What Will It Mean If The Potential Ebola Victim In New York City Actually Has The Virus?

Ebola In New York CityOn Monday, we learned that a “possible Ebola patient” was being treated at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.  We are being told that this individual recently returned from a country in Africa where there have been confirmed cases of Ebola.  So that would narrow it down to Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia and Nigeria.  The patient is being described as a male “with high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms“.  The hospital says that “necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff“.  But could you imagine the panic that is going to be created if there actually is a confirmed case of Ebola in the heart of New York City?  There is nothing in the post-World War II era that would even be comparable.  Certainly 9/11 created fear for a short period of time, but a full-blown Ebola outbreak would create a panic that could potentially last for months or even years.

And this comes on the heels of another Ebola scare in the United Kingdom.  According to a British news source, a seriously ill 72-year-old woman “collapsed and died” after getting off a plane from Sierra Leone at Gatwick Airport…

Airport staff tonight told of their fears of an Ebola outbreak after a passenger from Sierra Leone collapsed and died as she got off a plane at Gatwick.

Workers said they were terrified the virus could spread globally through the busy international hub from the West African country which is in the grip of the deadly epidemic.

The woman, said to be 72, became ill on the gangway after she left a Gambia Bird jet with 128 passengers on board. She died in hospital on Saturday.

Officials tell us that the plane was rapidly quarantined and that they were tracking down anyone that had been in contact with that woman.

I don’t know about you, but all of this is starting to remind me of some of the really bad Hollywood disaster movies that I have seen.

In my article yesterday, I included the following chart which shows how this Ebola outbreak is beginning to grow at an exponential pace…

Ebola Outbreak - Photo by Leopoldo Martin R

Well, today the World Health Organization says that the total number of cases has risen to 1,663 and the total number of deaths has risen to 887.  So just imagine what that chart would look like now.  Yes, it is definitely not an exaggeration to use the word “exponential” to describe what is happening.

If Ebola does start spreading inside the United States, it would be incredibly disruptive to our way of life.

In areas where there were confirmed cases of Ebola, it is inevitable that schools would be shut down and large gatherings of people such as concerts and sporting events would be cancelled.  In addition, due to fear of catching the virus, foot traffic at grocery stores and shopping malls would drop off dramatically.  If the panic lasted for multiple months, our economy would essentially grind to a halt.  Most economic activity still involves face to face interaction, and if people are afraid that if they go out in public they might catch a disease that will kill them, it would create an economic disaster of unprecedented proportions.

And what happens if strict travel restrictions (to prevent the spread of the disease) or plain old fear cause massive interruptions in our transportation system?  Almost all economic activity involves moving something from one location to another, and if we are not able to move stuff around because of an Ebola pandemic, that would create nightmarish problems almost immediately.  For example, the following is an excerpt from a report released by the American Trucker Associations that I discussed in a previous article

*****

A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage

The first 24 hours

• Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
• Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours. Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
• Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
• Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
• U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day

• Food shortages will begin to develop.
• Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
• Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery,
assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.

Within two to three days

• Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
• Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and
canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
• ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process
transactions.
• Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
• Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
• Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week

• Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
• Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks

• The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks

• The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.

This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, civil unrest.

*****

Are you starting to get the picture?

A major transportation disruption would not just result in an economic downturn.  Many Americans would start running out of food and basic supplies very rapidly.  Without the ability to constantly resupply at the grocery store, a lot of people would start giving in to panic in just a matter of days.

And needless to say, a full-blown Ebola outbreak would wreak havoc on our financial system.  The stock market would almost certainly collapse and we would witness a credit crunch that would be absolutely unprecedented.  Nobody would want to lend to anybody in the midst of an Ebola pandemic.  The flow of money through our system would come to a screeching halt, and we would be facing an economic nightmare that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

So let us hope and pray that this crisis goes away and that Ebola does not start spreading across the country.

Because if it does, it could potentially kill millions of people, destroy our economy and plunge this nation into utter madness.

