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Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps 294

An anonymous reader writes Scientists of the Northeastern University, in collaboration with European scientists, developed a modeling approach aimed at assessing the progression of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and its international spread under the assumption that the outbreak continues to evolve at the current pace. They also considered the impact of travel restrictions, and concluded that such restrictions may delay by only a few weeks the risk that the outbreak extends to new countries. Instead, travel bans could hamper the delivery of medical supplies and the deployment of specialized personnel to manage the epidemic. In the group's page, there's also an updated assessment of the probability of Ebola virus disease case importation in countries across the world, which was also invoked during the Congressional Ebola debate. The group also released a map with real-time tracking of conversations about Ebola on Twitter. Policy makers and first responders are the main target audience of the tool, which is able to show a series of potential warnings and events (mostly unconfirmed) related to Ebola spreading and case importation.
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Ebola Forecast: Scientists Release Updated Projections and Tracking Maps

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  • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @07:52AM (#48268353) Homepage Journal

    Because panicky idiots with nothing to fear don't talk about the flu just because someone halfway across the country has it without symptoms yet.

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @07:59AM (#48268393) Homepage
    Scientists, as has been readily confirmed by all news outlets, arent a part of this discussion. Here are the latest forecasts from the newsdroids you trust(c) most:

    November: cold front of phobia and ostracization provided through state quarantines and youtube videos of isolated ebola victims. Viewers should expect to vote based entirely on ebola, and ensure they include ebola in casual conversations at least 4 times per day. At no point should viewers stop consuming the product, or attempt to calmly rationalize this situation. Purchase precisely what television doctors prescribe, and adhere to name brands only.

    December:Ebola will be entirely forgotten, do not include ebola in any conversations. Focus on black friday, cyber monday, spendy saturday, and subprime mortgage sunday. Holiday spirit, Bing Crosby, and santa trackers will be hauled out of cold storage and our graphics department will ensure concerns of this "disease" are re-applied solely to african and east asian nations far out of the grasp of American geographic knowledge. Drive directly into inexorably sprawling suburban traffic to your largest supermall or box store and purchase nose hair trimmers, cologne, candy, and oil drum sized tins of popped corn. Assume/insist ebola has been cured.

    January sneak peek: after guzzling champagne and shitting your weight in cakes and pies, prepare for the next Avengers film, government shutdown, internet advocacy trend, exercise resolution, civil unrest, and iProduct. and hey, thanks for another great programming year!
  • by Squidlips ( 1206004 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:03AM (#48268431)
    Travel restrictions are epidemiology 101, but politics gets in the way...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:43AM (#48268661)

      You are aware that experts at both the CDC [thehill.com] and the World Health Organization [washingtonpost.com] are saying that is likely to make the outbreak worse, and they both recommend against travel restrictions?

      So here we have every top medical organization, vs one random slashdot poster. Hmm. Dunning-Kruger much?

      • Idiotic, politically-correct statement from them. How would preventing Africans from coming to the US make the outbreak worse?
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )

        Your own links contradict you. The director of the CDC (who is an MD, not a scientist) said a travel ban could make things worse. The WHO supports travel restrictions and controls, such as closing all but major entry points and implementing screening for sick people, and continuing low-risk activities such as fuel and supply deliveries, but cautions that overly broad restrictions could be counterproductive.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Transport flights full of medical supplies and specialized personnel can go in.
      Mil staff understand incubation period and the need for quarantine on return.
      The lack of bed space in negative-pressure rooms around the world is the interesting number to consider.
      The number of transport pods ready, the filters, protective clothing in place and ready to use.
      How many regional, teaching, state, city medical sites have the expert care ready? One bed? A few beds?
      • They are saying travel restrictions.

        As in normal passenger flights are restricted. Why do you think that medical personnel and equipment would not be allowed in?

        I keep hearing that talking point and wondered who could possible believe that a travel restriction would include military and medical personnel. But then here we are.

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @10:17AM (#48269363) Homepage

      I don't get it. Why does a travel restrictions have to be an all-or-nothing proposition?

      It's real bloody simple. Let medical staff, military, and those working directly to address the Ebola epidemic travel. Those that wish to travel for leisure or other business related reason, banned from doing so. Exceptions are if you wish to return home to Africa to be with your family, but knowing full well you can't leave until after the epidemic subsides.

