Ebola continues its deadly march
More than 5,100 people have died from the unprecedented Ebola outbreak currently sweeping West Africa, the World Health Organization has said, with 8,892 confirmed cases as of Nov. 11.
In reality, however, the numbers are likely much higher.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for every one reported case of Ebola, there are an additional 1.5 that go unlisted. If these trends continue, the CDC estimates that cases in two countries alone — Liberia and Sierra Leone — could hit 1.4 million within four months.
Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the epidemic, hospitals are forced to turn away patients, sometimes because members of the staff have contracted the deadly disease themselves. In many cases, the sick and dying lie motionless on the street with nowhere to go, and no one to help.
President Obama has called the outbreak a “security threat” to the United States and pledged to lead a stronger international response. “We are not doing enough,” Obama said last week in a chilling address at the United Nations. “There’s still a significant gap between where we are and where we need to be.”
For those fortunate enough to still have their health, life in West Africa goes on under a cloud of terror and uncertainty. Upon his release from the Nebraska Medical Center, Dr. Rick Sacra, the third American aid worker to be stricken with Ebola, said that one of the most “heart-wrenching” effects of the epidemic was the fact that people in Liberia weren’t touching each other anymore.
“Some people, when they greet you, they will shake your hand for three minutes or four minutes,” he said of his previous trips to the country. Now, they wave their hands by their heads to say hello.