Tuesday, December 16, 2014

@$$Clown Of The Ides: Chuck U Very Much, Senator...

The real motivation for all that Ebola preparedness comes out:
(PORKVILLE) - Senator Chuck Schumer on Monday called on U.S. secretary of health and human services Sylvia Mathews Burwell to recognize the enormous amount New York hospitals have spent preparing for and treating the Ebola virus, and use some of the money she was given by Congress to reimburse hospitals for their expenses.
Burwell has 30 days to come up with a spending plan for the $733 million her agency received from the latest continuing resolution, a $1.1 trillion spending package that allotted a total of $5.4 billion to combat Ebola.
Most of that money is headed to West Africa, where the epidemic continues to claim thousands of lives, but some can be used domestically.
Schumer said he would like New York hospitals to receive roughly $50 million
         “I am urging secretary Burwell to make sure all of New York's institutions are completely reimbursed for their funding,” Schumer said at a press conference today outside Bellevue Hospital. “That was the purpose of the fund when we push for it and created it.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has already reimbursed Bellevue, a part of the city's Health and Hospitals Corporation, $20 million for the expenses it incurred when treating Dr. Craig Spencer, the physician who contracted Ebola while working with Doctors Without Borders in West Africa.
But other hospitals have spent tens of millions of dollars preparing for the virus, Schumer said.
Montefiore has spent approximately $7.5 million building a biocontainment unit and training staff, Mount Sinai has spent between $7 and $8 million, and New York Presbyterian has spent roughly $3.3 million, according to Schumer's office.
Ken Raske, president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, estimated the ten Ebola-designated hospitals in New York have collectively spent between $50 million and $75 million on capital construction, the purchase of protective gear and training.
Try and look surprised at the prospect of a Democrat senator trying to shove both arms armpit deep into the taxpayers' pockets and keep everything he can get his hands on.

Webster's Dictionary could save space by consolidating the entry for Chuck and the entry for chutzpah. Or at least using the same picture.


Anonymous said...

How could one hospital possibly spend $20 million treating a single patient?

Bezzle said...
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Bezzle said...

Don't worry; be happy....

Jennifer said...

Not relevant to this particular post, but...
I live in farm country. Apart from NPR and Rush, we have three radio stations: country, country, and western. One day a week I volunteer at our free clinic.
Today I brought a family back and had to assist the patient to walk back to treatment area. I thought pt was deaf, as s/he didn't answer any questions. As soon as one relative spoke up for pt, I realized something was...different. I asked where they were from. Guess what? A certain large city in West Africa known for a current outbreak. My heart stopped for a moment. They came over two months ago. I didn't ask why. Crashing on couches with relatives. You think you're safe in BFE? You're not. It would have been nice if the people at the front desk had told me beforehand, but as per usual, no one wants to offend anyone. Yhea me!
I'm supposed to work ER the next four nights, so I called the hospital. Their answer: s/he wasn't symptomatic of anything, so come on in. This protocol just gives me so much confidence, I can't even tell you.

Ex-Dissident said...


I just read your link and .... where do they find these idiots. I mean doesn't the writer need to know something about statistics before he publishes an article on the topic?

Anonymous said...


That is pretty scary. I'm in a major oil city, and we have constant movement between here and there. We are NOT screening at our airport either.

Some of my relatives are like "what are you worried about, it is no where near you." Well, I love them but they are not thinking about things correctly.

This thing can and WILL pop up somewhere unexpected, because no one is looking for it. When it does, it will probably be well established in the wild before detection. At least here, when people start dying, other people KNOW about it. That may be the first indication we get.

In other news, 20+ NHL players have mumps, many despite having received vaccine boosters lately. If the vaccine isn't working that is bad news indeed.


Anonymous said...

Ex-D, you aren't kidding. If I read that right, UP TO 70% of cases aren't reported. Which means, for every 100 cases, 30 are reported, and more than twice as many AREN'T.

That is pretty much the same as saying that actual cases are 2-3 times higher than reported, WHICH IS EXACTLY THE SAME RATE as previously reported by WHO and others.

In other words, I'm at a loss to see how this is any different than before and how this is good news.

But I'm no math genius, so maybe I'm confused....


geoffb said...
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geoffb said...

Here's a link to the mumps story.