      Anything wrong with the proposed solution above?

  • This is related (Score:2, Informative)

    One of the nurse's is supposed to be quaratined and instead is out for a bike ride http://www.nbcnews.com/storyli... [nbcnews.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 )

      If you can't even quarantine a single person, how's that going to work when you get hundreds, thousands and millions of people infected?

      We're better off staying inside our basements.

      • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

        If you can't even quarantine a single person, how's that going to work when you get hundreds, thousands and millions of people infected?

        We're better off staying inside our basements.

        That is exactly what people are going to do if this gets out of hand. Right now it isn't widespread enough for people to worry about actually getting it. However, if you get to the point where you start having dozens or hundreds of infections in many cities, you'll see everybody go into all-out zombie apocalypse mode.

        I just don't get why we're being so lackadaisical about this. We have very few people at risk for spreading Ebola right now. Just pull out all the stops to contain things, and then we don't

    • Re:This is related (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:58AM (#48268763)

      She is not "supposed to be quarantined" according to anyone except some idiot politicians trying to score political points and capitalize on fear. She has tested negative multiple times, has no symptoms, and the CDC has cleared her to go home. New Jersey governor said Monday that the CDC cleared nurse Kaci Hickox to go home during 21-day quarantine after she tested negative for Ebola [dailymail.co.uk]

      It's just idiot politicians who have to be seen to be "doing something", regardless of whether that thing makes any sense.

      Also CDC says returning Ebola medical workers should not be quarantined [chicagotribune.com].

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 )

        She has tested negative multiple times, has no symptoms, and the CDC has cleared her to go home.

        "Testing negative" and "no symptoms" is essentially meaningless in this context. The virus may not be detectable in the blood, and the person may be asymptomatic, for a long time.

        Frequent, early testing is useful for early diagnosis if she contracts the disease. But the fact that she has tested negative doesn't say anything about whether or not she needs to be quarantined.

        Those who oppose any form of quarantine keep invoking "science" for their support, but then they also keep bringing up the fact that th

        • Re:This is related (Score:4, Informative)

          by MMC Monster ( 602931 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @09:39AM (#48269027)

          The science, so far, suggests that people aren't shedding virus (infective) until they start developing symptoms. Or is there other research stating that people are infective while asymptomatic? The science of the situation changes as the researchers are getting a better understanding of this particular infection. It's an exciting time (so long as you're not infected, of course).

          As an aside, why is science in quotes? Are we supposed to exchange that word for mysticism?

          • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

            I don't debate that if she is asymptomatic then she probably isn't actively spreading the disease. The problem is that we don't have a lot of data around just what the risks are in the time between somebody starts actively spreading the disease and the time symptoms are first DETECTED (you can't take action prior to detection unless you quarantine pre-emptively). Note that I do not intend to imply an ordering of those two events, and as far as I'm aware there is no hard scientific data supporting that eit

          • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

            The science, so far, suggests that people aren't shedding virus (infective) until they start developing symptoms.

            That's not precisely correct. As I understand it, the symptoms of a virus are largely caused by the body's reaction to shedding (when cells explode and send viruses throughout the body), so with any virus, you do start shedding prior to when you show symptoms, by definition. In Ebola's case, there's not a lot of time between those two events, assuming your immune system is working normally, but

        • "Testing negative" and "no symptoms" is essentially meaningless in this context.

          Sorry, but no, it's not meaningless. Do the current test methods provide a definitive answer as to whether or not someone is infected with the virus? No, the current methods are difficult and prone to cross-contamination and human error. However, you're forgetting that the general consensus is that someone infected is not considered to be contagious until they're symptomatic. Therefore "no symptoms" carries a lot of meaning.

          Frequent, early testing is useful for early diagnosis if she contracts the disease. But the fact that she has tested negative doesn't say anything about whether or not she needs to be quarantined.

          Wow. So you're saying that people should be quarantined without any evidence o

          • Sorry, but no, it's not meaningless. Do the current test methods provide a definitive answer as to whether or not someone is infected with the virus? No, the current methods are difficult and prone to cross-contamination and human error. However, you're forgetting that the general consensus is that someone infected is not considered to be contagious until they're symptomatic. Therefore "no symptoms" carries a lot of meaning.

