the remaining two monkeys were sick too. It is possible that the first two monkeys infected the other two, but transmission between non-human primates has never before been observed in a lab setting.

There is much that we don’t understand about this disease.

I can understand the need to keep the public calm, but why don’t these officials just tell us the truth?

At the same time that they are telling us that there is no chance that there will be an Ebola epidemic in the United States, they are also sending out guidelines to funeral homes on how to deal with dead Ebola victims…

CBS46 News has confirmed the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to U.S. funeral homes on how to handle the remains of Ebola patients. If the outbreak of the potentially deadly virus is in West Africa, why are funeral homes in America being given guidelines?

The three-page list of recommendations include instructing funeral workers to wear protective equipment when dealing with the remains since Ebola can be transmitted in postmortem care. It also instructs to avoid autopsies and embalming.

Why are they doing this if there is “no chance” that the disease will spread widely?

Hopefully they isolated this Ebola patient in Dallas in time.

Hopefully he did not infect anyone else.

But we need to be honest about the situation that we are potentially facing.  So far, there have been more than 6,000 cases of Ebola in Africa and more than 3,000 of those have died.  Unfortunately, even WHO officials admit that those official numbers “great underestimate” the scope of this outbreak.  The number of official cases has been doubling approximately every three weeks, and the CDC says that under a “worst case scenario” we could be looking at 1.4 million cases by the end of January 2015.

Right now all of the treatment facilities in Liberia and Sierra Leone are completely full and more than 80 percent of Ebola patients have been turned away and sent home without being treated.  It is an absolute nightmare, and now it has come to America.

And as the virus continues to spread, it is inevitable that more carriers of the disease will get on airplanes headed for America.

Unfortunately for us, according to a recent Defense One article the screening done at airports actually does very little to stop the spread of Ebola…

The bad news is that thermal screenings of the international flying population at airports are not likely to yield much by way of improved safety.

Here’s why: fever can be a sign of a lot of different illnesses, not just Ebola. And thermal scanning proved to be a poor method of catching bird flu carriers in 2009 as well. So presenting with an elevated temperature at an airport checkpoint does not indicate clearly enough that the fevered person is carrying the deadly virus. More importantly, the incubation period for Ebola is two days. As many as 20 days can pass before symptoms show up. That means that an individual could be carrying the virus for two weeks or longer and not even know it, much less have it show up via thermal scan. So what good are these scanners?

When I first started writing about Ebola, a few people accused me of “spreading fear”.

Well, now that Ebola has arrived in the United States, perhaps they will take a second look at some of my recent articles…

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

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

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

-“Ebola Among Health Workers: More Than 240 Sick, More Than 120 Dead

-“It Is Becoming Clear – We Are NOT Prepared For An Ebola Pandemic

Let us pray that this is just one isolated case and that there will not be a major outbreak in this nation.

Because if cases do start popping up around the country, fear will spread like wildfire and we could potentially be facing the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.

One of the individuals that successfully survived this disease was Dr. Kent Brantly.  I think that the following quote from him really does a great job of summarizing what we are potentially facing…

“Many have used the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak,” Brantly said. “Indeed it is a fire—it is a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast moat of the Atlantic Ocean will protect us from the flames of this fire. Instead, we must mobilize the resources … to keep entire nations from being reduced to ashes.”

A virus like this could change everything if it starts circulating widely.

Like I have said so many times before, let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

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.

Ebola Among Health Workers: More Than 240 Sick, More Than 120 Dead

Ebola ScareIf hundreds of doctors and nurses are becoming infected with Ebola, what chance is the general public going to have?  This is not just a question that many of us are asking.  As you will see below, this is a question that the World Health Organization is asking.  When dozens of health workers started getting Ebola, nobody could explain how it was happening.  More precautions were taken and health workers were even more careful than before.  Then the number of sick health workers rose to 170.  Even more measures were taken to keep doctors and nurses from getting the disease, but now just a couple of weeks later we have learned that a total of 240 health workers have contracted the virus and more than 120 of them have died.  Overall, more than 2,600 people have been infected with Ebola since this outbreak began and more than 1,400 people have died.  This virus continues to spread at an exponential rate, and now we have learned that there are confirmed cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  When are people in the western world going to wake up and start taking this disease seriously?

