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.

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.

Will 2012 Be The Year That We See Mass Starvation In Africa? 12 Signs That The World Is Running Out Of Food

Tonight millions of American families will shovel huge piles of food into their mouths without even realizing that starvation is rapidly spreading in Africa.  Right now Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are experiencing the worst drought conditions that they have seen in 60 years.  Tens of thousands of African families have abandoned their homes as they desperately search for food and water.  Hundreds of thousands of farm animals have died because of the drought.  Considering the fact that approximately two-thirds of the people living in the region “make their living by raising goats, sheep, cattle and camels“, the word “catastrophic” just is not sufficient to describe what is happening.  Every single day, thousands more head to Dadaab, the biggest refugee camp in the world.  Dadaab was originally designed to hold 90,000 people, but now over 360,000 precious people are camped there.  In addition, approximately 30,000 desperately hungry people are standing outside the fences waiting to be admitted.  It is projected that by the end of the year there will be over a half million people living in Dadaab.  Sadly, this is just the beginning.  According to the United Nations, there are already 10 million people in the region that are facing severe food shortages, and many fear that if the drought continues we could actually see mass starvation in Africa in 2012.

Hopefully the world will be very generous as they hear about what is happening in the Horn of Africa.  But the truth is that food is getting tight all over the globe.  Last summer an unprecedented heat wave caused Russia to put restrictions on the export of wheat.  Some of the key agricultural areas of China, Pakistan, Brazil and Australia have experienced unprecedented flooding over the past 12 months.  Natural disasters have hit U.S. crops hard in many states as well.  Crop diseases such as UG99 wheat rust continue to spread.  The world continues to lose topsoil at an alarming rate.  Things simply do not look promising.

Meanwhile, the price of oil has absolutely soared over the past year.  The methods that we use to produce and transport our food take a lot of oil.  If the price of oil continues to climb that is going to make it very hard to feed the entire planet.

Most Americans have no idea how desperate things are becoming in many areas of the globe already.  Just check out what a recent article in The Guardian had to say about the situation at Dadaab….

Every day 1,000 Somalis stream across the Kenyan border to Dadaab, which is full to bursting with 367,000 people and already constitutes the largest refugee settlement in the world. They arrive malnourished and dehydrated but – after a walk lasting weeks – grateful that they have made it to a point where they will get food and water.

Sometimes words alone are not enough to convey an accurate picture of what is really going on.  Take a couple of moments to watch the video posted below.  Imagine if you and your family had to go to a camp like this….

Sadly, the suffering is not limited to one refugee camp.  There are millions of Africans that are now in danger of starvation.

A recent article in The Telegraph described how bad things are getting in parts of Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Djibouti and Uganda….

“Two consecutive poor rainy seasons have resulted in one of the driest years since 1950/51 in many pastoral zones,” Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said. “There is no likelihood of improvement [in the situation] until 2012,” she added.

A lot of these people don’t have any money.  If aid was not rolling in from elsewhere they would be dropping dead all over the place.

Food prices are rising so quickly in these areas that it is becoming difficult for anyone to be able to afford to buy food.

TEAR Fund executive director Steve Tollestrup says that food prices in the region are really getting out of control…..

“For example, yellow maize prices in the Ethiopian Jiiga grain market had risen by 117 per cent from May 2010 to May 2011, while white maize at the Mandera market in Kenya had risen by nearly 60 per cent.”

In some areas of the Horn of Africa we are starting to see food riots.  For example, the following is a very brief excerpt from a recent Reuters report….

Kenyan police fired tear gas to disperse people protesting in the capital on Thursday against high food and fuel prices and a shortage of maize which has enraged many in east Africa’s biggest economy.

When people cannot even feed themselves they have nothing left to lose.

Today, there are approximately two billion people that spend more than half of their income on food.

So what are they supposed to do when the price of food doubles?

Are they supposed to spend every penny they have just on food?

Most Americans have no idea what it is like to have to scratch and claw just to survive each day.

There are hundreds of millions of people around the globe that are engaged in a desperate struggle to survive.

Meanwhile, the speculators and the big Wall Street banks feel no guilt at all when they drive up the price of food in order to make a few extra bucks.

Look, the truth is that what we are seeing in Africa right now is just the beginning.

When the global economy crashes, things are going to get a lot worse.

Right now a significant percentage of the global population can barely afford to buy enough food to eat.  Most people do not realize this, but when the global financial system totally collapses there is a very real possibility that we could see mass starvation.

The following are 12 signs that the world is running out of food….

#1 More than 3 billion people, close to half the world’s population, live on less than 2 dollar a day.

#2 Over the past year, the global price of food has risen by 37 percent.

#3 Just about every major agricultural commodity has been skyrocketing in price.  Check out what a recent Bloomberg article had to say about what has been happening to many key agricultural commodities over the past year….

Corn futures advanced 77 percent in the past 12 months in Chicago trading, a global benchmark, rice gained 39 percent and sugar jumped 64 percent. There will be shortages in corn, wheat, soybeans, coffee and cocoa this year or next, according to Utrecht, Netherlands-based Rabobank Groep. Prices also rose after droughts and floods from Australia to Canada ruined crops last year. European farmers are now contending with their driest growing season in more than three decades.

#4 According to the World Bank, 44 million more people around the globe have been pushed into extreme poverty since last June because of rising food prices.

#5 Sadly, rising food prices is not a new trend.  According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the global price of food has gone up by 240% since 2004.

#6 To a large extent, this global food crisis has been brought on by the greed of the wealthy.  A study by the World Institute for Development Economics Research discovered that the bottom half of the world population owns approximately 1 percent of all global wealth.

#7 The average income per person in the poorest countries on the continent of Africa has fallen by one-fourth over the past twenty years.

#8 It is estimated that over 80 percent of the world’s population lives in countries where the income gap between the rich and the poor is widening.

#9 Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every single night.

#10 Every 3.6 seconds someone starves to death and three-quarters of them are children under the age of 5.

#11 It is estimated that the entire continent of Africa only owns approximately 1 percent of the total wealth of the world.

#12 According to the most recent “Global Wealth Report” by Credit Suisse, the wealthiest 0.5% of the global population controls over 35% of all the wealth on the planet.

Those of us that live in wealthy countries have it really good.

We get to shovel huge amounts of food into our faces whenever we want.

But eventually things are going to change for us as well.

Global food supplies are getting really tight.  If something does not change we are going to have some real problems.

Renowned investor Jim Rogers recently put it this way….

“We’ve got to do something or we’re going to have no food at any price at times in the next few years.”

We all saw what happened during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and during the aftermath of the tsunami in Japan.  When a major crisis occurs, food can disappear from store shelves overnight.

The frightening thing is that global stockpiles of food continue to go down.  Just check out this report from a recent Financial Post article….

Global stockpiles of corn, the most-consumed grain, are forecast to drop to 47 days of use, the fewest since 1974, data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show. Inventories are declining as demand continues to outstrip production that’s forecast to rise to a fifth consecutive year of record.

Most Americans simply do not understand how close we potentially are to a major global food crisis.

Hopefully we will not see one any time soon.

But you might want to get ready just in case.

 

The Economic Collapse