            The context, in this case, is the question of whether or not someone should be quarantined due to the potential to contract the disease. Testing and not showing symptoms does not tell you anything about that. It tells you whether they are at risk to spread the disease right now, not whether that risk will happen in the future. It is meaningless in the context that we're talking about.

            Wow. So you're saying that people should be quarantined without any evidence of infection? Or maybe you think that anyone who has traveled to Africa should be quarantined?

            First, I didn't say that I support quarantining them. I do think that there are some sensible precautions that we should

          • by khallow ( 566160 )
            It's worth noting that US soldiers are quarantined for three weeks under these circumstances and they have less exposure to Ebola than the nurse has.

            And FYI, I'm not opposed to any form of quarantine, but doing so only with circumstantial evidence would be a Bad Thing.

            The evidence is in your face. She worked with Ebola patients not just someone who happened to be in the country.

            So you're saying that people should be quarantined without any evidence of infection?

            Sounds like he is. Let us also keep in mind that quarantines work a whole lot better than their absence does. And would it really be better to endure the privations of a two or three Ebola epidemic in the States, for example, than impose a quarantine

          • by mark-t ( 151149 )

            However, you're forgetting that the general consensus is that someone infected is not considered to be contagious until they're symptomatic. Therefore "no symptoms" carries a lot of meaning.

            Except "symptoms" itself is rarely a binary condition... they progress - from a point where there are no symptoms to the point where they are visibly exhibiting symptoms. Somewhere in between is inevitably going to be window of time where they may technically qualify as symptomatic, but it has not progressed to the poi

        • But the fact that she has tested negative doesn't say anything about whether or not she needs to be quarantined.

          Yes it does - because if she is asymptomatic and do not test positive for the virus she cannot spread the disease and thus quarantine accomplishes nothing.

          Those who oppose any form of quarantine keep invoking "science" for their support, but then they also keep bringing up the fact that this nurse "tested negative" to validate their views. Makes me think that they don't really understand t

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      One of the nurse's is supposed to be quaratined and instead is out for a bike ride http://www.nbcnews.com/storyli... [nbcnews.com]

      Do you mean the person who doesn't have any symptoms and has tested negative to ebola at least once? That person?

      Are you suggesting that people should be quarantined regardless of the science? If so that sounds awfully like a knee-jerk reaction with echoes of police state detainment for no reason at all.

      • Re:This is related (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aardvarkjoe ( 156801 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @09:34AM (#48269007)

        Do you mean the person who doesn't have any symptoms and has tested negative to ebola at least once? That person?

        That doesn't mean anything. You can test negative, and be asymptomatic, for a long time while still carrying the disease.

        The position of actual scientists that oppose quarantines doesn't rely on whether somebody tested negative for ebola. It's based on whether somebody who is infected is likely to infect others when they become contagious.

        Are you suggesting that people should be quarantined regardless of the science?

        If you don't understand the science, why do you expect those you disagree with to understand it?

        • Re:This is related (Score:4, Informative)

          by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @09:52AM (#48269127) Homepage

          That doesn't mean anything. You can test negative, and be asymptomatic, for a long time while still carrying the disease.

          Even if the nurse has Ebola, until she starts showing symptoms she won't pose any risk of infecting anyone else.

          Even the people infected with Ebola in the US have so far only passed on the infection to people caring for them in later stages of the disease (when even more virus is shed). The one nurse who rode on an airplane while allegedly running a fever (I've heard conflicting reports) infected a grand total of 0 people.

          So why should someone who is showing no symptoms and thus has a 0 risk of transmitting Ebola right now be forced into a 21 day quarantine?

          • So why should someone who is showing no symptoms and thus has a 0 risk of transmitting Ebola right now be forced into a 21 day quarantine?

            Whether or not they are at risk of transmitting Ebola "right now" is not the question. It is whether they are at risk of transmitting Ebola in the future.

            A certain contingent of people and politicians keep (probably intentionally) confusing those two issues. I don't even support a quarantine for all these people, but I don't think that it's possible to have an intelligent discussion on the matter when one side keeps bringing up misleading arguments.

