Ebola Panic

Reading time: 4,086 words, 12 pages, 10 to 16 minutes.

You need to prepare for an Ebola panic. I emphasize the word ‘panic’, not pandemic. You need to prepare now before the panic escalates and makes it difficult and more dangerous to act. Ebola panic may become more dangerous than the Ebola virus itself.

Only later, if (and I emphasize the conditional word ‘IF’) if the virus continues to spread; only then will the Ebola virus itself become dangerous to the general public. With luck, the Ebola scare will be as ephemeral as the swine flu and the H1N1 flu hoaxes were in the past. First, let’s define a couple of terms.
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Epidemic vs Pandemic?

The difference between an epidemic and a pandemic is largely one of coverage. An epidemic is a disease that affects a greater number people than is usual for a particular area or one that spreads to areas not usually associated with the disease. A pandemic is an epidemic of world-wide proportions.
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Recent Events

Let’s briefly examine recent events. There is a great deal of panic and misinformation being spread by both the ass media and the alternative media. I will try to cut through the crap and conspiracy theories as best I can.

Ebola_Hysteria

At present, Ebola is largely an epidemic in several West African countries; the hardest hit being Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Many healthcare workers there have contracted the disease. Several have died. Some have been evacuated to the U.S. and Europe.

The media has extensively covered the Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan who flew to the U.S. to visit his family so there’s no need for me to go into great detail. He checked into the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and reported he was from Liberia. This critical information was NOT conveyed to the examining physician. He was given antibiotics which are not effective against Ebola and sent home where his condition worsened. He re-entered the hospital and died several days later.

On October 8, the same day Duncan died in Dallas, CNN reported, “U.S. airports will begin taking the temperatures of passengers arriving on flights originating from West African countries where Ebola is concentrated … The screenings will begin this weekend or next week, the source said.”

Anyone who thinks this is adequate is dreaming. “This weekend or next week” is closing the barn door long after the horse escaped. How many passengers from infected African countries have already arrived? As well, not everyone infected with the virus has a fever as it can take days or weeks for it to develop. That’s why the CDC recommends a 21 day quarantine.

Myth: Ebola only spreads via direct contact of infected bodily fluids.

Fact: a health care worker in Spain, “contracted Ebola after treating a Spanish missionary who fell victim to the disease while in West Africa and died at the Madrid hospital last month.” She was the first person to have contracted Ebola outside of Africa. The nurse became infected “at a hospital with modern health care facilities and special equipment for handling cases of deadly viruses.”

She was wearing medical isolation gear, she knew she was treating an Ebola patient; she had all the advantages of modern health care facilities and was fully trained in infectious disease protocols and practices. And, yet, she became infected by a virus that the CDC insists can only be transmitted via direct contact.

It’s possible a tiny amount of Ebola-contaminated fluid splashed on her protective garments and contacted her skin during garment removal. If so, this would be infection by indirect contact which the CDC still claims is impossible.

As well, If Ebola isn’t airborne, then how did the NBC News cameraman catch it? “…He was doing everything he could to prevent coming into direct contact with infected body fluids. However, as time went on, washing with chlorine and avoiding contaminated body fluids was not enough.” Despite the CDC’s assurances that only direct contact can spread the Ebola virus, it is becoming painfully obvious that, “the Ebola virus can latch onto small particles of spit and mucus floating in the air, ultimately gaining the power to travel as an airborne aerosol over a short distance.”

On October 10, the New York Times headlined, “Officials Admit a ‘Defeat’ by Ebola in Sierra Leone … Acknowledging a major “defeat” in the fight against Ebola, international health officials battling the epidemic in Sierra Leone approved plans on Friday to help families tend to patients at home, recognizing that they are overwhelmed and have little chance of getting enough treatment beds …” In other words, they’re sending patients home to die. How many others this will infect, is too sad to contemplate, but it’s not surprising that war-torn Sierra Leone is ill-equipped to fight the Ebola battle as the number of infected are beginning to exceed the number of healthcare workers.