The mainstream media has told us over and over again that Ebola “does not spread easily” and that we have nothing to be concerned about in the United States and Europe.

But if that is true, then how in the world have hundreds of doctors and nurses gotten sick?  They go to extraordinary lengths to avoid getting the virus.  The following is from an official World Health Organization statement that was released on Monday

The outbreak of Ebola virus disease in west Africa is unprecedented in many ways, including the high proportion of doctors, nurses, and other health care workers who have been infected.

To date, more than 240 health care workers have developed the disease in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and more than 120 have died.

During past outbreaks, a few health workers have contracted the virus.  But once the virus was identified and proper safety measures were put into place, “cases among medical staff dropped dramatically”.  Unfortunately, the WHO says that this outbreak is “different” and the virus continues to spread among medical personnel

In the past, some Ebola outbreaks became visible only after transmission was amplified in a health care setting and doctors and nurses fell ill. However, once the Ebola virus was identified and proper protective measures were put in place, cases among medical staff dropped dramatically.

Moreover, many of the most recent Ebola outbreaks have occurred in remote areas, in a part of Africa that is more familiar with this disease, and with chains of transmission that were easier to track and break.

The current outbreak is different. Capital cities as well as remote rural areas are affected, vastly increasing opportunities for undiagnosed cases to have contact with hospital staff. Neither doctors nor the public are familiar with the disease. Intense fear rules entire villages and cities.

Needless to say, the fact that so many doctors and nurses are getting sick has created a tremendous amount of panic in areas of Africa were Ebola is spreading.  Here is more from the WHO statement

The fact that so many medical staff have developed the disease increases the level of anxiety: if doctors and nurses are getting infected, what chance does the general public have? In some areas, hospitals are regarded as incubators of infection and are shunned by patients with any kind of ailment, again reducing access to general health care.

The loss of so many doctors and nurses has made it difficult for WHO to secure support from sufficient numbers of foreign medical staff.

I think that the WHO has brought up a legitimate question.

If hundreds of doctors and nurses are getting the virus even after using protective equipment, what chance is the general public going to have?

Of course one of the big problems is the misinformation that is being spread through the mainstream media.  We have been told over and over that Ebola can only be spread “through direct contact with infected body fluids”, but scientific studies have shown that this is simply not accurate.  Dr. Ronald R. Cherry believes that this bad information could be contributing to the spread of Ebola among medical personnel…

We know that airborne transmission of Ebola occurs from pigs to monkeys in experimental settings. We also know that healthcare workers like Dr. Kent Brantly are contracting Ebola in West Africa despite CDC-level barrier protection measures against physical contact with the bodies and body fluids of Ebola victims, so it only makes sense to conclude that some — possibly many — of these doctors, nurses, and ancillary healthcare workers are being infected via airborne transmission. It makes perfect sense that sick humans, as they vomit, have diarrhea, cough, and expectorate sputum, and as medical procedures are performed on them, have the ability to shed infectious Ebola particles into the air at a similar or higher level compared to Sus scrofa (wild boar) in the pig-to-monkey study.

There had been hope that a “miracle drug” known as ZMapp could be used to save the lives of at least some of these doctors and nurses, but there is a problem.  It turns out that some of the people that have gotten this drug have died anyway.  The following is from a news report about one of these individuals…

A Liberian doctor treated with experimental American anti-Ebola serum ZMapp has died, a minister in the west African nation said on Monday.

Abraham Borbor had been improving but died on Sunday night, Liberian Information Minister Lewis Brown told AFP.

“He was showing signs of progress but he finally died. The government regrets this loss and extends its condolences to the bereaved family,” Brown said.

Meanwhile, Ebola continues to spread.  As I mentioned above, cases of the disease have now been confirmed in Congo.  Not only that, it turns out that two different strains of Ebola were discovered by the medical tests…

Numbi said that one of the two cases that tested positive was for the Sudanese strain of the disease, while the other was a mixture between the Sudanese and the Zaire strain — the most lethal variety. The outbreak in West Africa that has killed at least 1,427 people in West Africa since March is the Zaire strain.