            • Whether or not they are at risk of transmitting Ebola "right now" is not the question. It is whether they are at risk of transmitting Ebola in the future.

              I think the question is if she will be contained in time when she starts showing symptoms.

              • I meant "if" not "when" of course
              • Re:This is related (Score:4, Informative)

                by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @11:13AM (#48269969) Homepage

                So require anyone returning from Ebola afflicted countries or caring for Ebola infected patients to report their temperature two times a day (which they do anyway) for a 21 day period. Any temperature above normal levels will result in a 5 day quarantine until it can be determined whether they have Ebola (in which case, they go into quarantined treatment) or whether they have something else (in which case, they are still monitored until the 21 days are up).

                If you are worried about the nurse transmitting Ebola to random people she meets on the street, look at the Thomas Duncan case. He went into the ER feeling sick (which we now know was due to Ebola), was sent home, interacted with friends and family, went back to the hospital, and interacted with many doctors and nurses. The total number of Ebola transmissions in this case? Two nurses who took care of him during the times when he was VERY infectious and a minor breach in protocol could mean infection.

                One of those nurses, in turn, flew on a plane and engaged in some other "normal life" activities before showing symptoms. Total number of people she infected with Ebola? Zero.

                We shouldn't be worried that this nurse will go to the supermarket and infect random people with Ebola. Especially not if she's not showing any symptoms. The politicians want you to panic so they can take some measures (regardless of whether those measures actually help), say they "did something" and "took action", and gather more votes for the next election campaign.

                • I fully agree with you. Well, I don't know what the current state of science is, but from these few cases it seems that they are not starting to be infectious when the first fever starts, but when they are in a quite late state of the disease. So it is probably easy to contain people in time, unless you don't have enough hospitals and education as in some 3rd world countries.
                • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

                  The total number of Ebola transmissions in this case? Two nurses who took care of him during the times when he was VERY infectious and a minor breach in protocol could mean infection.

                  To be pedantic, those two nurses were the only Ebola cases resulting from that patient. It is possible to contract Ebola and remain asymptomatic, so there is probably a small chance of other transmission events besides those two, depending on how careful they've been at testing for antibodies.

                  • Interesting. I hadn't heard of the possibility of "getting Ebola" but not getting any symptoms. Considering that you apparently can't transmit the disease unless you get the symptoms, would these asymptomatic Ebola people be able to transmit it to other people?

                    In any event, the only people who came down with Ebola symptoms after contact with a person with Ebola were those two nurses. It indicates that non-asymptomatic transmission of the disease isn't an easy thing to do. You won't get Ebola because you

        • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

          If you don't understand the science, why do you expect those you disagree with to understand it?

          When I say science, I also mean to include ALL the science around Ebola as reported by groups like the CDC. So if you think that you know something that they don't, do tell.

          • When I say science, I also mean to include ALL the science around Ebola as reported by groups like the CDC. So if you think that you know something that they don't, do tell.

            Let's see. You said:

            Do you mean the person who doesn't have any symptoms and has tested negative to ebola at least once? That person?

            Are you suggesting that people should be quarantined regardless of the science?

            You seriously expect me to believe that you didn't want your "regardless of the science" question to refer to your statement about her not having symptoms and testing negative for ebola?

            Come on. Man up and admit when you get something wrong. That would be, you know, the scientific attitude.

            • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

              You seriously expect me to believe that you didn't want your "regardless of the science" question to refer to your statement about her not having symptoms and testing negative for ebola?

              What we have here is a failure to communicate.

              Current science says she has no issue, and does not need to be quarantined.

              Me saying "quarantined regardless of the science" is asking if you think that people should be quarantined even if the science says that they don't need to be,

              Come on. Man up and admit when you get something wrong. That would be, you know, the scientific attitude.

              There is no mistake on my part.

        • That's not insightful.

          If you cannot isolate infectious virus or amplify its genetic material from someone's bodily fluids, they are not infectious.

          Making assertions based on panic is not reasonable. Maybe if the nurse wasn't treated like a criminal leper on coming home, she wouldn't be lashing out and would stay home.

