What concerns Me about Ebola?
This site is meant to be a general repository of preparedness information, specifically for those emergencies that I think are relatively likely for people in the United States to experience. That said, a lot of the information I've posted recently has been about Ebola. Do I think Ebola is a world-ending event that's going to kill everybody? No. But do I rule out the possibility that it could kill millions? No.
I'm not an epidemiologist, but I do know a little history. A little less than 100 years ago the Spanish Flu killed somewhere between 50 and 100 million people. Yes, medicine has progressed greatly since then - but even today we still have no clue how to treat Ebola other than fluids, rest, and maybe transfusions from Ebola survivors. The doctors in 1918 would have been almost as well equipped to deal with Ebola as we are, apart from the PPE and greater general medical knowledge we have today. But in spite of our lack of ability to treat it, Ebola is advancing only slowly (albeit steadily) in terms of the number of cases. The number doubles roughly every two or three weeks. This is not a crazy, explosive disease. And it's not unstoppable, either. Nigeria had 20 cases, but recently determined it was Ebola-free after going six weeks with no new cases.
So, I don't think Ebola is going to contaminate the whole USA in the next week or two, and I don't think it's an unstoppable force either. But I do think we must consider and plan for the potential of Ebola doing a lot of damage. Why? Two reasons:
First, because God uses plague as a judgment - and America is richly deserving of judgment. As a nation we've killed so many unborn babies, waged so many unjust wars, turned morality upside down, and dishonored God. Ebola is very strange, and while it's plodded methodically across Western Africa, in America God could allow it to do far more damage. We are entirely at His mercy.
Second, even a very small epidemic could cause much larger problems for Americans. I don't consider this particular scenario probable, but what if truckers stopped making deliveries? With the hand-to-mouth existence many Americans lead, even a short disruption in the food supply could cause incredible civil disorder and loss of life. There are any number of ways an epidemic, even a very small one, could result in some very unpleasant outcomes. Not insurmountable outcomes, by any means, but ones that are much easier to deal with if you've made a few prudent preparations beforehand.
My concern is not so much the virus, but the response of a fearful, faithless, immoral people when they realize:
1. Ebola is not being contained
2. Our government is not able to save us
3. Life saving supplies, such as PPE, are running out
We've seen small demonstrations of the first two. If these two points become obvious to large sections of the population, and if #3 comes into play, we will likely see that start of something more ugly even than Ebola.
In closing, am I over-reacting to Ebola? Perhaps. It depends on what you consider an over-reaction. A skillet of grease on fire is not a very large fire, or even very dangerous. But if I hear we have a grease fire in the kitchen I'm not going to slowly lumber over there and then ponder where I last saw a fire-extinguisher. The danger may not be very great, but that may only be true if it is met promptly with the correct response. I've also seen a what happens if you don't promptly attend to a grease fire: it can gut a whole house. I'd rather overreact just a little than discover too late that I haven't reacted fast enough.
WHO Assistant Director General Dr. Keiji Fukuda recently said of the growing Ebola epidemic: “Of course in retrospect I really wish that we had jumped much higher much earlier. Of course I wish we’d poured in more and more earlier.” But, he added, “if this outbreak had been a typical outbreak, nobody would be saying we did too little, too late.”
Don't be this guy.