On October 12, four days after Duncan’s death, the New York Times reported, “A nurse here became the first person to contract Ebola within the United States … despite wearing protective gear…” Official claims that the nurse “breached protocols” is a classic ‘blame the victim’ response that overlooks the very real possibility that current safety protocols are inadequate. Furthermore, “Officials expanded the pool of people they had been monitoring, because the nurse had not been among the 48 health care workers, relatives of Mr. Duncan and others whom they were evaluating daily.”

A day later, the New York Times headlined, “Questions Rise on Preparations at Hospitals to Deal With Ebola” and wrote “Federal health officials have offered repeated assurances that most American hospitals can safely treat Ebola, but Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, which had years of preparation for just such a crisis, found out how hard that is while it cared for three Ebola patients.

“As doctors and nurses there worked to keep desperately ill patients alive in August, the county threatened to disconnect Emory from sewer lines if Ebola wastes went down the drain. The company that hauled medical trash to the incinerator refused to take anything used on an Ebola patient unless it was sterilized first. Couriers would not drive the patients’ blood samples a few blocks away for testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And pizza places would not deliver to staff members in any part of the hospital.”

In other words, even hospitals with top-notch infectious disease protocols have difficulty dealing with Ebola. If the public’s panic were to escalate which seems likely, all nation-wide hospitals’ difficulties will also increase.

And, then on October 15 we learn that, “A second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States has tested positive for the disease … another breach in protocol for a disease which still is clearly not airborne.”

On the same day, CNN reports, “’Nurses claim “guidelines were constantly changing’ at the hospital, a union says … When protective gear left their necks exposed, they say they were told to use medical tape … The protocols that should have been in place in Dallas were not in place, and that those protocols are not in place anywhere in the United States as far as we can tell … On the day that Thomas Eric Duncan was admitted to the hospital with possible Ebola symptoms, he was ‘left for several hours, not in isolation, in an area where other patients were present,’ union co-president Deborah Burger said … Up to seven other patients were present in that area, the nurses said, according to the union … There was no one to pick up hazardous waste as it piled to the ceiling …”

None of this is very comforting despite official pronouncements that “it’s contained”. Remember that government officials told us the same about the sub-prime mortgage fiasco and we remember how that turned out. Top-notch hospitals are unable to erase MRSA and E. coli from their facilities so it should be no surprise they’re having difficulty dealing with Ebola. They are indeed on a very steep learning curve.

In another clear breach of guidelines and safety protocol, the second nurse flew from Dallas to Cleveland with the CDC’s approval although she told them she had a mild fever. She returned by air with a higher fever again with the CDC’s approval.

Now, the airline, Frontier, is trying to contacting more than a hundred passengers. The question is; and then what? Are the passengers voluntarily entering a 21 day self-administered quarantine? How many people can afford to be off work for three weeks? Who is going watch to ensure they stay home and assist with groceries and reimburse them for staying home for so long? Has anyone thought this through or are we still making this up as we go along?

And, in still another jaw-dropping case, a lab technician handling Duncan’s infected specimens goes on a crowded ship’s cruise within the 21 day observation period. It’s beginning to look like the safest place to avoid contact with Ebola is in Dallas because everyone who might infect you is travelling somewhere else.

Seriously though, many other questions arise about the U.S.’s ability to handle Ebola. How many medical isolation bio-containment units are there in the U.S. capable of treating Ebola-infected patients? The answer according to Gary North is a total of 23 beds in all of the U.S.A..

Gary North also writes, “80% [of nurses surveyed] say their hospital has not provided policy for admission of potential infected patients … 80 percent say their hospital has not communicated to them any policy regarding potential admission of patients infected by Ebola … 87 percent say their hospital has not provided education on Ebola … One-third say their hospital has insufficient supplies of eye protection … Nearly 40 percent say their hospital does not have plans to equip isolation rooms with plastic covered mattresses and pillows and discard all linens after use.”