          • If you cannot isolate infectious virus or amplify its genetic material from someone's bodily fluids, they are not infectious.

            Making assertions based on panic is not reasonable.

            You accuse me of making an assertion based on panic. What assertion is that? Do you deny that a person can be infected, and still test negative for ebola? If so, then you need to do some more research.

            The purpose for the quarantine is so that people will be away from the public when they become infectious.

            If you think that's unneeded or the wrong way to go about it, then fine. I actually agree. But stop trying to pretend that a negative test for ebola is relevant in this discussion. It's not.

    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      What's the big deal. Facts we know about Ebola

      1) If you are non-symptomatic, you cannot spread it.

      So she decided to go for a bike ride with her BF after spending a bit of time in an isolation tent, testing negative multiple times, being released and going home.

      Also, how many people were infected by the NY doctor? Or by Duncan after it was realized he had Ebola, as opposed to people that got it when he went to the ER for general purposes?

    • One of the nurse's is supposed to be quaratined and instead is out for a bike ride http://www.nbcnews.com/storyli... [nbcnews.com]

      So what? She has no symptoms so she can't be contagious right now.

  • I'm finding it hard to gain anything useful from the websites provided. This appears to be just about useless for us lay types. Since I consider myself tech and science literate I shudder to think about politicians trying to make policy decisions based on using it.

    One bit of advice/insight several paragraphs in, travel restrictions only delay the arrival of cases in other countries. Delayed is really the real question. Overall peak severity given various travel restrictions seems more germane, both here and elsewhere. The concern seems to be that travel restrictions will be bad for the badly hit countries – it is unclear to me the will be bad in the short run for developed countries. That said, it it Africa turns into a festering pool of Ebola, then yes, very bad for us all.

    There are so many conflicting priorities here I fear we will do far from the ideal. We need to protect our own citizens, we want to help others, maybe some don't want to help too much and see this as the final solution for Africa, but will hide their agenda under concern for those here.

    I really was hoping to see better to understand trends based on combinations of aid and travel restrictions.

    • Yes, exactly. I visited them all looking for some new insight into the factual state of what's going on with Ebola, and ended up just wasting my time. One of the sites has predictions that are over two weeks old. Useless. Another is tracking the social media discussion of Ebola by region (which regions are tweeting the most about Ebola). Useless. Another is a page regarding some statistical software package. Useless. The only real data is a paper modeling what impact flight restrictions might have, e

  • by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:46AM (#48268675)

    The only way to reduce your own risk of being contaminated is to stay isolated.

    Slashdot readers live in the basement and never go outside.

    If ebola goes on a rampage world-wide, the only survivors will be people who stayed in isolation.

    The future belongs to the nerds.

  • by tburt11 ( 517910 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:48AM (#48268687)
    First off Ebola is a tragedy and is worthy of all efforts at control and eradication, not because I may someday be at risk, but because real people are dying. However.... The posting links to an "updated assessment" which you can view. Looking there, one is led to believe that on Oct 24, the number of Ebola cases are 30,000 worldwide. But if you look really closely, this is just a projection based on data accumulated 30 days ago. Is this the most current data we can view on which to base our assessment? Look now at the bottom of the page and you will see updated assessments including one for Oct 29 (yesterday). Look for the WHO situation reports further down. Currently the stats are: approx 13,000 confirmed or suspected cases total approx 6,000 cases confirmed. approx 5,000 deaths approx 1,000 total cases of live people testing positive for infection And the big news..... Cases in the past 21 days approx 1,500 vs. 30,000 My question is why are we trying to inject this fear into our people? Why the over inflated assessment for the purpose of publication? Is the author guided by an alternative motive, or are they just too lazy to look? Again.. Ebola is a huge concern and a tragedy to humankind. We need to do everything we can to fight this outbreak. But we should be given accurate information not scare tactics.
  • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:52AM (#48268717) Journal

    If our President initially came out, armed with scientific facts and results of studies like this one as the rationale for not imposing a travel ban, it would have gone over much better with the American people.

    Instead, we've witnessed nothing but a "FUD campaign" - with a strong sense that nobody in charge really knows what the h*ll they're doing with this stuff. First, the hospital in Texas got blamed for screwing up and not following procedures. Then it was revealed they never received any official procedure in the first place for dealing with ebola.

