Friday, October 17, 2014

A Word Or Two About Ebola...

Man, this is just turning into a complete and utter goat-rope, isn't it? I mean, we're seeing actual news articles out there that would have been rejected by the staff at the Onion for being too far-fetched:

First, we have a cleanup crew powerwashing the outside of an apartment where the first ebola patient was staying in the US after he vomited all over the sidewalk. Notice the distinct lack of anything even remotely resembling protective gear, caution tape, or anything that might indicate folks should stay away.

A nurse who treated the first ebola patient called the CDC to see if she should fly, even though she had begun to exhibit signs. The CDC cleared her to fly on multiple occasions. Now, it's bad enough that the CDC told someone that DIRECTLY INTERACTED WITH AN EBOLA PATIENT that it was okay to get on a plane despite running a fever, but for a gorram nurse to STILL GET ON THE PLANE???

We have a "supervisor" overseeing the transfer of someone stricken with ebola shown in immediate proximity to the patient with zero protective gear. The official Ishityounot explanation is that he needed to be able to see the transfer. Folks, if you believe that, I have oceanfront property in Kansas to sell you.

The director of the CDC is apparently telling people you can give - but not get - ebola on a bus. Because that makes ALL kinds of sense. If someone shouldn't get on a bus if they think they have the virus, then clearly you *could* catch it on a bus. Or a plane.

And speaking of planes, airports are now screening travelers arriving from West Africa. There's no word on what they're going to do if they do find someone with an ebola-like fever. $20 says they'll admit the person to a hospital, but not quarantine the entire plane.

And of course, there's the blame game:

Ebola is the fault of the NRA. Because the NRA opposes Vivek Murthy as the US Surgeon General, and is apparently the sole reason he has not been approved, the ebola outbreak happened. Or something like that.

Ebola is the fault of the GOP-led Congress. Apparently we're not shoveling money at ebola research fast enough. We can sponsor studies into why certain protected groups get fat and others don't, and waste allll kinds of money attempting to treat firearms like a disease, but cut funding even the slightest and ZOMG EBOLA.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm not panicking about ebola, far from it. What I am doing, though, is taking note of how pathetic our response has been. We haven't stopped people from coming to the US from infected areas, even though Europe has done exactly that, we haven't taken any serious measures whatsoever, and our policy appears to be little more than "run around like a decapitated chicken reacting poorly to every new twist in the crisis." I'm not filled with anything resembling confidence at how this administration would handle ANY crisis after watching their laughable response to the ebola situation.

Another thing that gets me, though, is that *both* sides have crackpot conspiracy theories out now. The loony left is represented above, while the crazy right is running around babbling about FEMA concentration camps and Obama canceling the mid-term elections using ebola as a cover. When both sides start coming out with batshit insane conspiracy theories, that's rather worrisome. I fear it's because the truth is almost scarier: This administration is in WAY over its head, has no f**king clue what it's doing, and hasn't the faintest idea how to deal with any of this. It appears their plan is nothing more than "hide under a pile of blankets and hope this all goes away."

I think I'd go for conspiracy theories, too.

That is all.


threecollie said...

To visit a dairy barn you need to don protective plastic booties so you don't spread disease from your farm to theirs. To visit a hog farm you often have to shower and put on different clothing before entering barns for fear of the dreaded PVD virus or other contagions. But if you are messing around with a deadly human plague, well, just don't bother. It boggles my mind too.

Glenn B said...

Are FEMA camps so far fetched that they are to be called a conspiracy theory of the crackpot right? I sure seem to recall that about two years ago, Obama pushed through an executive order authorizing such camps in cases of national emergency. Note, I do not call them concentration camps as they are supposedly going to be used to house people after calamities like Katrina. Seemingly, at least to me, that they might be implemented in an Ebola outbreak does not seem far fetched. Nor does it seem far fetched, if there is truly a huge outbreak, that the government by way of militarized law enforcement would seize food and other supplies from the citizenry (also authorized by executive order). Besides signing the executive orders authorizing such, add the fact that Obama recently said the CDC will send in a CDC SWAT team to scoop up the patient(s) when they are advised that anyone has contracted Ebola. For some reason, that seems to add to the concerns that, if this Ebola outbreak gets much worse, the government may take drastic actions to try solve the problem and to cover their absolutely inept bumbling up to that point. Sadly, such action would probably be too late at that point. Complete quarantine for any suspected Ebola vector and of those who had contact with such person should have been implemented immediately.

If the outbreak becomes bad enough, such may well include interment / quarantine of patients and others (such as those with suspected contact with patients)in FEMA camps. If that is still so far fetched, you should really review history. Government interment of large groups of people is well recorded. The Japanese during WWII under a former Demoncrat were so interred and their property was also stolen from them by the government. Then there are the tens or maybe hundreds of thousands who were quarantined in the Plague Houses on islands in New York Harbor. Of course some would argue that similar happened to the American Indians.

I am not saying that mandatory quarantine in such camps is necessarily a bad thing but I cannot imagine it being anything but evil(or at least being totally bungled) under the current administration. What I am saying though is that the possibility of it happening is quite real and it is not crackpot to think it can take place in light of history and in light of the potential for the current outbreak of this disease to become an epidemic.

All the best,
Glenn B

Evyl Robot Michael said...

How about another conspiracy theory to consider... In a time of flagrant vote fraud and an FBI that will perpetrate deliberate persecution against those opposed to the current administration, and a government that leaks weapons to foreign organized crime groups; could the root cause of the apparent bumbling response from the CDC actually be a calculated allowance of the virus to spread? Sounds like a pretty good distraction from the hard questions the administration has been dodging over the last six years. I'm certainly not saying that this is what I believe, but it is interesting to consider.

