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Friday, October 28, 2016

In U.S., Calls Mount For Major Scale-Up To Ebola Crisis

In U.S., Calls Mount For Major Scale-Up To Ebola Crisis

Washington (AFP) – The world response to the deadly Ebola crisis in West Africa needs a major scale-up that should include military flights for delivering supplies, U.S. lawmakers and leading doctors said Thursday.

The calls came amid new warnings from the World Health Organization that the viral outbreak is accelerating out of control, with 2,296 dead and 4,293 infected in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria since the start of this year.

“The problem is that unless we have a massive scale-up of resources in the form of hospital beds, personnel, equipment, we are not going to be able to control this,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease.

“We need to do something at a much higher scale that we are doing now,” he said in an interview with AFP.

“We are going to need thousands of more people, thousands of more beds,” Fauci said.

“We probably will need some sort of military presence — not with guns — but military that have logistic capabilities of flying equipment in and out, this kind of thing.”

Fauci said discussions are under way among top officials worldwide regarding how to contain the epidemic, which has fast become the largest Ebola outbreak in history.

The WHO has pledged $100 million to combat the Ebola spread, while the World Bank vowed $200 million, the European Commission $181 million, and the United States $75 million to combat.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation this week also committed $50 million to UN agencies and international organization involved in the emergency efforts.

“Ebola most likely will not become a global health threat,” wrote doctors Annette Rid of King’s College London and Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania, in the journal of the American Medical Association.

The virus only spreads among people in close contact with the bodily fluids of those infected, and most developed nations can sufficiently isolate the sick in order to ward off Ebola’s spread.

However, high-income countries have “three compelling reasons to help,” they urged, citing humanitarianism, global justice and the ethics of sharing benefits from research.

In the U.S. Senate, Christopher Coons, chairman of the subcommittee on African Affairs, called on President Barack Obama to designate a point-person for managing the U.S. response.

“We must begin to deploy United States military support to the maximum extent possible,” he added.

He praised the announcement earlier this week that the United States would be establishing a new hospital facility in Liberia.

“But I’ll admit, I’m concerned it will take weeks to deploy, Coons, a Democrat, said on the Senate floor.

“This is not everything we can and should be doing. We need to build more field hospitals, for civilians in Liberia and beyond, so that there are facilities for health workers and civilians fighting the disease.”

Coons also called on private citizens and international organizations to give whatever they could to the response effort.

AFP Photo/Inaki Gomez

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Copyright 2014 The National Memo
  • Independent1

    And keeping in step with their great humanitarianism, House Republicans this week cut the amount of money that Obama was requesting to help fight the Ebola outbreak by more than in half – his request to help do basically what this article is recommending.

    See this from The Hill:

    House Republicans indicated Tuesday that they will provide less than half of the White House’s funding request to fight Ebola in the next government spending bill. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) agreed as of Tuesday morning to spend a total of $40 million to fight the epidemic in the 2015 spending bill.

    This would include $25 million for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $15 million for the Biological Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to ramp up production of an experimental anti-Ebola drug, the source said. The White House had asked for $88 million for Ebola in total, including $58 million for BARDA, which is involved in coordinating experimental treatments during public health emergencies.

    Wow!! All of 40 million!! And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave 50 Million. Republicans should really be proud!! The EU gave 181 million and the U.S. can’t even give more than a foundation!!