On the heels of yesterday's almost unbelievable forecasts of the exponential rise in Ebola case counts - and warnings of a 20% chance of Ebola reaching the USA by year-end, WHO officials have confirmed that their previous forecasts of 20,000 cases "does not seem like a lot today." This has, according to Reuters, the United States announced on Tuesday that it would send 3,000 troops to help tackle the Ebola outbreak as part of a ramped-up response including a major deployment in Liberia, the country where the epidemic is spiralling fastest out of control. Perhaps even more worrisome - for those who explained how 'contained' Ebola was - is the CDC's release of an Ebola checklist warning American healthcare workers "now is the time to prepare."
The unprecedented Ebola outbreak in West Africa requires a $1 billion response to keep its spread within the "tens of thousands" of cases, United Nations officials said on Tuesday.
The virus has killed 2,461 people, half of the 4,985 infected by the virus, and the toll has doubled in the last month, World Health Organization Assistant Director General Bruce Aylward said.
"Quite frankly, ladies and gentlemen, this health crisis we're facing is unparalleled in modern times," Aylward told a news conference in Geneva. "We don't know where the numbers are going on this."
He said the WHO's previous forecast that the number of cases could reach 20,000 no longer seemed a lot, but the number could be kept within the tens of thousands with "a much faster reponse".
As Reuters reports, Obama will unveil plans to send 3,000 troops to Africa today,
The president will visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta on Tuesday to show his commitment. The stepped-up effort he will announce is to include 3,000 military forces and a joint forces command center in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, to coordinate efforts with the U.S. government and other international partners.
The U.S. response to the crisis, to be formally unveiled later by President Barack Obama, includes plans to build 17 treatment centers, train thousands of healthcare workers and establish a military control center for coordination, U.S. officials told reporters.
Liberia, a nation founded by descendants of freed American slaves, appealed for U.S. help last week.
"Highly infectious people are forced to return home, only to infect others and continue the spread of this deadly virus. All for a lack of international response," she said.
The plan will "ensure that the entire international response effort is more effective and helps to ... turn the tide in this crisis," a senior administration official told reporters on Monday, ahead of the president's trip.
"The significant expansion that the president will detail ... really represents ... areas where the U.S. military will bring unique capabilities that we believe will improve the effectiveness of the entire global response," he said.
Obama's administration has requested an additional $88 million from Congress to fight Ebola, including $58 million to speed production of the ZMapp experimental antiviral drug and two Ebola vaccine candidates.
Officials said the Department of Defense had requested to reallocate $500 million in funds from fiscal 2014 to help cover the costs of the humanitarian mission.
And then The Washingotn Examiner reports,
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warning hospitals and doctors that “now is the time to prepare,” has issued a six-page Ebola “checklist” to help healthcare workers quickly determine if patients are infected.
“Every hospital should ensure that it can detect a patient with Ebola, protect healthcare workers so they can safely care for the patient, and respond in a coordinated fashion,” warns the CDC.
“While we are not aware of any domestic Ebola Virus Disease cases (other than two American citizens who were medically evacuated to the United States), now is the time to prepare, as it is possible that individuals with EVD in West Africa may travel to the United States, exhibit signs and symptoms of EVD, and present to facilities,” it adds.
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