This series of sitreps was initiated in midst of a media frenzy over the mishandling of an Ebola patient in Dallas. Yesterday Dallas was officially declared Ebola free.
In mid-October the nation seemed transfixed by symptoms and almost entirely distracted from their source.
In the intervening weeks there has been distinguished original reporting of the Ebola crisis by the New York Times and National Public Radio. I have been less impressed with television news coverage. But this Sunday, Sixty Minutes, the CBS news program, has scheduled a special report on The Ebola Hot Zone (2 minute video preview). Check your local listings.
As reported last week, the transmission growth rate in West Africa has slowed for hardest-hit Liberia. It is increasing in Sierra Leone and Guinea. There has — apparently — been successful containment elsewhere. According to Friday’s special update by the World Health Organization the total numbers for Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are 13,241 confirmed cases and 4950 deaths.
Click to open larger image. Source: WHO November 5 Update
I have not seen a credible explanation for the recent divergence between Sierra Leona’s and Liberia’s transmission rates. Guinea’s so far less virulent outbreak is probably a matter of geography, population density, and transportation networks.
As noted below, progress is being made on several aspects of the Ebola response strategy.
But clearly there remains much to be done. The European Union has pledged over 1 billion Euros, but other than the Brits in Sierra Leone and the French in Guinea, actual engagement has been slow. On Thursday a Dutch ship departed Rotterdam loaded with ambulances, mobile hospitals, laboratories and other equipment. The cargo has been provided by nine EU Member States and UNICEF.
On Wednesday President Obama requested a special appropriation of $6.1 billion to address both domestic and international response to Ebola. The Senate Appropriations Committee will begin hearings on the request on November 12. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to follow suit before the end of the month.