This Is What Is Going To Happen If Ebola Comes To America

Prison CampIf the worst Ebola outbreak in recorded history reaches the United States, federal law permits “the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease”.  These individuals can be “detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary”.  In other words, the federal government already has the authority to round people up against their will, take them to detention facilities and hold them there for as long as they feel it is “reasonably necessary”.  In addition, as you will read about below, the federal government has the authority “to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill”.  If you want to look at these laws in the broadest sense, they pretty much give the federal government the power to do almost anything that they want with us in the event of a major pandemic.  Of course such a scenario probably would not be called “martial law”, but it would probably feel a lot like it.

If Ebola comes to America and starts spreading, one of the first things that would happen would be for the CDC to issue “a federal isolation or quarantine order”.  The following is what the CDC website says about what could happen under such an order…

Isolation and quarantine are public health practices used to stop or limit the spread of disease.

Isolation is used to separate ill persons who have a communicable disease from those who are healthy. Isolation restricts the movement of ill persons to help stop the spread of certain diseases. For example, hospitals use isolation for patients with infectious tuberculosis.

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Isolation and quarantine are used to protect the public by preventing exposure to infected persons or to persons who may be infected.

In addition to serving as medical functions, isolation and quarantine also are “police power” functions, derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society.

“Isolation” would not be a voluntary thing.  The federal government would start hunting down anyone that they “reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease” and taking them to the facilities where other patients were being held.  It wouldn’t matter if you were entirely convinced that you were 100% healthy.  If the government wanted to take you in, you would have no rights in that situation.  In fact, federal law would allow the government to detain you “for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary”.

And once you got locked up with all of the other Ebola patients, there would be a pretty good chance that you would end up getting the disease and dying anyway.  The current Ebola outbreak has a 55 percent percent mortality rate, and experts tell us that the mortality rate for Ebola can be as high as 90 percent.

Once you contracted Ebola, this is what it would look like

Sudden onset of fever, intense weakness, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. That is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function and internal and external bleeding.

The “external bleeding” may include bleeding from the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and just about every other major body cavity.

So how is Ebola spread?

Well, medical authorities tell us that it can be spread through the blood, urine, saliva, stools and semen of a person or animal that already has Ebola.

If you are exposed to the disease, the incubation period can be from anywhere from two days up to 21 days.  But the average is usually about eight to ten days.

In other words, you can be spreading it around for over a week before you even know that you have it.

There is no vaccine for Ebola and there is no cure.

Not everyone dies from the virus, but most people do.

Needless to say, this is about the last disease that you want to catch.  And the doctors that are treating Ebola patients in Africa are going to extreme lengths to keep from getting it…

To minimise the risk of infection they have to wear thick rubber boots that come up to their knees, an impermeable body suit, gloves, a face mask, a hood and goggles to ensure no air at all can touch their skin.

Dr Spencer, 27, and her colleagues lose up to five litres of sweat during a shift treating victims and have to spend two hours rehydrating afterwards.

They are only allowed to work for between four and six weeks in the field because the conditions are so gruelling.

At their camp they go through multiple decontaminations which includes spraying chlorine on their shoes.

But despite all of those extraordinary measures, multiple doctors have already gotten sick.

For example, one of the doctors leading the fight against Ebola, Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan, died on Tuesday

A doctor who was on the front lines fighting the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone has died from complications of the disease, Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday.

Dr. Sheik Humarr Khan fell ill early last week while overseeing Ebola treatment at Kenema Government Hospital, about 185 miles east of Sierra Leone’s capital city, Freetown.

He was treated by the French aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres — also known as Doctors Without Borders — in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, up until his death, spokesman Tim Shenk said.

And two American doctors that went over to Africa to help fight the disease are now battling for their own lives…

Dr. Kent Brantly, who was treating victims of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, is currently being treated in an isolation unit in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, the AP reported Tuesday.

“I’m praying fervently that God will help me survive this disease,” Brantly said in an email Monday to Dr. David Mcray, the director of maternal-child health at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. The Texas-born Brantly, 33, completed a four-year medical residency at the hospital, the AP said.

Brantly’s wife and two young children left Liberia to return to Abilene, Texas, days before he began to show symptoms of Ebola. They are being monitored for any signs of fever, a City of Abilene spokeswoman told the AP.

A second American, aid worker Nancy Writebol of Charlotte, N.C., is also stricken with Ebola, according to CBS/AP. Writebol had been working as a hygienist to help decontaminate people at an Ebola care center in Monrovia.

This is not like other Ebola outbreaks.

Something seems different this time.

