Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man is worried Ebola has finally jumped the shark.
Not quite so much. (Yet.)
1) This is only moving fast for the DRC.
Compared to 2014 in West Africa, this epidemic is moving glacially slow.
Mainly, because unlike 2014, there is an effective experimental vaccine.
But this outbreak hasn't even reached exponential growth, unlike 2014, and it's still barely 1000 cases.
In other words, half the pure exponential growth seen in 2014.
2) The potential is still there.
We're talking about pre-literate anti-science tribal cement-heads.
They burn down the treatment centers, and steal the infected corpses back to do traditional funerals, where they fondle the festering carcasses. After eating rodentiiae from the bush that harbored the virus in the first place, and then undercooking them.
These are not humanity's brightest lightbulbs.
3) Most of them cannot cobble up bus fare to the next village, let alone air fare out of Africa.
Thank a merciful heaven.
That's on the plus side.
On the minus side:
1) The numbers we have are based on WHO and DRC self-reporting.
There is no reporting from multiple regions where they've burned the ETCs and chased out the survey teams. So it may be far worse. (The fudge factor in 2014 West Africa was 300%, minimum. I.e., if they report 100 casualties, there were at least 300.)
2) The "screening" at airports is kabuki theatre. This strain shows no fevers - the only sign checked at the airports - in 50% of confirmed cases.
IOW, this one will escape the jungle eventually, to a metaphysical certainty, five minutes after it gets to a city with an international airport. And you won't know until it's well and truly out. First notice of a case may come 5-40 days after it arrives. Now imagine how many contacts there are by Day 40, unknown and untraced. This is playing Six Degrees of Bacon with the Black Death.
3)Exactly as noted, there is no cure for Ebola, and contraction is a lifelong torture sentence, including repeated positive titer of live virus every time they check, at every known post-infection marker date: 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, etc. Like Chicken pox, it never goes away, it just becomes dormant. Until it doesn't.
4) A dozen cases won't overwhelm a city's resources: 12 cases in the US will overwhelm North America's resources.
There are only 11 BL-IV beds in all of the U.S., and none in Canada nor Mexico AFAIK.
Case #12 goes to outside hospitals.
(FTR, we had 10 Ebola cases simultaneously under treatment in the US in 2014. That's how close we came to disaster: two more patients.)
How bad is that?
One case - with the best CDC guidelines - overwhelmed all of Dallas' ability to cope, and took down a 973-bed major regional hospital for six months.
5) Absolutely nothing has been done from 2014 to now to better prepare any American hospital for Ebola. Neither in general, nor specifically. If anything, we're worse off.
6) The way to personally cope with Ebola isn't masks and gloves. That's too little, too late.
It's concertina wire and buckshot.
Followed by gasoline and road flares for the slow learners.
You aren't going to "save" nor "treat" a family member who gets it. They're effectively dead.
In Africa, Ebola Treatment Centers provide "palliative care".
Not IVs. Not medicine. Just cool cloths, cleaning up their vomit and diarrhea, and zipping them lovingly into body bags when they die.
Provided mainly by the 10-20% who manage to survive the disease, and have nothing better to do afterwards. Because as noted, they're still riddled with virus afterwards, in breast milk, sweat, semen, other secretions, etc. For God Alone knows how long afterwards.
Trying to treat even one person overwhelmed a major hospital.
You aren't going to do it with less than a staff of 50, and a warehouse full of gear, plus a crater-sized burn pit for waste products.
IOW, once it gets near you, you either self-quarantine inside a clean zone, or you don't.
There will be no going back and forth.
And bringing someone infected inside your clean zone will just make it a death zone, and kill your entire clan.
Welcome to Italy in the 1300s, when Plague arrives.
You either have enough food and water to wait it out inside a safe zone, or you don't.
In which latter case, you'll likely catch it, and then die.
So stock up on the appropriate canned goods.
In #10 food cans.
And OD ammo cans.