Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 Million in 4 Months, C.D.C. Estimates

I hope the stupid memes mocking people like myself for being worried about Ebola will now stop for good…

Members of a Red Cross team removed the body of a woman who was believed to have died of Ebola from a home in Monrovia, Liberia, last week.  Credit Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

In the worst-case scenario, Liberia and Sierra Leone could have 21,000 cases of Ebola by Sept. 30 and 1.4 million cases by Jan. 20 if the disease keeps spreading without effective methods to contain it. These figures take into account the fact that many cases go undetected, and estimate that there are actually 2.5 times as many as reported.

The report does not include figures for Guinea because case counts there have gone up and down in ways that cannot be reliably modeled.

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What You Need to Know About the Ebola Outbreak

Questions and answers on the scale of the outbreak and the science of the Ebola virus.

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“My gut feeling is, the actions we’re taking now are going to make that worst-case scenario not come to pass,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the C.D.C. director, said in a telephone interview. “But it’s important to understand that it could happen.”

The figures in the C.D.C. report are based on data from August, but Dr. Frieden said the situation appeared to have improved since then because more aid had begun to reach the region.

The current official case count is 5,843, including 2,803 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

Dying of Ebola at the Hospital Door

Monrovia, the Liberian capital, is facing a widespread Ebola epidemic, and as the number of infected grows faster than hospital capacity, some patients wait outside near death.

The W.H.O. reported on Wednesday that a new treatment center had just opened in Monrovia, the Liberian capital, with 120 beds for treatment and 30 for triage. Patients were already lined up at the door.

Though providing home-care kits may seem like a pragmatic approach, some public health authorities said they were no substitute for beds in isolation or containment wards.

But Dr. Frieden said that home care had been used to help stamp out smallpox in Africa during the 1960s. The caregivers were often people who had survived smallpox themselves and were immune to it. Some experts have suggested that Ebola survivors might also be employed to care for the sick.

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