American Ebola Survivor: Outbreak is ‘A Fire Straight From the Pit of Hell’

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article-2712477-2029C60800000578-162_306x423The Following is VIA NationalJournal.com 

Ebola survivor Kent Brantly said it’s “time to think outside the box” for ways to combat the virus’s worst outbreak in history, which continues to ravage West Africa.

The physician was treating Ebola patients in Liberia when he tested positive for the disease on July 26. He is one of four American aid workers flown back to the United States for treatment.

In a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Tuesday, Brantly implored the international community to ramp up relief efforts, calling on the U.S. to lead the efforts. His testimony came on the same day President Obama announced a new stepped-up strategy for U.S. efforts to combat the epidemic.

Obama said Tuesday that 3,000 U.S. military personnel will be dispatched to help battle the Ebola crisis that is raging in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The president explained his plan from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Obama and Brantly met in the Oval Office ahead of the announcement Tuesday.

 Nearly 2,500 people have died of the Ebola virus in the current outbreak, out of about 5,000 reported cases, according to the World Health Organization’s estimates as of Sept. 13. The actual number of cases is expected to be far higher, and WHO has said the total could rise to 20,000 in the coming months if the outbreak isn’t brought under control. Other groups have put the potential number of future cases as high as 250,000.

WHO said on Tuesday that at least $1 billion will be required to keep the number of infections in the “tens of thousands.” The organization’s previous estimate was $600 million to control the outbreak in the next six to nine months.

Yet the international response to Ebola has been slow-moving and disorganized to this point, drawing heavy criticism from aid organizations that have been sending warnings about the rapidly escalating outbreak for months.

“This unprecedented outbreak began nine months ago but received very little attention from the international community until the events of mid-July, when my friend and colleague, Nancy Writebol, and I became infected,” Brantly said in his opening testimony. “Since that time, there has been intense media attention and therefore increased awareness of the situation on the ground in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and neighboring countries. The response, however, is still unacceptably out of step with the size and scope of the problem now before us.”

Brantly called WHO’s response thus far “painfully slow and ineffective,” due to heavy bureaucracy. “It is imperative that the U.S. take the lead instead of relying on other agencies.”

Obama’s announcement Tuesday is an attempt to take the reins in combating the outbreak. The effort, including the influx of military personnel, could cost as much as $750 million over the next six months, senior administration officials said.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The Yalkut Meam Loez cites a story from the Midrash Haneelam. Rav Aha came to a town that had been ravaged by a plague for seven days. The people came to the Rav and told him of their troubles. The plague was getting worse, and they didn’t know what to do. He said, “Let us go to the Bet Kenesset and pray that it stops.” As they made their way towards the Bet Kenesset, people came and told them that the plague had claimed even more victims; others are about to die. He said, “Since the calamity is so severe and time is running out, we will not go to the Bet Kenesset. Rather, bring me forty G-d-fearing people and they will divide into groups of ten, each of which should go to one direction of the city and recite ‘pitum haketoret’ (the Talmudic discussion of the ingredients of the ketoret) three times. They should then add, ‘Moshe said to Aharon: Take the firepan and place fire upon it from the altar and place ketoret, and quickly bring it to the nation and atone on their behalf… ‘ until ‘and the plague ended.’” They did as he told, and the plague stopped. All those who had been stricken were cured. A heavenly voice called out to the harmful spirits, “Do no more damage in this town, for the attribute of justice no longer has any control over them!”

    Rav Aha was exhausted and fell asleep. He dreamt that it was told to him, “Just as you eliminated the plague from the city, so must you bring them back in teshuva, for one cannot endure without the other, because it was on account of their sins that the plague was decreed”. He told this to the townspeople and they repented. They changed the name of the town to “Mahsiya,” which means “town of compassion”. They kept the town’s name in their minds at all times so as to ensure that they would not return to their sinful ways.