    There's conflicting information about how contagious the ebola virus is ... with claims that you can't get it without direct contact with the infected person's bodily fluids, but medical workers wearing hazmat suits while going near the people. (If people are supposed to believe their chances of getting the virus while on an airplane with an infected person are "pretty unlikely" -- then how is it we have concerns about hospital workers catching it, even after wearing protective suits and everything else? I don't think people are convinced you can have this BOTH ways at the same time.)

    And sure ... people also recall the H1N1 "swine flu" situation and how that panned out in reality.

    IMO, the travel ban would just be good common sense to impose -- while setting up some exceptions for medical staff legitimately traveling to/from the high risk areas for the purpose of aid. I *love* how the government makes it out to be an "all or nothing" proposition -- where we simply can't impose the ban without risking inability to provide medical assistance over there. Seriously?! You can't come up with scenarios allowing SELECTIVE travel for appropriate people and some extra steps they're required to go through upon re-entering the US?

    • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <(markt) (at) (nerdflat.com)> on Thursday October 30, 2014 @09:23AM (#48268933) Journal

      MO, the travel ban would just be good common sense to impose -- while setting up some exceptions for medical staff legitimately traveling to/from the high risk areas for the purpose of aid. I *love* how the government makes it out to be an "all or nothing" proposition -- where we simply can't impose the ban without risking inability to provide medical assistance over there. Seriously?! You can't come up with scenarios allowing SELECTIVE travel for appropriate people and some extra steps they're required to go through upon re-entering the US?

      This... seriously. Can anybody who allegedly knows the answer to this please explain how or why such a thing might be logistically impossible, or why it would still impact the ability to get emergency medical aid to the area? Because I certainly can't see any such reason.

      • Realistically, you don't even need restrictions on traffic TO countries with outbreaks if you're being selective on which traffic you're permitting FROM the country. If you allow flights out for medical personnel who have been screened for infection the civilian traffic will dry up of its own accord. People aren't going to fly to Liberia to be stuck there. Some still may and catch a flight to Spain then hop over.

        As far as I can tell, they're worried that restricting traffic to/from countries like Liberia wi

      • It's not that it would be logistically impossible. It would just be a waste of resources and a hindrance to the process of actually fighting the outbreak on the ground in west africa, which is far more important. This "travel ban is good common sense" stuff is just a political gamesmanship before an election. It's something that sounds good in a sound bite but actually makes things worse. But it is quite revealing about which politicians actually care about good policy for the public and which only care
        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          An epidemic of Ebola in an outside country would be a "waste of resources" too. And how does restricting outgoing traffic make matters worse?

          Having said that, the current level of quarantine does seem to be working for now. I'd worry about the rest of Africa getting this disease before I'd worry about it getting established in a developed world country.

          My view is that a real quarantine will be imposed sooner or later unless the exponential growth of the disease is reversed in the near future. There's
      • Once the regular traffic has reduced enough, airlines will will cancel the scheduled flights and reallocate the aircraft where where they can make some money. Medical traffic will have to find planes to charter just for themselves *and some way to pay for those flights* since they no longer have a full passenger load over which to amortize the costs

    • You do realize that ebola causes, essentially, massive vomiting and diarrhea, and most people that die of ebola die of the dehydration it causes, right? Hazmat suits are entirely necessary given that bodily fluids aren't just located inside the body when dealing with an infected patient - they're flying out of every orifice.
      • No arguments about this from me. But that doesn't change the fact that the whole thing runs counter to reassuring the public that they're at relatively low risk of catching the stuff if they wind up around someone who has the virus while on mass transit.

        I get it.... If they're not at the stage where the vomiting and diarrhea begin, it's different. But those people are still a ticking time bomb in that regard. Do YOU want to be the guy sitting next to one of them on a plane, betting they won't START in w

        • Do YOU want to be the guy sitting next to one of them on a plane, betting they won't START in with the vomiting and coughing and so forth, until after you're safely away from them at the end of the flight?

          Doesn't really matter to me, as long as they were diligent in checking their temperature/being checked. Ebola patients don't go from beginning of fever to vomiting in the span of any but the longest plane flights.

