How Many Ebola Cases In The U.S. Will There Be By November? One Estimate Says 25
It's a new day, and you know what that means — a new scary report on Ebola developments. Researchers at Northeastern University have created a digital model to track the disease, and according to its current projections, the number of U.S. Ebola cases could rise to nearly 25 by November. While this estimate — based on a number of factors, including progress of containment in West Africa, disease activity, and flight patterns — is a real possibility, experts also insist that the situation will not become a nationwide health crisis. In fact, the general public is probably not where Ebola will inflict the most damage in the U.S.
The computer model was created by Northeastern University's Mobs Lab, which develops models that examine the spread of infectious diseases, study social behavior, and follow the evolution of social and technological networks. One of its researchers, Alessandro Vespignani, told Bloomberg that, most likely, there will be at least a few more cases involving travelers who come into the states already infected but not showing symptoms and the health workers who treat them. However, he added to Bloomberg, 25 is an outside figure and it's unlikely that the number of U.S. cases will grow to that number.
Vespignani explained that the projections only run through October because the data is based on the current situation in West Africa. If the outbreak there continues to advance, then the numbers for the U.S., and many other countries, could grow. The best we can do right now, he says, is "be rational for the next couple of months." He and his team will reassess the containment progress in Africa after November and project new numbers.
Where the Real Risk Lies
According to some experts, the Ebola virus won't spread far beyond the medical community. The disease is the most infectious during its peak, and those who have it will most likely already be admitted to the hospital by then. The nurses and health care workers who treat these patients are the most susceptible to infection, but those outside of the medical world are far less vulnerable.
Where the Most Damage Will Be Done
Other experts say that for developed countries, Ebola will wreak the most havoc not on people's health, but on the nations' economies. Ebola scares have started disrupting public travel at airports, including LAX, while new screening protocol is expected to cause delays at Heathrow. Travel isn't the only industry being hit by the disease, however. global stock markets are also feeling the effects as stocks plummet due to Ebola fears.
But perhaps that's better than a deadly outbreak of pandemic proportions, says Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center For Disease Dynamics, Economics, and Policy in D.C. "It’s not going to be like the movie Contagion," he told Bloomberg.
What the Officials Are Doing to Curb the Number of Cases
So what are health and government officials doing to make sure that the number of cases doesn't reach 25, or above? After it was discovered that the CDC allowed the second Ebola-infected nurse, Amber Vinson to fly from Cleveland to Dallas, the Dallas County Commissioners are holding a meeting on Thursday to declare a disaster over the potential for an Ebola outbreak. The declaration could introduce new travel restrictions for any health workers who came in contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Ebola patient who died last Wednesday. And the CDC is now planning to interview all 132 passengers who flew on the same flight as Vinson and monitor them.
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