This is indeed a steep learning curve.

Airborne or Direct Contact?

There is some confusing semantics regarding whether the Ebola virus is airborne or not. The CDC insists it is not airborne, but that just refers to the general air we breathe. Unlike respiratory illnesses which can be transmitted by virus particles that remain suspended in the air after an infected person coughs or sneezes, Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids of a person infected with Ebola.

However, if a symptomatic patient with Ebola coughs or sneezes on you, and saliva or mucus come into contact with your eyes, nose or mouth, these fluids may transmit the disease, semantics notwithstanding. The same can be said for other body fluids like blood, diarrhea, vomit, etc. If you can smell it, steer clear.
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The Incompetent Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)

There is no need for the CDC and the Amerikan medical system to be making this up as they go. Doctors Without Borders have been treating Ebola for decades. They know how to do it. All we need to do is ask them.

The CDC’s failure to do so and its reliance on outdated protocols is clearly evident in the numbers. Doctors Without Borders have treated thousands of Ebola cases with only 16 of their healthcare workers becoming infected. Dallas Presbyterian treated one case and two of their healthcare workers have become infected. That’s the difference between a fraction of a percent VS 200%. That’s incredible incompetence!

Homer got your back

The CDC’s inadequate response is not a conspiracy but a typical gargantuan bureaucracy’s approach to never let a crisis go to waste by trying to recover some of their funding that has been cut in recent years.

Vast bureaucracies, like governments themselves, reach such a critical cancerous mass that it’s easier to let their mandate slide a little rather than voluntarily reduce costs. There are just too many internal vested interests and a reluctance to step on toes and jeopardize departmental empires without a powerful leadership to bang heads together. Bureaucracies tend to breed administrators, not strong and competent leaders.
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Containment?

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports 9,000 cases and doubling every three weeks. They forecast anywhere from 0.5 to 1.5 million cases by January if the epidemic in Africa isn’t contained. Given what we’ve seen so far, containment seems unlikely.

The WHO also admitted that the reported number of cases is probably greatly underestimated which means their forecasting model is inaccurate and the real numbers will be much higher. With scant and ineffective screening at departing airports, there are virtually no limits on travel outside the infected countries except for those with high fever and obviously diseased. Many other infected ‘carriers’ will slip through the screening process (like Duncan) so this is likely to spread far and wide.

Although the health care system in North America is advanced compared to Africa, there are a limited number of health care workers. Considering that 76 health care workers from Dallas Presbyterian that helped to treat Duncan are now under observation, how many new Ebola cases will it take to overload North American hospitals?

We’ve known for six months that Ebola was spreading in West Africa and we still have not produced proper protocols to deal with it here. An American cowboy-style “close enough” approach destroyed two space shuttles. That resulted in the deaths of about a dozen astronauts. However, a cowboy-style “close enough” approach applied to a possible Ebola pandemic in a country of 330 million is not acceptable. And, that number pales in comparison to the population of the rest of the world.

Obama has now announced completely ineffective political-theater measures for the screening of passengers from Ebola infected countries at only five airports across the U.S. With the obscene amounts of money that the Amerikan war-mongering, military industrial empire are wasting, they could easily spend a couple billion creating adequate screening and quarantine facilities in departing airports of infected African countries.

4 horseman Ebola flies

Winston Churchill once said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Therein is the problem. By the time the Americans have figured out and implemented proper procedures, we can only hope it is not too late to prevent the disease reaching pandemic proportions world-wide.
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Incompetence is Not Conspiracy

One of my guiding principles is ‘Never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by incompetence’. I won’t go into greater detail as I’ve already covered this extensively in The Basis of Conspiracy Thinking.

Needless to say, the blogosphere is aflame with Ebola conspiracy theories. There isn’t time or space to cover them all.