But instead of trying to keep things isolated to a few areas, global health authorities are going to start sending Ebola patients to other parts of the globe.  For example, one German hospital has already agreed to start receiving Ebola patients…

A German hospital has agreed to treat Ebola patients amid widespread fears of a possible outbreak of the deadly disease in Europe. Over 670 people have already been killed by the disease in West Africa with doctors struggling to control the epidemic.

A German hospital in Hamburg agreed to accept patients following a request from the World Health Organization (WHO), Deutsche Welle reports. Doctors assure that the utmost precautions will be taken to make sure the disease does not spread during treatment. The patients will be kept in an isolation ward behind several airlocks, and doctors and nurses will wear body suits with their own oxygen supplies that will be burned every three hours.

Will Ebola patients also soon be sent to hospitals in the United States?

And of course there are many other ways that Ebola could spread to this country.  For instance, all it would take would be for one infected person to get on one airplane and it could all be over.

Federal authorities seem to have been preparing for such an outbreak for quite a while.  As my good friend Mac Slavo has pointed out, “biological diagnostic systems” were distributed to National Guard units in all 50 states back in April…

The Department of Defense informed Congress that it has deployed biological diagnostic systems to National Guard support teams in all 50 states, according to a report published by the Committee on Armed Services. The report, published in April amid growing fears that the Ebola hemorrhagic fever virus might spread outside of West Africa, says that the portable systems are designed for “low probability, high consequence” scenarios.

Some 340 Joint Biological Agent Identification and Diagnostic System (JBAIDS) units have thus far been given to emergency response personnel. The systems are “rapid, reliable, and [provide] simultaneous identification of specific biological agents and pathogens,” says executive officer for the DOD’s Chemical and Biological Defense group Carmen J. Spencer.

Let us certainly hope for the best.

Let us hope that this latest outbreak fizzles out and that we won’t even be talking about this by the end of the year.

But experts are warning that if a major global pandemic does break out that millions upon millions of people could die.

If that happens, many people will go crazy with fear.

And we got just a little taste of some of the paranoia that an Ebola epidemic in America would create in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this week…

A corridor of Carolinas Medical Center – Main’s Emergency Room was roped off on the first floor, near the entrance Wednesday.

A security guard was posted outside, to prevent anyone from crossing the line.

During a 4 p.m. press conference Katie Passaretti, who is an infectious disease specialist with CMC, said precautions were put into place when patient was brought in Tuesday night.  The patient was traveling from Africa and arrived at the hospital around 11:30 p.m.

Around 3 a.m. the security precautions were put into place at the hospital, Passaretti said.

Passaretti said they determined the patient did not have Ebola.  The patient has been discharged home.

It is not too hard to imagine forced quarantines and people being rounded up and shipped off to Ebola detention facilities.

In fact, if Ebola were to start spreading like wildfire in this country, many people would actually start demanding such measures.

For example, one member of Congress is already proposing that citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (and any foreigner that has recently visited those nations) be kept out of the United States…

In a letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, proposed that citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as “any foreign person who has visited one of these nations 90 days prior to arriving in the United States” be kept out of the country. He urged the secretaries to “consider the enhanced risk Ebola now presents to the American public”.

So what do you think about all of this?

What do you believe will happen if Ebola comes to America?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

8 Economic Threats That We Were Not Even Talking About At The Beginning Of The Summer

In the crazy times in which we live, it helps to expect the unexpected.  Sometimes you can think that you have it all figured out and then this world can throw a real curveball at you. Very few people anticipated that we would see a massive outbreak of the West Nile Virus in Texas this year or that the Mississippi River would be in danger of drying up after experiencing historic flooding last year.  Who would have thought that we would see the worst drought in more than 50 years or that horrific wildfires would burn nearly 7 million acres of land?  This is why economic conditions are always so hard to predict.  A single “black swan event” can come along and change everything almost overnight.  Our world has become incredibly unstable, and so who really knows what the rest of 2012 will bring?  Will we see a stock market crash?  Will the hurricane season be unusually bad?  Will war erupt in the Middle East?  Will we see a major earthquake on the west coast or even a volcanic eruption?  Will the upcoming election cause an eruption of anger and frustration in America?  We don’t know the answers to those questions yet, and the truth is that we will probably see some things happen that very few of us are anticipating at this point.