So now we have multiple strains of Ebola being spread around out there.

And the truth of the matter is that even the authorities admit that they have absolutely no idea how many people actually have Ebola.  As CNN recently reported, the WHO says that the official numbers “vastly underestimate” the scope of this pandemic…

“The outbreak is expected to continue for some time,” the WHO said in a statement Thursday. “Staff at the outbreak sites see evidence that the numbers of reported cases and deaths vastly underestimate the magnitude of the outbreak.”

We could potentially be on the verge of the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.

But in the western world there is very little concern about this disease right now.  Most people seem to believe that it poses absolutely no threat to those of us living in the United States and Europe.

Hopefully they are right.

But what if they aren’t?

It Is Becoming Clear – We Are NOT Prepared For An Ebola Pandemic

Ebola Symptoms - CDCThe United States is woefully unprepared for an Ebola outbreak.  If a pandemic were to erupt, the very limited number of hospital labs and isolation units that we currently have would be rapidly overwhelmed.  Yes, we may be able to provide “state of the art care” for a handful of people, but if thousands (or millions) of Americans get the virus you can forget about it.  Our health industry is already stretched incredibly thin, and we simply do not have the resources to handle a tsunami of high risk Ebola patients.  And of course conventional medicine does not have a cure for Ebola anyway.  The “experimental drug” that is being used on the two American health professionals with the disease seems to be helping them, but even if it does turn out to be safe and even if it is approved for the general public it will still be a long time before there is ever enough of the drug for everyone.  So let us hope that we do not see a full-blown Ebola pandemic in this country.  Because if we do, we could potentially see millions of people die.

On Wednesday we learned that the global Ebola death toll has increased to 932.  As you can see from this article, cases of Ebola are now spreading at an exponential rate.  If you project how many cases we could be looking at in just a few months if Ebola keeps spreading at the same pace, it becomes quite frightening.

And it does appear that Ebola has now spread to more countries.  A man in Saudi Arabia that was being tested for Ebola has now died.  And a Liberian man has died of the Ebola virus in Morocco.

In the United States, the CDC is refusing to tell the media the locations of the people that have been tested for Ebola in this country.  But we do know that the CDC has told Time Magazine that it has received “several dozen calls” regarding “people who are ill after traveling in Africa”.

If you get Ebola, there is a very good chance that you are going to die.  The mortality rate during this current outbreak is over 50 percent.  It is a killer that is both silent and brutally efficient.

But what makes Ebola so dangerous is that you can be carrying it around for up to three weeks before you ever know that you have it.  In fact, one doctor that has been working on the front lines fighting this disease says that Ebola victims can “look quite fit and healthy and can be walking around until shortly before their deaths“.

So the person sitting next to you at work or that you walk past in the supermarket could have the virus.

You just never know.

And there is a lot of misinformation about Ebola out there right now.  There are a lot of people claiming that it “does not spread easily” and that you basically have to exchange bodily fluids with someone in order to get it.

Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the truth.  As Mike Adams of Natural News has pointed out, the Public Health Agency of Canada says that Ebola “can survive in liquid or dried material for several days“…

Even worse, Ebola is a strong survivor outside a host. Here’s what the Public Health Agency of Canada says:

SURVIVAL OUTSIDE HOST: The virus can survive in liquid or dried material for a number of days. Infectivity is found to be stable at room temperature or at 4 C for several days, and indefinitely stable at -70 C. Infectivity can be preserved by lyophilisation.

This clearly states that Ebola viruses can survive for several days on common objects such as door knobs or household surfaces. If an infected Ebola victim runs around touching such common objects after cleaning blood or mucous from his nose, another innocent victim can easily infect himself by touching the same objects and then eating some food that places the virus in his mouth.

And an Ebola study conducted back in 2012 showed that Ebola could be transmitted between pigs and monkeys that did not have physical contact with one another

When news broke that the Ebola virus had resurfaced in Uganda, investigators in Canada were making headlines of their own with research indicating the deadly virus may spread between species, through the air.

