9/17/14 Ebola Fighters to Liberia

President Obama can’t catch a break, and everyone can use a break from time to time.

He is being criticized for some sinister plan he is harboring because he has announced the sending 3,000 American military personnel to assist CDC efforts in Liberia to help stem the growing danger of the Ebola (EHV) virus. The soldiers are to provide security and work in helping to train Liberians to safely care for those infected with the virus. Of all the troops deployed around the world, these will likely be those directly in the greatest harm’s way.

When the Bubonic Plague was ravaging Europe in the dark ages, the world just did not wake up one morning to mass death. It started slowly and increased exponentially. The disease’s growth was like taking a penny and multiplying the daily cumulative total by two for month. For the first two weeks, it doesn’t get you very far, but you begin to notice the third week, and remarkable things happen in the final week.

Day 1 – I have a penny. I can’t do much with a penny.

Day 15 – I have a cumulative total of $327.67. That’s not an amount I want to waste, but I can’t even pay my power bill with that.

Day 30 – Day 30 alone brought in $5,368,709.12, for a monthly cumulative total of $10,737,418.23. Not too shabby for a month if that were income, having started with a mere penny, but if I was paying, well, I’d think that an egregious, insurmountable burden.

It could be that the greatest threat facing the world at this moment is EHV. If it is not contained in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra-Leone, and Nigeria, and escapes West Africa, as it is likely to do, the world will be in immediate peril. It seems to me that an all out effort to check the disease now may pay a handsome dividend, but we won’t know that if the all out effort is successful…we will only know if the all out effort was not quite all out enough. Stemming the spread of the disease prior to an exponential explosion is critical. I think the President is doing the right thing, I just hope it’s enough.

I salute every American soldier who will be sent to Liberia. If the disease spreads, the 3,000 soldiers could find themselves overwhelmed by millions of angry, hungry, desperate people seeking to flee the pestilence exploding before them. What can 3,000 people do against a desperate millions? What if the entire city of Lagos decided in great fear to relocate to the 25 bed field hospital being set up in Monrovia?

If one would like for the problems of ISIS and the Middle East to disappear from media coverage, just let the Ebola problem get seriously out of hand, and have the unchecked virus escape West Africa and turn up in Europe or the Americas, or even in the Middle East.

Each new person infected with the virus becomes a viral laboratory wherein the virus runs experiments on itself, until, perhaps, it morphs into something that is spread by air and not physical contact with bodily fluids. We might then find out just how small the world has become. We already know that you can be in Lagos one day, and in Jakarta, Tokyo, London, or NYC just a few hours later. Imagine a Boeing 787 filled with persons exposed to the newly morphed airborne virus, none of whom, except one, was the virus’ carrier who had not yet begun to show any symptoms but was filling the air with the virus.

Infectious diseases have incubation times. They do not manifest themselves immediately. They grow, internally, like the penny multiplied by two. The epidemic grows the same way. Right now, we don’t know just how many people are harboring the disease but have not yet displayed any symptoms.

And from the sound of it, the CDC is about to panic.

All you doomsdayers…here is your Earth/asteroid collision. Here is your Yellowstone super-caldera eruption. Here is your accidental nuclear exchange. Here is your complete breakdown of civilization as we have known it. Here is the dark ages of The Black Death pestilence staring us right in the face. It is closer than you think. Or, not. I can’t make the call.

But think about it. If it is, it started with just a penny.

The President is criticized for doing something that our CDC thinks is a minimum necessity to be effective. It the efforts are effective, he will be criticized as focusing on the wrong world problem. If it is not effective, he will be criticized for not having done enough, soon enough.

I am thinking of Rwanda, the Tutsis, and the Hutus, and how the world stood by and let them kill hundreds of thousands of each other with machetes. Of course, machetes cannot reach from Central Africa to the shores of The United States…but a microscopic virus can, and viruses, not being fully formed entities, invade and use the DNA of their host to replicate themselves, allowing for all sorts of mutations, trillions of mutations, in each and every host it invades.

This battle against Ebola can go bad, or it can go good. Either way, I am thankful our nation is doing something to help prevent its spread. This is truly a case where we serve ourselves by serving others. Good luck and best wishes. We could all be in this one before it’s over. Think not?

Well, you can put your two cents in. Just remember, yesterday it was only a penny.

©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp

2 thoughts on “9/17/14 Ebola Fighters to Liberia

  1. I live in Lagos, Nigeria. The news that ebola had arrived in the city was a terrible blow to the population, given we had also just recovered from 2 terrorist bombs and continue to hope for the recovery of the kidnapped schoolgirls. If ebola did spread amongst the general population here, it could not be contained. Few people on the mainland have clean water or flushing toilets. I can look outside my window and see people defecating into the lagoon or on the ground. We were instructed to travel everywhere by car before the ebola scare because of the risk of catching hepatitis, typhoid or cholera. Malaria is also a huge issue- and it’s the worst kind that can kill in 24 hours. The doctors are frequently on strike and the health system doesn’t cope at the best of times. Ebola would be a disaster for this country with widespread health, social and economic implications for the entire West African region. I am very grateful for the assistance given by the Obama administration and it will do a lot to help the situation. I wish the troops all the best and hope they all come home safely.


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