So, over a few short months, we have gone from being one of the few talking about this (even on medical-related blogs, who should have known better) and way out ahead of the crowd, to being right first, to being just one of hundreds of sites and links, all tripping over the same stories (except for medical-related blogs, who should know better). The prospect of a horrible death apparently concentrates peoples’ minds wonderfully. But at least people are paying attention now, which was the object of the exercise. So the new question is, what next?
1) Ebola isn’t going away in Africa anytime soon. As of 1 October, it’s nearly 7500 cases and 3500 deaths, and those are the “official” (i.e. total horseshit) numbers coming out of W. Africa, the most backwards, illiterate, corrupt hellhole on the planet nine years out of any ten, forever. The CDC was guesstimating the reality numbers may be 2.5 times higher. Only this week, Sierra Leone, whose numbers have been hanging fairly small since Liberia started driving the bus in this outbreak, announced 120+ deaths in one day. Those people didn’t get sick and die overnight; they were clearly infected 3-5 weeks prior. And that one day jump took the death toll there beyond what it is in Liberia, with has 3-4 times as many infected victims. Conclusion: things there are 3-4 times higher and worse than official numbers, and probably the same for Guinea and Liberia as well.
2) Outside help isn’t accomplishing anything fast enough, and likely never will. As already noted, because there are 3000 more dead bodies (again, “officially”), and 4000 more sick patients, in countries that were more than 2000 beds short back in late September. And we’ve built exactly nothing since then. Supplies sit untouched on harbor docks, because the local kleptocrats haven’t had their palms greased to let them in. And no one new has been trained to staff any imaginary new care centers even if we’d built so much as one. In fact, more doctors have been evacuated back to the countries of origin, infected with Ebola, even as the patient load doubles roughly every three weeks. Therefore:
3) The people and governments are going to be more desperate, and closer to panic and collapse, rather than less so, over time. Duncan took a powder, and lied his way through screenings, when Liberia had but 3000 total cases. It’s past 4000 now. By the end of the month, they’ll have 6000 cases, and likely 12,000 before Thanksgiving. Draw your own conclusions on how much calmer the populace will be then, and how much stronger and competent the respective governments will be. Every day, more and more people there will realize the end position on this epidemic there, and they will rush the lifeboats: more frequently, and more desperately. And the so-called guardians at the ports of exit now are illiterate peasants baffled by the complexities of a drugstore thermometer, with a long and colorful history of taking care of those with the most cash, starting with themselves, when things get sporty. Everybody cheerfully assumes that Duncan only lied to get out; when in fact, the historical odds are, he also slipped somebody a Benjamin (or there, a sawbuck), and his “exit visa” was magically provided and approved. That’s how business is transacted at most borders at most times since forever.
4) Numbers One, Two, and Three, lead inexorably to Number Four: Duncan was merely the FIRST Ebola patient we’ll be getting (as long as the jacktards in charge keep the pipeline open), rather than the LAST. Duncan’s problems are over, and even the 50 people in Dallas sweating bullets until the 20th aren’t the major concern. The problem is the next 1, or 5, or 20 Duncans who get off of planes in NYC, DC, Boston, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, etc. Not if, but when, exactly as the CDC told every hospital in the country two weeks before Duncan walked into Texas Health Presbyterian, and started the party. Flight crews on commercial airplanes are no better trained nor equipped, the “screenings”, there, here, or anywhere, will do little to catch infected people, and nothing at all to stop those like Duncan in the latent incubation stage of Ebola. Like TSA screenings of your shoes and cavity searches for underwear bombs, it’s kabuki theatre to simulate action, with no real effect. Hospitals are mostly no better off, and will respond, each time, exactly as THP did: poorly, clumsily, and while endangering the health of everyone concerned. Everybody has to burn their hand on the stove before they really get what “hot” means. So our troubles aren’t over on Oct. 20th, or whenever the last Duncan-related contact passes from quarantine isolation precautions. They’ve just begun, until the last patient anywhere in the world passes out of quarantine. And that will be like earthquakes: Only until the next time.
