American officials said Wednesday that Ebola has now spread to five West African countries and would likely continue to spread across the region. They didn’t stop there, however; in contrast to earlier reports from the CDC which said that the disease posed little threat to the U.S., government officials now maintain that this could turn into a worldwide epidemic. “This is not an African disease,” said Gayle Smith of the National Security Council.
Nearly 1,500 people have died as a result of the Ebola outbreak, but it has only affected a handful of American health workers in the region. More than 3,000 Africans have contracted the virus this year, however, and health experts maintain that the outbreak could get worse before it gets better. In an age where people are constantly traveling from one side of the globe to the other, many observers wonder if enough is being done to get a handle on the epidemic. Tom Kenyon of the CDC insists that the disease is spreading much too fast for health workers to keep up.
Kenyon said in a briefing Wednesday that isolation, treatment, and safe burial were the most important components of a path forward. He said that experimental, promising drugs like ZMapp were not going to be ready in time to make much of a difference. Though ZMapp has helped save people since the start of the outbreak, the company in charge of the drug has run out of the solution. It will be several months before more of it is available. Even if it was available on a widespread basis, it has not proven to be flawlessly effective. Some have died even after receiving the medication.
As recently as a month ago, the director of the CDC was telling reporters that though Ebola posed a significant threat to Africa, “it’s not going to be a huge risk in the U.S.” But we’ve heard that story before. The government assured us that AIDS was not going to cross the homosexual border. They assured us that ISIS was the “JV team” and nothing to worry about. They assured us that the attack on Benghazi was merely the result of a shoddily-made movie on YouTube. All of these things turned out to be false, and there is plenty of evidence that the government knew the truth much sooner than it let on.
That’s why it’s hard to be content with what they’re telling us about this Ebola outbreak. Especially when it would provide the president with the perfect distraction from his failed policies at home and abroad. Why, there’s a big bad disease on the rise! You’re talking to me about some guys in Iraq? But he hasn’t used it for that purpose, which gives me a funny feeling. Could there be something the government’s not telling us about Ebola? Will we be coughing our way into American emergency rooms before we find out the truth?