          I think one of the big things the CDC should do, though, is mention that the joint pain and lethargy that a lot of the patients are experiencing are frequently a precursor to the fever. If someone in contact with an ebola patient has unusual joint pain (i.e. not a preexisting condition like a bad k

  • Calm the fuck down. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 30, 2014 @08:58AM (#48268761)

    Really? An "ebola forecast?" That's the degree of paranoia you've allowed the cable news outlets to work you up into?

    Give me a fucking break. First of all, unless you're currently sitting next to somebody with an active infection or you've just cut yourself dissecting an infected animal, the chances of ebola spreading through North America are virtually zero. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be precautions taken, of course...in fact those precautions are exactly why you _don't_ need to be worried, because they've proven quite effective. These same media outlets seem to liken a number of the African countries affected to being about as clean as a prison toilet...yeah, that's not biased at all. Like Newsweek printing a cover with a chimpanzee on the front talking about how ebola could make its way from Africa to the continental U.S. via "infected bushmeat." Seriously, that's something that an American news outlet actually printed. They're basically _telling_ you that your best chances of catching the thing would be subsisting on a diet of infected monkeys and you're _still_ fucking terrified. They did the same thing with SARS, they did the same thing with H1N1, they're doing the same thing with ebola...yet all three of them haven't killed as many people as the common flu does, every single year.

    People need to stop being afraid of their own shadows just because CNN and the government tell you to. I can sympathize, these people have been using your fear against you for decades. Communists, terrorists, "weapons of mass destruction" (incidentally, the US is sitting atop the largest pile of WMD's on the face of the earth, which they could willingly irradiate until the end of time if they actually pushed the button). The boogeyman of the day is ebola. They want you to be afraid because people who are afraid are easier to control, they're prone to making irrational decisions based on their gut feelings rather than, you know, actually thinking about it.

    You want something to be worked up over, worry about heart disease...it's becoming so prevalent that odds are it's what _will_ kill you long before ebola ever does. We don't need an "ebola czar," we don't need an "ebola forecast." What we do need is for people to use their fucking heads for five seconds because if they did, they'd realize that there's a better chance of being struck by lightning than a plague of ebola decimating the entirely of North America. Stop playing into the hands of the media outlets. I gurantee you that if you stop "tuning in" so to speak, the ebola "issue" will disappear from the headlines so fast that you'd think it was a distant relative of Vanilla Ice. They don't give a fuck about ebola, or you for that matter, they give a fuck about the advertising space they're probably selling hand over fist these days.

  • What an oversimplified analogy. Limiting certain people's travel from Western African countries doesn't mean limiting aid to those places.

    • What an oversimplified analogy. Limiting certain people's travel from Western African countries doesn't mean limiting aid to those places.

      How do you think the aid actually gets to those places? Humanitarian agencies like MSF don't have their own fleets of planes. Sure, governments could arrange military transport, but then it would be on their timetable, and likely only when enough stuff/staff is ready to go to justify a flight. Not to mention the fact that setting up alternative arrangements would take time, delaying relief efforts.

      I know, Dunning-Kruger and all, but it still amazes me how many people assume they know better than the exper

  • until after the election. The Administration is trying to keep a lid on it, but watch out after the election
  • The hype will die down after the US election on November 4th. Till then, the political BS machines are spinning anything that gets people's attention into points against the other side.
    • Or it gets worse. It is entirely possible that the Administration is hiding cases of Ebola until after the election.
    • by IMightB ( 533307 )

      Totally agree with you. A previous poster also added things like:

      November: Ebola, Economy, Election etc etc
      December: You're not buying enough for Christmas! Think of the Billionaire's Children
      Janurary: Next Avengers film, Diet tips, and next iProduct.

    • But the hype has been generated by the State-run Media, i.e. CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN. Sure the other side (Drudge, Fox) is all hysterical, but it was the State-run Media that has caused the most panic and they did not need to say much, just that some simple facts and the public got very nervous. The fact that the Administration seems has issued a non-nonsensical justification for not shutting the borders from West Africans does not help or that they appointed an invisible political hack to be the Ebola Cza

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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