UPDATE: Today's Ebola box score (with figures from WHO 8/24 report):
117 Ebola cases
So the metric to watch is to see what that looks like in 21 days.
I.e., From 8/3-8/24, they went from 33 deaths to 72, so it's doubling a bit faster than expected. Not good.
On or about 9/14, if they have 144 deaths, they're on track for no control on the outbreak.
The first batch were the people infected largely before the outbreak was detected, because you're always behind the curve with this disease.
The 40 or so who've died since 8/3 are the second wave.
The 72 probable between now and 9/14 are the next wave.
If the dead count is less than 144 then - assuming the counting is accurate (because Africa) - that means vaccinations and so on are slowing the spread. That would be hopeful news.
If it's 144 or more, that's very, very bad.
That the contacts they need to trace have already quadrupled in three weeks is the reason epidemics become pandemics.
One other note on the panel on Wikipedia:
IGNORE their published CFR.
They're doing it wrong.
Allow me to explain:
The death rate isn't the number dead now vs. the number infected now.
Ebola isn't a lightning bolt.
In 2014, Duncan, with first-world ICU care, took 10 days to die.
He'd been sick several days before that.
In Africa, a week, or two, or more between obvious infection, and death, is not uncommon.
So if you're going to be honest, look at how many cases they had 21 days ago (that time span being the rough average of 5-42 days between contraction and appearance of Ebola) and how many dead people they have now.
21 days ago, there were 76 cases. Today, there are 72 dead.
That's a CFR of 95%.
So unless they're going to publish survivor numbers, this thing is doing what you'd expect it to do in Africa: it's killing 95% of the people who catch it.
It's like scoring bowling. With strikes and spares, you know you have to go a frame or three back, to get the correct current score.
You can shorten the time frame to the average number of days an infected person lives in a Congolese Ebola clinic, or you can tell us how many of the people infected two weeks ago are dead now, and how many have recovered; those are both statistically honest options. Anything else is b.s.ing with numbers, and purely dishonest.
And whatever mook at Wikipedia is skewing the percentage should know that (and either isn't savvy enough to grasp this simple epidemiological concept, or someone there is holding their thumb on the scale). It's a coin-toss there; you can guess which option, stupid or evil, is more likely. Neither one makes them look very good. If they plead "we're just re-posting the numbers from WHO", which are the numbers from DRCongo, that's fine, but it simply underlines the biggest problem with Ebola: Africa wins again. (h/t KDT)
UPDATE (8/30): Going to the WHO source document as of 8/28, there have been 75 deaths, 25 are in hospital, and 18 people have recovered (Three are apparently in limbo...). Which gives a CFR back in reality, at 80.6%, IOW the exact death rate in nearly every Ebola outbreak since it first appeared. Which means of the 25 hospitalized in clinic, 20 more will die.
Unless this either
a) crosses an international border,
b) appears in a major (pop. > 1M) city, or
c) some modern Thomas Duncan gets through an airport and brings it outside DRCongo,
d) something really major happens, internationally
we're still keeping an eye on this, but won't be talking about it much, if at all, for the next three weeks. Anything other than that, grim as it may be, will just be Africa being Africa.
Which it does just fine whether we watch, or not.
I brought it up at all, because it's moved into being a thing, and mainly - since neither you nor I can affect what's happening 6000 miles away - as a reminder to make sure (or start making sure) you could ride things out at home if this goes as sideways as - or, God forbid, worse than - it did in 2014. Which is well within the possible likely course of action.
This is not the all-Ebola blog, never was, nor ever will be. There is too much comedy, serendipity, and general mockable fuckery, both professional and amateur, going on in the world besides just this, to focus so narrowly. If all Hell breaks loose, and this turns into a 2014 do-over clown show, complete with TPTB importing the disease to the US, we can talk about that then. I covered it pretty intensely, to the limit of available sources in fact, in 2014, but mainly because the hubris and outright stupidity was breathtaking in its scope and depth; it was like coming across an ocean looking for the Spice Islands, and instead discovering a new continent.
Between now, and then (or, hopefully, not), just get your crap together, literally, and check your plans. Get informed, lock down the preparations for SHTF just in case, and then move along. If there are any questions, ask them, even in comments to other posts, but it ain't going to be my 24/7/365 focus, ever, unless I'm hunkered down behind barbed wire, and you are too.
And one other thing:
Think happy thoughts.
And be sure and take some Tylenol and drink a lot of water after your celebrations on the passing of our newest ex-senator. It'll make the post-celebratory hangovers a bit less uncomfortable.