One popular conspiracy theory claims the CDC has a vested interest in spreading Ebola and panic because they own the patent to the Ebola virus. It’s true that the CDC has the patent, but that keeps it in the public domain (the CDC doesn’t charge royalties) and prevents private companies charging exorbitant royalties to researchers trying to develop a vaccine or a cure. There’s nothing sinister about this.

Another popular conspiracy theory is that Ebola was developed and spread by U.S. bio warfare labs for the usual nefarious purposes. If true, it got completely out of control didn’t it? Oops, sorry!

Still another is deliberate population reduction as per the Georgia Guidestones. However, since ‘our owners’ need a large population of tax slaves and debt slaves, it’s difficult to see how a 95% slave reduction could keep them in the luxurious lifestyle to which they’re accustomed without them getting dirt under their fingernails. Even Paris Hilton is smart enough to figure that out.

obama-ebola-1-1

Bottom line: regardless whether incompetence or conspiracy is responsible, the outcome is much the same.
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What Can We Expect?

We can expect one of two outcomes:

a) Proper safety protocols are finally established and the spread of Ebola is contained. Otherwise;

b) Ebola will reach pandemic proportions. Given the incompetence, lack of preparedness, the comedy of errors we’ve seen thus far and the slow learning curve, we can only hope the authorities learn from their mistakes faster than Ebola spreads.

Anyone with an IQ higher than body temperature should know that governments ALWAYS under-report bad news so it’s likely the situation is worse than the authorities are telling us. The Ebola outbreak is out of control in the stricken African countries and we can only hope the virus burns itself out there. The next few weeks will show whether it will be contained in countries outside Africa.

One of the dangers is that the more people who are infected, the greater the likelihood the virus will mutate into something else; either weaker or more virulent than its present form. At this point, we don’t know and we’re running out of time.

There are many other angles that the ass media rarely cover. Casey Daily Dispatch on October 13 raised some interesting issues. One is the Chinese who have been sending thousands of engineers, architects, and other workers to build roads, mines and various other projects in Africa. Many return to China frequently so don’t be surprised if China also has an Ebola problem and they just don’t know it yet.

As well, Chinese workers are being sent to various South America countries for similar projects. How many of these Chinese are also infected with Ebola or soon will be?

Then too, Cuba has long had ties with many African countries, sending hundreds of doctors there to help. We don’t know whether any of them have been infected or what safety protocols they have in place for them returning to Cuba or travelling elsewhere.

Europe has been unable to stop many of the desperate Africans smuggling their way into Europe in the past. The wider the disease spreads in Africa the greater the chance of infected Africans making their way into Europe and spreading Ebola.

One bright note is we have a better degree of hygiene and nutrition in the West than the impoverished African countries cursed with poor nutrition, lack of clean water, excessive sewage contamination and the majority of their population suffering malnutrition and immunosuppression. Consequently, most non-Africans are in better condition to survive the disease long enough to develop an effective immunity response to an Ebola infection. Although antibiotics cannot fight the Ebola virus, we also have greater access to antibiotics to counter any opportunistic infections that might be brought on by an Ebola infection.

We can also expect the Obama administration to try to keep a tight lid on the Ebola situation ahead of congressional elections on November 4. It’s alarming that President Obama is such a vapid demagogue more interested in appearance than results. Having twice elected that man, it’s unfortunate that the Amerikan people are getting the government they deserve. Let’s hope they don’t start paying with their lives.

Ebola flights DC

Obama appointed an Ebola Czar to take charge although this ought to be the CDC’s role. Appointing an Ebola Czar is a clear admission that the vaunted CDC is incompetent and unable to fulfill its leadership role. And, it’s obviously a political appointment as the new Czar is a lawyer with no medical training. This clearly demonstrates that the perpetually inept President Obama fails to grasp the seriousness of the situation. Everything that man touches turns to shit.

Chocolate prices will start to rise. Côte d’Ivoire borders on Liberia and is the world’s largest cocoa producer. Expect supply disruptions and cancelled contracts. Better stock up on Halloween chocolate candy NOW.