Ted said...

But........ But.....that guy is carrying a CLIPBOARD .

He is covered under the Clip Board Rule!

An official with a clipboard is exempt from any and all rules, regulations, or requirements. As far as you are concerned they don't even exist!

You got that???


Roger said...

The massive incompetence of this administration is staggering. No matter what the calamity, look for someone to blame. ALWAYS a conservative or critic of the administration. The president of the United States is AWOL on each and every calamity, scandal, misfortune and "mis-spoke". We have no leadership, no integrity, no morality and no honesty in washington, much less competence.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Hey, but Obama's appointed an Ebola Czar! Everything's going to be okay now!

Now that we have someone in charge of containing Ebola and preventing it from becoming a full fledged devastating pandemic, everything will be fine! Dr. Ron Klain is highly qualified, with lots of experience managing national health issues and contagious diseases.

Wait... what? He's not a doctor? He's a lawyer? With no medical or scientific background whatsoever?

So, what are his qualifications?

Oh, I see. He was Biden's chief of staff. And Al Gore's. And he worked on Kerry's campaign. And Clinton's. And worked on Gore's recount committee in 2000.

So, our new Ebola Czar, in charge of managing our nation's response in preventing a deadly pandemic, is a totally unqualified Party hack.

We are so boned.

ProudHillbilly said...

Don't forget, Jake, that Klain reports to Susan Rice. I bet they're out there looking for a video right now.

Anonymous said...

The POTUS has thrown the country under the bus. And it's going to be the states that end up dealing with this, the states that organize things, and the states that have to cough up the $$.


Stretch said...

"Fundamentally Transform"

That's what he said.
That's what he meant.

wolfwalker said...

I generally agree with your points, Jay. However, this one:

"The director of the CDC is apparently telling people you can give - but not get - ebola on a bus."

needs some attention. I've been hearing it for several days now, and even people who ought to know better are getting it flatly wrong. There is a way to get the CDC guy's statement to make sense -- and it actually does do a fairly good job of describing the risk in getting on a bus/plane/train with an Ebola victim.

Recall that by everything we know, the virus can only spread through infected body fluids. That includes blood, vomit, bile, semen. AFAIK it does not include sweat or breath. IOW, you cannot get the virus simply by sitting next to somebody who is infected. However, if you sit next to somebody who is bleeding or vomiting, then you need to worry.

In short: if you are on a bus and you don't have Ebola, and you just sit next to someone who does, you (probably, by everything we know) can't get it. But if you get on a bus and you already have it, and you start bleeding or vomiting, then the chance of you giving it to somebody else goes way, WAY up.

In any case, I think we can all agree that the best way to stop the gorram thing is to isolate everybody who tests positive and everybody who has had unprotected contact with them. And note that anything less than a full hazmat suit counts as "unprotected."

Anonymous said...

"This administration is in WAY over its head, has no f**king clue what it's doing, and hasn't the faintest idea how to deal with any of this."

Actually they deal with it the same way they dealt with Fast and Furious, Cash for Clunkers, Recovery Summer, Benghazi, IRS, Solyndra, Russia, Iran, and ISIS. They lie and deny. Then lie and deny that they ever lied and denied. And blame Bush and Raaaaacism, can't forget blaming Bush and Racism.

This time it is all happening out in public in the U.S. in real time.
-People notice when idiots say "You can't catch Ebola on a plane," and two minutes later, "People with Ebola shouldn't get on planes, because they might infect someone."
-People see the idiocy when a guy with a clipboard is in the middle of a everyone wearing bio-suits.
-People wonder why TX health workers can't fly, but West Africans from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea can fly to the U.S.

Ken O said...

Ebola Czar = Michael Brown, 2005

Old NFO said...

THey don't have a flippin clue... sigh

Cargosquid said...


Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

@ Wolfwalker: " However, if you sit next to somebody who is bleeding or vomiting, then you need to worry."

Or sneezing, or coughing. Saliva and mucus also carry the virus. Research suggests the possibility that it can become aerosolized.

Oh, and now the CDC is revising the protocols and saying that health care workers should not have any skin exposed at all.

"The new guidelines are expected to set a firmer standard: calling for full-body suits and hoods that protect worker's necks, setting rigorous rules for removal of equipment and disinfection of hands, and calling for a "site manager" to supervise the putting on and taking off of equipment.

The guidelines are also expected to require a "buddy system," in which workers check each other as they come in and go out"

It turns out that the (still) current protocols were based not on the capabilities of the virus, but on WHO guidelines for third world countries, which were based on what is usually the highest level of PPE available.

But don't worry. We've got Top Men working on it. Top. Men.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Oh, also:

"AFAIK it does not include sweat or breath."

It apparently DOES include sweat. Per the WHO website:

"People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct physical contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, stool, urine, sweat etc. of an infected person and soiled linen used by a patient." [Emphasis mine]

Geodkyt said...

Jake -- It's not a "suggestion". We already KNOW Ebola can travel aerosolized.

Just like ANY virus or bacterium that would be present in the upper respiratory track. Even viruses that only live for under a minute in open air and sunlight can travel aerosolized long enough to infect anyone in sneeze range, if a large enough viral load lands. (Note, Ebola isn't actually that contagious unlike pneumonic plague or smallpox; it is, however, highly infectious, meaning a very tiny viral load is enough for the party to begin. Unlike, say HIV, which is neither very contagious nor infectious. . . )

Geodkyt said...

(Oh, by the way, sneeze range in open, unrecirculated air is at least ten feet. Sweet dreams.)