This is an exciting time to be a “news junkie”, but unfortunately the vast majority of the news these days is bad.

It is almost as if a “perfect storm” is developing.  Our weather is going crazy, our financial system is on the verge of collapse, our politicians seem more insane than ever, there is evidence of social decay all around us and the drumbeats of war in the Middle East grow louder with each passing day.

As strange as 2012 has been so far, I fear that things are about to get a whole lot stranger.

Not that we haven’t had some very unanticipated events happen this year up to this point.

The following are 8 economic threats that we were not even talking about at the beginning of the summer….

#1 West Nile Virus

What is up with all of the strange disease outbreaks that we have seen so far this year?

Flesh eating disease and the bird flu have both been making global headlines this summer, but in the U.S. right now it is the West Nile Virus that is getting the most attention.

So far more than 1,100 cases of the West Nile Virus have been diagnosed in the United States and more than 41 people have died from it.

More than half of the cases so far have been in Texas, but we have also seen people come down with West Nile Virus in Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

If you live in any of those areas, you might want to do your best to avoid mosquitos for the rest of the summer.

#2 Historic Drought

This summer, the United States has experienced the worst drought that it has seen in more than 50 years.

This weather has been absolutely crippling for farmers and ranchers all over the nation.  As I wrote about the other day, about half of all corn being grown in the U.S. is currently either in “poor” or “very poor” condition.

As the drought has dragged on, many farmers and ranchers have become increasingly desperate.  In fact, one farmer has even been feeding his cows candy in an attempt to deal with rising feed prices.

Needless to say, this drought has been causing commodity prices to soar.

On Tuesday, the price of corn closed at a record $8.38 a bushel, and the price of soybeans closed at $17.30 a bushel.

#3 The Mississippi River Is Drying Up

Thanks to this drought, rivers and lakes all over the United States are drying up.  In fact, there have been reports that millions of fish have been dying because water levels have gotten so low in many areas.

Even the mighty Mississippi River has dropped to dangerously low levels.

At this point, the Mississippi is lower than most people living along the river can ever remember.  If it drops much lower, it could potentially have an absolutely devastating impact on the U.S. economy.

A recent NBC News report described what is at stake….

About $180 billion worth of goods move up and down the river on barges, 500 million tons of the basic ingredients for much of the U.S. economy, according to the American Waterways Operators, a trade group. It carries 60 percent of the nation’s grain, 22 percent of the oil and gas and 20 percent of the coal, according to American Waterways Operators. It would take 60 trailer trucks to carry the cargo in just one barge, 144 18-wheeler tankers to carry the oil and gas in one petroleum barge.

If all traffic along the Mississippi was forced to stop, it is estimated that it would cost the U.S. economy about 300 million dollars a day.

And already there have been stoppages along one 11 mile stretch of the river….

Nearly 100 boats and barges were waiting for passage Monday along an 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that has been closed because of low water levels, the U.S. Coast Guard said. New Orleans-based Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Tippets said the stretch of river near Greenville, Miss., has been closed intermittently since Aug. 11, when a vessel ran aground.

So what happens if the Mississippi gets even lower?

#4 Wildfires

The extreme heat has also been responsible for the horrific outbreak of wildfires that we have seen in the western United States this year.

So far in 2012, nearly 7 million acres have been burned up.

That is an area about as big as the states of Maryland and Delaware combined.

#5 The Global Elite Hoarding Gold

In the past, the global elite and the mainstream media would mock those who are hoarding gold in anticipation of a major financial collapse.

But now it is the global elite who are hoarding gold.

In a previous article, I discussed how men such as George Soros and John Paulson are investing mind-boggling amounts of money in gold right now.  The amount of money that these two individuals are investing in gold is difficult to comprehend….

There was also news last week in an SEC filing that both George Soros and John Paulson had increased their investment in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest publicly traded physical gold exchange traded fund (ETF).

Mr Soros upped his stake in the ETF to 884,400 shares from 319,550 and Mr Paulson bought 4.53m shares, bringing his stake to 21.3m.

At the current price of about $156 a share, these are new investments of about $88m of Mr Soros’ cash and more than $700m from Mr Paulson’s funds. These are significant positions.

