Well, the news everyone's secretly (or not so secretly) feared is finally coming true, albeit in a highly-controlled way — at least one Ebola-stricken patient is entering the U.S. to receive treatment at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Since news spread of the massive Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which began slowly in February before the recent surge of infections and deaths, multiple media sources have reported on the likelihood of the lethal virus making its way to America. Now, however, Ebola's being brought over willingly.
That's not to say you should worry just yet. Far from it. Just listen to Center for Disease Control director Thomas Frieden. Frieden told reporters via conference call that an American Ebola outbreak was "not in the cards," owing to the U.S.' superior medical facilities and quarantine stations — the West African crisis has also been worsened by widespread public fear and misinformation.
But it's a fair question, considering the incredibly high rate of death the disease wreaks — will Americans more vulnerable to Ebola now than they were before? The answer, sad to say, is yes. With an Ebola patient confirmed as entering the country, it's hard to dispute that the chances of a stateside incident are higher than they were with that ocean between us and any carriers of the virus.
However. This isn't meant to spread panic, as the CDC and Emory are going to be as careful with this case as can be. As anybody would be, when faced with a highly-lethal, contagious disease like Ebola — and America's facilities and health care infrastructure are vastly superior to those of the West African states currently suffering this massive outbreak. The level of caution the hospital is going to employ makes it pretty unlikely that it would go undetected and untreated long enough to pose a serious risk of outbreak.
While it's hasn't been definitively reported who's being brought over, there's been speculation that it'll be one or both of the two Americans sickened while fighting the outbreak abroad — Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol the latter of whom was administered an "experimental serum," according to NBC News. ABC News has reported that Brantly and Writebol will both be transported to Emory.
As for the ongoing crisis, victims of the virus in Africa aren't quite so fortunate as to be flown in for top-notch treatment — the World Health Organization has updated the outbreak's death toll to no fewer than 729 deaths, with 1,323 infections on record. While Ebola has historically proven lethal in 90 percent of cases, that means the death rate is only about 55 percent this time around — sort of the definition of cold comfort, but a massive improvement nonetheless.