"Before we speculate, it's useful to know a bit about disease transmission, particularly because it's such a rare disease—I've only seen it a handful of times. Most kids are vaccinated against it twice; first at the age of 1, and again around the age of 5, when they receive the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps, rubella) before starting kindergarten. Mumps is spread in respiratory droplets, often in the form of a sneeze. Symptoms can take up to three weeks to develop, which means many players might have the virus in their body today but won't know it until tomorrow. Or next week. (It's similar to what we saw with the doctor who went jogging and bowling while the Ebola virus was festering in his body). This makes it exceedingly difficult to identify and quarantine the hockey players who feel fine but are potentially spreading the disease—players who were immunized as children and, in theory, should be protected.
Dr. Judith Aberg, chief of infectious diseases at Mount Sinai blames the outbreak on the nature of the game. "You see the hits that they have, and sometimes the spraying of saliva," she recently said. "I think they are high risk. I am surprised we haven't actually seen this before."

Saliva spray may be part of it, but there's plenty of that at the line of scrimmage and you don't see the NFL dealing with a mumps outbreak. (The NFL has its own outbreak problems.) A more complete explanation of hockey's mumps conundrum involves something called waning immunity. Put simply, the vaccine loses strength over time. We know this because of some fascinating observational studies from the last major mumps outbreak.

In 2006, thousands of college kids in the Midwest became infected with mumps, despite the fact that most had received the vaccine. This phenomenon is called vaccine failure, and scientists divide it into two categories: primary and secondary. Primary vaccine failure occurs when the body doesn't produce antibodies in response to the initial immunization, but this is relatively rare with the mumps vaccine. Secondary failure occurs when the body fails to maintain an adequate level of antibodies, despite having an initially strong response to the immunization. This is what we're seeing in the NHL.

Back in 2006, researchers found that college students who came down with mumps had been immunized more than ten years earlier than roommates who didn't contract the disease. "

geoffb said...

Sierra Leone has begun house-to-house searches in the capital Freetown to find hidden cases of Ebola.

I hear Liberia has a lot of empty Ebola beds to fill, so solution.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like time for a merger to capture some of the 'synergy'.


Bezzle said...

According to our man on the scene, three days ago:

"...67-year-old Dr Victor Willoughby is "still stable and responding well to treatment and his condition has not deteriorated at all", deputy minister of health Madinatu Rahman told me, quoting the head of the Lakka hospital where he's receiving treatment...."

Today (actually yesterday): he croaks. So, TWO DAYS between "responding well" and dead.

And the hits keep on coming: "Sierra Leone, caught in the grip of the Ebola crisis, is bracing itself for a sharp increase in cases of the killer disease over the Christmas period...."

geoffb said...

Polifact, where political lies equal truth.

"Fox News analyst George Will claimed Ebola could be spread into the general population through a sneeze or a cough, saying the conventional wisdom that Ebola spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids was wrong.

"The problem is the original assumption, said with great certitude if not certainty, was that you need to have direct contact, meaning with bodily fluids from someone, because it's not airborne," Will said. "There are doctors who are saying that in a sneeze or some cough, some of the airborne particles can be infectious." False.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., described Ebola as "incredibly contagious," "very transmissible" and "easy to catch." Mostly False.

Anonymous said...

"while the burial teams had to throw stones at pigs roaming among the rubbish to keep them away from the dead."


What will happen when they STOP throwing stones?? Can the virus survive in pigs? I know pigs are often used as test subjects due to their similarity to humans.

Also, those are the definition of 'shallow graves'. I can imagine what that area will be like in a month.

Unholy hell....


Grouch, MD said...

Yes, virus can survive.in pigs. Unlike in humans, in pigs Ebola is a pneumonia, raising the possibility of droplet or airborne transmission.

Jennifer said...

Anonymous Nick - I followed the daily mail article, and looking closely, not only are the graves shallow, but they appear to be dug in a garbage dump if you look at the rubbish ends sticking out the sides of the graves. The presence of a dump might explain the presence of the pigs. Pigs will quite easily root out anything festering in those 'graves,' and, being omnivores and probably feral, will quite happily dine on the contents. There was a reason everyone freaked out when Dorothy fell into the pigpen. You will find nothing alive in a hog lot. No birds, no snakes no squirrels, nothing. They eat it. And yes, they do get Ebola.
and, Mikexx - I couldn't follow the link. (?)

Anonymous said...

geoffb.. I knew PolitiFact was full of it sometimes. Now I am absolutely CERTAIN. That's all it took, right there. They just every shred of bit of credibility they ever had with me in one tiny little "False" statement. There's no nuance there, no discussion of droplet transmission through coughs or sneezes, nothing. Just "False". Well, I now know who not to trust in ANY way.