Combined, Soros and Paulson dumped more than three quarters of a billion dollars into gold during the second quarter of 2012 alone.

So what are they anticipating?

The central banks of the world have been very busy hoarding gold as well.  According to the World Gold Council, global central banks were net buyers of 157.5 metric tons of gold during the second quarter of 2012.

Over the past 20 years there has never been a time when global central banks have accumulated that much gold during a single quarter.

So just what in the world is going on?

#6 Recession In The UK

Everyone knew that Greece was in deep trouble.

And everyone knew that Italy and Spain were in deep trouble.

But it was a surprise to see the UK economy plunge deep into recession.  During the second quarter of 2012 alone, the UK economy shrunk by 0.7 percent.

At this point the British economy has contracted for three quarters in a row.

Hopefully things will not get even worse over there.

#7 Major Economic Slowdown In The United States

Considering the fact that the U.S. economy never even came close to recovering from the last recession, it is a bit disheartening to see that it looks like we are headed for another major downturn.

According to Michael Panzer of Financial Armageddon, measurements of economic activity compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia indicate that the U.S. economy is rapidly heading into another recession.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

And for a lot more reasons why the U.S. economy is entering another recession, check out this article.

#8 Hauled Off To A Mental Institution For What You Believe

Do you ever worry that what you post on Facebook could get you involuntarily committed to a mental institution?

Well, that is exactly what happened to one military vet recently.

A former Marine named Brandon Raub was hauled off to a mental institution because of what he posted on his Facebook page.

This is how the Economic Policy Journal summarized what happened to Raub….

The muscle used to grab Brandon Raub was local Chesterfield County, VA police. Also present during the grab were agents of the FBI and of the Secret Service.

Both the FBI and the Secret Service claim that they were only observing and not participating in the grab. The Chesterfield County police initially stated that they were only carrying out a request from the federal agencies.

The police also claim Raub is not under arrest, even though he was led away in handcuffs and is not permitted to leave the psychiatric ward of a hospital—even though it appears that Raub is not in  any way in need of psychological care.

I note this happened in the United States of America, with local police, FBI agents and Secret Service taking part.

The claim that Raub is “not under arrest” is completely and totally ridiculous.  The authorities came to his door, slapped handcuffs on him and are holding him in a mental institution against his will.

And now he has been transferred to a facility that is 3 hours away from his family, his supporters and his legal team.

What in the world is America turning into?

The Rutherford Institute is defending Raub, and the following is an excerpt from a statement about this case on their website….

“This is not how justice in America is supposed to work—with Americans being arrested for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights, forced to undergo psychological evaluations, detained against their will and isolated from their family, friends and attorneys. This is a scary new chapter in our history,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”

This is the kind of thing that we have seen under brutal totalitarian regimes in the past.  Dissidents are grabbed by authorities and taken to mental institutions where they are conveniently “disappeared”.

This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America.

But it is happening.

And you know what?  Before the authorities start attacking people for exercising free speech on Facebook perhaps they should clean up their own house.

It turns out that thousands of DHS employees have been convicted of crimes in recent years.  The following is from a recent CNS News article….

There have been 2,527 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees and co-conspirators convicted of corruption and other criminal misconduct since 2004, according to a federal auditor.

Our world is becoming a very crazy place.

One thing that most people did see coming this summer was the continuing economic decline in Greece.

At this point Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression and it gets worse by the day.

If you can believe it, 1,250 companies have shut down in the second largest city in Greece in 2012 alone.

Ouch.

And many in the financial world believe the the situation in Greece is going to go beyond the breaking point fairly soon.

In fact, analysts at Citibank believe that there is a 90 percent chance that Greece will leave the euro over the next 12 to 18 months.

90 percent?

They sound pretty sure of themselves.

Not that the rest of Europe is in such great shape either.

According to Bloomberg, it looks like Europe will soon be losing about half a million auto industry jobs….

Efforts by PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) and Fiat SpA (F) to end losses in Europe could cost more than 500,000 people their jobs as automakers and parts suppliers grapple with the effects of the European sovereign debt crisis.

We live in very unusual times.

Things are falling apart all around us and we seem to be rapidly approaching another major economic crisis.

Central banks, governments and Wall Street insiders all seem to be preparing for the worst.

Are you?

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