Halloween face masks

Africa is a major source of the world’s minerals such as copper, gold, platinum, and various other metals. A continuing Ebola epidemic could decrease supply and increase metals prices with a detrimental effect on global economies.

Northeast Africa is close to the Middle East. An Ebola outbreak could impact the oil and gas of North Africa and the Middle East thus raising energy prices with enormous economic, political and military implications. The Washington war-mongers are presently waging economic war on energy-exporting Russia and Iran. They’re trying to bankrupt them with lower energy prices. If energy prices turn the other way, it could ratchet up their neo-Nazis’ war efforts.

The economic fall-out cannot yet be calculated but it will be huge in the afflicted African countries. If Ebola spreads (again the conditional word ‘IF’) beyond Africa, the economic cost will be incalculable. Malls, stores, theatres, churches and schools will empty and destroy economies that are largely dependent on consumer spending.

Further Ebola outbreaks may quarantine affected African countries already on the bottom rung of the economic ladder. This will drastically increase their poverty and further shorten their lifespans.

Here’s something else to consider. Flu season is approaching – can you tell the difference between someone with the flu or early stages of Ebola infection? Many preliminary symptoms are identical. It’s impossible to tell the difference at a glance and only blood samples sent to special labs can confirm Ebola.
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What You Need to Do Now

You need to prepare NOW before panic sets in. One important lesson we learned from Fukushima is that when everybody tries to get prepared all at once, supplies quickly run out. Retailers don’t inventory enough supplies for a pandemic. Get prepared now while you still can, before the masses wake up, rush to buy and empty the store shelves.

If you have no emergency stockpile, then what are you waiting for? By the time you need a stockpile, it’ll be too late to create one. I’ve been advocating stockpiling essentials for years in preparation for disasters such as storms, power outages, civil disturbance, epidemics, economic collapse, etc. You need to start stocking up on EVERYTHING beginning with food and water. In a mass panic, do you want to be fighting mobs and exchanging body fluids?

a) Among the first things to do now are:

Stock up on N-95 face masks while they’re still available. They’re NOT sufficient if you’re caring for an Ebola-infected patient as you’ll need the full infectious disease outfit such as pressurized full-face respirator, gloves, Hazmat suit, etc. However, for going out in public, an N-95 face mask is better than nothing, but you still need to avoid crowds and anyone obviously ill.

Nitrile gloves

Safety goggles

Heavy duty garbage bags

Sanitation supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, and feminine hygiene supplies

Entertainment – craft supplies, books, games, and puzzles

Basic medical supplies

Antibacterial cleaners such as disposable wipes, bleach, and spray cleaners

Hydrogen peroxide – not as stinky as bleach and good for wounds, cuts & abrasions

Antibacterial hand sanitizer

Stock up on Vitamin C, multi-vitamins and colloidal silver.

Start Christmas shopping now to avoid infected malls and stores later

b) If Ebola continues to spread, then

Avoid crowds

Avoid flying

Do not stay in hotels

Do not use public restrooms

c) If Ebola strikes in your area, then

Stop using local public transportation – busses, taxis or commuter trains

Start using your stockpiled food, but if you do need to buy food at the grocery store then buy in greater volumes in order to make fewer store visits

Do not eat in restaurants

By the way, the Canadian government can provide you with information the Amerikan government likely can’t with the PATHOGEN SAFETY DATA SHEET INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES.
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Poetic Justice

ABC Dallas affiliate WFAA, in a report headlined “Ebola Scare Turns Dallas Hospital Into a ‘Ghost Town’” “patients are … steering clear of the once-bustling hospital. People have called to cancel outpatient procedures, and some have even opted not to go to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in emergency situations.”

The average 52 minute Emergency Room wait time has been reduced to zero waiting time. The marketplace, it seems, has decided, “Three strikes; you’re out!”