Meanwhile Ebola is coming roaring back in the news as I figured it would based on the numbers. It's still happening even if it's not in the news, so as Aesop has been saying, I'm continuing to prepare because so far it hasn't been stopped at all. Good to have this kind of lead time though, and I still hope vaccinations win the race.

geoffb said...

Hllbillygirl G,

This epidemic started from a child being infected from the blood of some "bush meat" it is said. The meat being likely some fruit bats which serve as a reservoir of the virus in the wild. I wonder if the pigs could do the same and infect someone killing and butchering them for food?

Jennifer said...

Well, if, as I suspect, the pigs are feral, they could be considered bushmeat, much like the wild pigs roaming the Ozarks and Appalachia - domestic animals turned out in the woods to forage and flavor the meat, and who chose not to return. I don't know if there are any studies of Ebola in pork products. I'm looking. The muslims living in the area wouldn't be eating them, but still might be exposed to droppings etc.
Maybe these outbreaks are cyclical in nature like our rabies flare-ups.

Bezzle said...

1000 new confirmed cases in just six days; at that rate, there will be 20,000 confirmed cases by Christmas.

Multiply by whatever fudge factor you like for the real likely number.

Anonymous said...

Child hospitalized in Chicago for possible ebola after airport screening.


Ex-Dissident said...

The following is a useful site if you wish to track cases in Sierra Leone. About 13 percent of found corpses are confirmed to have Ebola and their total case is over 8900 at last report. The information predates WHO reports by about 5 days.


geoffb said...

Sierra Leone daily pdfs for Dec. here.

Anonymous said...

The Chicago report answered a question I've been asking since October, which is "what happened to the 2 people admitted for observation?" Apparently, no ebola.

It is slightly concerning that the reporter kept emphasizing that there were no "confirmed" ebola cases. With all the lawyerly parsing going on, I'll forgive myself for being a little paranoid.


slowpoke said...

Looks like chicago is trying out for the dance now:


geoffb said...

(Reuters) - The death toll from Ebola in the three worst-affected countries in West Africa has risen to 7,373 among 19,031 cases known to date there, the World Health Organization said on Saturday.

The latest data, posted overnight on the WHO website, reflected nearly 500 new deaths from the worst ever outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since previous WHO figures were issued on Dec. 17.

KC said...

This article says that more than 50 bodies a day are being buried in Kenema - that would be 1500 deaths a month of reported deaths in one city in Sierra Leone.......

To find Andrew Kondoh, walk through the gates of Kenema's largest cemetery, where teams bury more than 50 bodies in white plastic bags each day. Look for the man with the wispy goatee and big belly who is overseeing one of the world's most chaotic, dangerous graveyards as if he's done it all before.

geoffb said...

From that piece.

"In August, to stop the chain of transmission, the government of Sierra Leone mandated that all of the deceased be buried as if they had Ebola – in body bags and by teams in protective gear. "

The Kenema district has over 650,000 people and so it would be expected to have 30-60 deaths per day normally without Ebola.

Irish said...

Hi Aesop,

I just wanted to pass this link along to you.


All the best


Willburr said...


Scary. 1400+ potential cases here. And still no travel restrictions. Insanity.

Anonymous said...

That number has been pretty steady, so on the plus side, it seems that 1400 )on a rolling basis)is about what we can expect. If it changes dramatically, then we need to worry.

'Course, to KNOW if it changes, it would have to be publicly reported.


geoffb said...

Cases 19,374 Deaths 7,533 as of 22 December 2014
Wiki page on Dec. 23rd

Cases 19,465 Deaths 7,580 as of 21 December 2014
Wiki page on Dec 24thNumbers move up, time moves backward.

Jennifer said...

yes, found several articles referencing porcine-to-human transfer, but these were all cases resulting from handling the pigs themselves. Haven't found anything about actually eating the meat. Domestic pigs here are usually raised in sealed off barns with handlers practicing isolation techniques due to the pigs being so susceptible to disease as well as being genetically similar. Different environment than Africa, but a lot of potential for disaster.

geoffb said...

Hllbillygirl G

I was thinking more along the lines of getting infected from the blood of butchering the meat.

Like it is suspected that the first case in this present epidemic came from a child touching the blood of an infected animal.

geoffb said...

Cases 19,648 Deaths 7,645 as of 22 December 2014 reported on Dec. 25th 2014

Cases up 183, deaths up 65, in one day in "official" numbers.