By the Way: Ebola

The outbreak is still burning out of control, now more than ever.

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Dec 7 2014, 8:04pm

​Image: CDC

​As of Dec. 4, there were ​17,290 reported cases of Ebola.

The outbreak has continued to spiral out of control in Liberia, and more recently in Sierra Leone as well. ​A piece in the New York Times this weekend describes the scene in the latter nation as an unmanaged clusterfuck where patients die after waiting full-on days for ambulances and hospital beds are occupied by patients just waiting for test results, which can take days to arrive, or waiting to be released, while critical infections die waiting outside.

Meanwhile, massive shiny new medical centers sit unused in the desert. In Sierra Leone, there are thousands of British soldiers and relief workers arriving every day, but no doctors. The country's government recently uncovered 6,000 "ghost" health care workers on its payroll, while the real ones go unpaid. Last week, Sierra Leone recorded 100 new Ebola cases in a single day, which is surely an underestimate.

The outbreak was supposed to burn out around 20,000 cases, but the growth rates apparent in the CDC graph above would seem to suggest that we'll blast right through that figure. Though you wouldn't know it from the news cycle, which almost seems to be making a point of excluding Ebola, at least now that it's again confined to Africa.