That might be an over-reaction, but since we have yet to see how volatile this outbreak will be, people have decided it’s better to be safe than sorry. Perhaps the Ebola virus is just a distraction for Amerika to send troops to Africa to protect its investments and stall the Chinese. Perhaps not, but I’m not risking my life on a conspiracy theory. Will you?

Gerold
October 19, 2014

Your comments are WELCOME!
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About gerold

I have a bit of financial experience having invested in stocks in the 1960s & 70s, commodities in the 80s & commercial real estate in the 90s (I sold in 2005.) I am appalled at our rapidly deteriorating global condition so I've written articles for family, friends & colleagues since 2007; warning them and doing my best to explain what's happening, what we can expect in the future and what you can do to prepare and mitigate the worst of the economic, social, political and nuclear fallout. As a public service in 2010 I decided to create a blog accessible to a larger number of people because I believe that knowledge not shared is wasted.
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7 Responses to Ebola Panic

  1. Annie says:

    Someone called me an idiot because I said that I would rather see people inconvenienced for 20 days by being quarantined than to see millions infected within a couple of years. This person made note that the flu kills many people annually, and I was thinking, “Do you not see why it’s important to try to contain ebola, then?” By their own admission, they acknowledge that a less severe disease kills people. Ebola is known to kill between 60 – 90% of people who catch it. It’s now months after that initial outbreak, and I’m wondering how much we aren’t being told. I’m staying home as much as possible.

  2. GBV says:

    Not Ebola related, but another interesting read:

    http://www.theautomaticearth.com/the-most-destructive-generation-ever

    Cheers,
    GBV

    • gerold says:

      The similarities with the Macleans article is suspicious. In any case, I left the comment below.

      Canada’s Macleans magazine recently carried a similar article called “Old and Loaded” that described the wealth disparity between seniors (the Silent Generation) and younger generations. The Macleans article, just like this one jumped to conclusions and was full of non sequiturs and sweeping generalizations.

      Rather than repeat everything, I refer you to the rebuttal I posted called “Socialist Envy, Canadian Style”.

      https://geroldblog.com/2014/09/14/socialist-envy-canadian-style/

      You’ll see that it addresses most of the issues raised in this article as well.

      – Gerold

  3. GBV says:

    Great article Gerold.

    This has been a topic that’s been worrying me quite a bit for the last few weeks. Granted, I’ve probably bought into the panic more than the reality of the situation at this point, but I keep coming back to the concern that Ebola may be airborne for short periods of time (i.e. sneezes, coughing, etc.). If that’s the case, I think the government is doing everyone a great disservice by reporting otherwise, as fewer people will take the precautions they should otherwise be taking to minimize the spread of the virus.

    Faced with financial collapse, escalating conflict around the world, killer plagues/diseases, and the degeneration of moral society (myself included – I’m no saint), it seems harder and harder to find a reason to crawl out of bed these days.

    Cheers,
    -GBV

    • gerold says:

      You’re right, GBV. Yes, we are seeing many ‘perfect storms’ all at once.

      I never could understand why anyone would want to live forever. I’ve seen so much stupidity in one lifetime I can’t understand wanting to see more than one lifetime’s worth. Having said that, that’s the reason I crawl out of bed very morning; to see if there’s any new variations on all the stupidity I’ve already seen. And, guess what? I’m rarely disappointed. There’s ALWAYS something new.

      Except government. They’re stupid, always have been; always will be. I expect no less.

      Yes, Ebola is airborne over short distances and for a short time, but that’s all it takes. On the other hand, just because we catch a virus doesn’t mean we’ll get sick if we have healthy immune systems. However, we should still do everything possible to minimize contact.

      Wanna know what’s REALLY scary. Ebola doubles the number of infected every 20 days. So, starting with one person on day zero and two on day 20 and 4 on day 40, etc., you end up with over one million in less than a year. THAT’s why I’m keeping a close eye on it.

      – Gerold

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