5) All of this completely ignores the people who WANT to bring Ebola here. Anybody willing to strap 40 pounds of Semtex and hardware parts to his chest, walk into a pizzeria or schoolyard, and be a not-so-smart bomb for Allah, will have no compunction whatsoever about deliberately infecting themselves with Ebola, waiting until they turn symptomatic, and then going for daily walks at malls, movie theatres, swap meets, shows, conventions, amusement parks, sports events, concerts, or just ride all day on a commuter train, and anything else they can manage, and lying about all their contacts and visits after they collapse, because 72 virgins. That’s just how they roll. The gist of the entire asinine “Ebola isn’t that big a deal” mindset depends entirely on honest and accurate contact tracing from the infected. When those who bring it here don’t give a damn about helping, and actually lie about their whereabouts, it’s too late for some governmental jackass Inspector Clousseau to slap his forehead and exclaim “Aha! We never thought of that clever gambit!!” (But that they will anyways is a good reason to bring back the rack, thumbscrews, hot pincers, and burning at the stake as part of the government bonus negative reinforcement plan for that sort of official stupidity.)
6) One through Five inclusive lead to a high likelihood that somewhere, sometime, a city or larger locale will be stricken and overwhelmed by Ebola. Dallas could still get there if 5-10 of those contacts become symptomatic in rapid succession. The same would be true if a dozen or so cases cropped up anyplace. Imagine someone infecting 50-100 contacts, and then not conveniently calling the CDC to alert the Usual Suspects to get cracking. Like if they just sat in some little squalorous dive and quietly died, and nobody found them for a few days, by which point patients 2 through 20 all showed up with symptoms before anyone knew there was a Reference Patient. That city would be so far from screwed at that point it would be hard to see it from where they were. And it could be my town, or yours. Tracing 2000-10,000 contacts a week later is a total fantasy. And don’t even try selling me how the crack CDC/DHS/FEMA/.GOV juggernaut would leap into action to save the day. They’re the reason Duncan got here in the first place, and there’s little the government ever does right, even on their best day. Anybody trying to sell you anything else is running for office, or lobbying for a government contract, either way, entirely at your expense. If they do anything that helps, it will be secondarily, and accidentally, as a near-certainty.
7) YOYO: You’re On You’re Own. You need to pay attention to the news, both to see what they’re telling you, and what they’re not. (The latter, as I’ve demonstrated on this blog lately, will always be the larger volume.) You need to make your own plan to take care of yourself, and your family/tribe/group if you have that. Ebola is not going to low-crawl up your driveway and butt-rape you in your sleep. (Somebody desperate for your belongings might, but you knew about that already, right? Right?) So you may, as a result of future outbreak(s), need to be able to come up with food, water, and other necessities of life (sanitation, power, heat, and so on) for an extended period of time. Three days gets you Jack, except a guarantee you’re in a refugee camp on Day Four. Start with a month, absolute bare minimum. Work up in increments to six. (More than that still is better.) If you can’t make another plan with that 6-month to Whatever cushion to do it in, you have bigger problems than Ebola. FYI, Ebola has been going on in W.Africa since last March, with no end in sight. Ponder what that could mean if you get caught inside a county or state quarantine here, next month or next year. And for the love of anything holy, abandon any idea that you’re going to stock up on hazmat suits, masks, goggles, gloves, etc. etc., as if you were going to daily venture out amidst the problem, or as if, in a quarantine, you being out on the street at all wouldn’t be carte blanche for the local constables to throw a bag on you and put you in an Ebola Quarantine/Treatment Center, where if you didn’t have it when you went in, circumstances would soon solve that problem for you. Stay your ass home, period. The only possible exception to that is if you have a relatively secluded place to go outside the big cities (As Remus says about weekly “Avoid crowds.”), and you go there beforehand. Whether or when is up to you. Five days early is better than one hour too late, but it’s entirely your decision. And you still have to provide yourself all the same necessities once you get there, just likelier in a much better starting position versus someone in a condo in Georgetown or Manhattan would be. Read, think, plan, acquire. And STFU about it. You’re not “hoarding”, you’re prudently preparing to not be part of the problem once there is one. Stay home, and keep your head down, and if there’s an outbreak and local quarantine, stay in the house, read a book, and wait for it to burn itself out. And please, sweet suffering Shiva, vote the current @$$clowns out of office. Not because of their party, but because they’re idiots. We may be just exchanging @$$clowns, but no one could do a worse job than what we’ve got now, and there’s always a chance it will help. You’ve got nothing to lose for trying. Government didn’t create Ebola, they’re just too incompetent to do the right things about it to not make it worse. Do what you can, where you are, with what you’ve got, so it doesn’t get worse for you. Government is all about selfishness. You be about self-preservation and self-reliance.