Thursday, October 23, 2014

Baghdad Fukuda?

World Health Organization official says its monitors are 'reasonably confident' that they're not seeing widespread Ebola transmission into countries neighboring Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The World Health Organization said on Thursday it was "reasonably confident" that the Ebola virus plaguing three West African countries has not spread widely into neighboring states. Asked whether countries such as Guinea Bissau and Ivory Coast might have cases of the disease crossing their borders without knowing about or reporting them, WHO assistant director general Keiji Fukuda said he considered that unlikely. "We are reasonably confident right now we are not seeing widespread transmission into neighboring countries." Fukuda told reporters in a briefing. "It remains a concern...(but) right now I think we are not seeing it. We will keep looking for further spread of infection, but we simply haven't seen it," he added.

Nota bene that Fukuda-san didn't say "there is not any Ebola in neighboring countires", simply that
a) it's not widespread
b) as far as we know
c) we're wholly dependent on whether our monitors are deaf, dumb, and blind.

We haven't seen qualified word-parsing like this since the last time Monica Lewinsky was in the news, 20 years ago, and the last purveyor of such ebullient optimism in the face of widespread disaster was Baghdad Bob.

What Fukuda-san just told us all, when you prune away the BS, is
"We hope not, but we have no fricckin' idea, and we really, really hope that there isn't any. But we can categorically state that no one bleeding out the ass has dropped dead right in our laps yet."

Which is just a wee bit different than saying, when asked if there are Ebola cases outside the current Big Three, a simple unqualified "No."

Then recall that this is the same WHO that told everyone that this Ebola thing was "likely" to grow to perhaps 20,000 cases, as recently as mid-August.

(FYI, the "official" total says that we hit 10,000 cases on Monday, 10/20, and the assumption is that the actual total is somewhere north of 25,000 cases, right this minute.)

So it's best to treat those peachy hopeful statements appropriately, and take them with a grain of salt.


1 comment:

A Texan said...

It might not be spreading too much in Africa (no, I don't really believe that), but it could also have come to NYC:

Here we go again.