“You cannot get it [Ebola] from just riding on a plane or a bus,” the President said.
…which would be true, unless, say, someone with Ebola were to cough on you. Then it wouldn’t be true.
How infectious is Ebola? So infectious that a nurse in Spain was, officials say, infected by touching her face while removing her gear. So infectious that the average patient infects 1.5 to 2 other people. If unchecked, that would mean that it would spread to every person on earth in 20-34 iterations, in less than a year. No, that won’t happen, but the World Health Organization is projecting 10,000 cases per week in Africa by December. (By the way, WHO’s projection in September for the number in late October was overly optimistic; it fell short by a factor of three.) Each patient requires 20 health workers to care for him or her, at a cost, if the most up-to-date technology were used, of $500,000 per patient. In Africa, the average income is about $2,500 a year, and the continent, with 24 percent of the population, has three percent of the healthcare workers. By the math, we are skewered.
How infectious is Ebola? Scientists studying the virus in the laboratory are supposed to do so in what are basically spacesuits, completely sealed with their own oxygen supplies, with airlocks and ultraviolet lighting and showers and other aspects of “BSL-4″ (Biosafety Level 4) laboratories, the most secure labs known to man. Only smallpox, which is believed extinct in the wild, and the viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Hantavirus, Machupo, and Ebola and its cousin Marburg are treated this carefully. Rabies and yellow fever are only BSL-3.
How infectious is Ebola? Jonathan V. Last notes in The Weekly Standard (http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/six-reasons-panic_816387.html):
In August, Science magazine published a survey conducted by 58 medical professionals working in African epidemiology. They traced the origin and spread of the virus with remarkable precision—for instance, they discovered that it crossed the border from Guinea into Sierra Leone at the funeral of a “traditional healer” who had treated Ebola victims. In just the first six months of tracking the virus, the team identified more than 100 mutated forms of it. . . .
By the by, that Science article written by 58 medical professionals tracing the emergence of Ebola—5 of them died from Ebola before it was published.
One of the legitimate responsibilities of government is to protect the public health—that is, to protect us from infectious disease and from disease caused by a common environmental source. But President Obama has appointed, to public health positions, Prohibitonists rather than public health experts: the likes of