The team, comprised of researchers from the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, the University of Manitoba, and the Public Health Agency of Canada, observed transmission of Ebola from pigs to monkeys. They first inoculated a number of piglets with the Zaire strain of the Ebola virus. Ebola-Zaire is the deadliest strain, with mortality rates up to 90 percent. The piglets were then placed in a room with four cynomolgus macaques, a species of monkey commonly used in laboratories. The animals were separated by wire cages to prevent direct contact between the species.

Within a few days, the inoculated piglets showed clinical signs of infection indicative of Ebola infection. In pigs, Ebola generally causes respiratory illness and increased temperature. Nine days after infection, all piglets appeared to have recovered from the disease.

Within eight days of exposure, two of the four monkeys showed signs of Ebola infection. Four days later, the remaining two monkeys were sick too. It is possible that the first two monkeys infected the other two, but transmission between non-human primates has never before been observed in a lab setting.

If Ebola truly is “not something that is easily transmitted”, then how in the world have more than 100 health workers been infected so far?

Were they not being careful?

And if you think that our “advanced technology” is going to keep health workers from getting Ebola in this country, you might want to think again.

As Mike Adams pointed out in a different article, we can’t even stop the spread of “superbugs” such as MRSA in our own hospitals…

How can U.S. health authorities claim there is zero risk from Ebola patients being treated in U.S. hospitals when those same hospitals can’t control superbug infections? “Many hospitals are poorly prepared to contain any pathogen. That’s why at least 75,000 people a year die from hospital infections. If hospitals can’t stop common infections like MRSA, C. diff and VRE, they can’t handle Ebola.”

Yes, the United States has a far superior health system when compared to nations such as Liberia and Sierra Leone.

But it does have limitations.

Earlier today, I was reading something supposedly written by someone who works in a hospital laboratory.  I wanted to share three quotes that I found particularly sobering…

#1 “Even in the United States, out of all the various hospitals I have worked at, there is no hope of containing anything like this. One of the largest hospitals I worked at only had two reverse flow isolation rooms. TWO, let that sink in for a minute.”

#2 “Patients only show up to the hospital when they go symptomatic. So by the time they get there, they’ve already infected their entire family, their work group, and anyone they got within a few feet of on the way to the hospital. When they get there the ER nurses would treat it either like Flu, or Sepsis. But the whole time the patient is infecting all of them. And all of them, in turn, begin to infect everyone else in the exact same way. If this is as virulent as the WHO thinks it might be, by the time people realize what is going on, there will be more sick people than there would be beds available at every hospital in the US combined.”

#3 “So don’t expect miracles from front line hospital staff, we don’t have the tools, and we certainly do not have the manpower. Ask anyone in the medical field how much overtime they could work if they felt like it, don’t even get me started on how thinly stretched people in the industry are. Though I suppose if this does turn into something, that will become apparent very, very fast.”

There is no way in the world that our medical professionals are going to be able to handle a full-blown Ebola pandemic.

Therefore, if one does break out, you are going to need to be prepared to stay at home as much as possible.

That means that you will need enough food and supplies to last for at least a couple of months, and it could potentially be a lot longer than that.

Just think about it.  If Ebola is spreading, you certainly would not want to go to places such as grocery stores that large numbers of people circulate through every day.  But if you do not have any food, eventually you would be forced to leave your home.  And that decision could end up costing you dearly.

Hopefully this crisis will blow over and we won’t have to worry about any of this.  But if Ebola does start sweeping across America, the key will be to isolate yourself and your family as much as you can.

For now, our top officials are making it sound like we have nothing to worry about.

For example, the head of the CDC told CBS News that “we can stop it” and that the spread of the Ebola virus will probably not reach this country…

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he is confident that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa can be stopped and likely won’t reach the U.S.

“The plain fact is, we can stop it. We can stop it from spreading in hospitals and we can stop it in Africa [which] is really the source of the epidemic and where we’re surging our response so that we can control it there,” Tom Frieden said in an interview Sunday.

And Barack Obama says that Ebola is “not something that is easily transmitted” and that everything is under control…

Personally, I am going to file away those quotes for future reference.

Let us hope that they are right.

Let us hope that we don’t have anything to be concerned about.

But with each passing day this Ebola outbreak is getting even worse, and if it continues to grow at an exponential rate it won’t be too long before the entire world is facing an absolutely horrific health crisis.

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