In an effort to control the spread of the disease, Sierra Leone is going to try, somehow, to quarantine over a million people:
Sierra Leone has ordered the indefinite quarantine “with immediate effect” of three districts and 12 tribal chiefdoms – a move that will affect more than one million people.
President Ernest Bai Koroma, in a national televised address on Wednesday, announced that the northern districts of Port Loko and Bombali were to be closed off along with the southern district of Moyamba – effectively sealing off around 1.2 million people.
The CDC estimates that the Ebola outbreak could infect as many as 1.4 million people just in Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of January. Considering the total population of those two countries is about 10 million, that figure would be catastrophic. There’s no way that Sierra Leone and Liberia, whose health care systems have already crashed due to the outbreak so far, could even begin to handle that many cases. The chances of the virus spreading beyond West Africa only go up as the number of infected do, and as local capacity to contain and treat the disease declines. This is the CDC’s worst case scenario.
Well, actually, it seems like the second-worst-case scenario, because the WHO and Saudi Arabia are beginning to plan for the possibility that people infected with the disease will try to go on Hajj (the timing of the annual pilgrimage varies depending on moon sightings, but is expected to take place in the early part of October this year). In each of the last couple of years around 3 million people have made the pilgrimage. Now, regional conflicts and, heck, fear of contracting Ebola might depress numbers this year, but probably not by that much. They’ll still be looking at at least a couple of million people living and traveling in close proximity. The Saudis are not allowing anyone from Liberia, Guinea, or Sierra Leone to attend this year’s Hajj, but all it takes is one to slip by, or for an infected pilgrim to come from someplace else, like Nigeria, to cause a disaster.
Now, it should be said that the CDC’s estimates are imperfect; they don’t even account for the new aid that President Obama promised last week. But that extra aid wasn’t nearly enough to actually bring the outbreak under control. We’re bombing Syria to degrade a terrorist group that probably (Lindsey Graham’s hysteria notwithstanding) poses less of an immediate threat to America and the rest of the world than a rapidly expanding, unchecked Ebola epidemic would. So shouldn’t we be paying at least as much attention to Ebola as we are to Syria?
Actually, I guess there’s an even scarier Ebola scenario?
Two Ebola patients, who died of the virus in separate communities in Nimba County have reportedly resurrected in the county. The victims, both females, believed to be in their 60s and 40s respectively, died of the Ebola virus recently in Hope Village Community and the Catholic Community in Ganta, Nimba.
But to the amazement of residents and onlookers on Monday, the deceased reportedly regained life in total disbelief. The NewDawn Nimba County correspondent said the late Dorris Quoi of Hope Village Community and the second victim only identified as Ma Kebeh, said to be in her late 60s, were about to be taken for burial when they resurrected.
Hm, OK, Ebola zombies would be pretty bad. Point taken.