Ebola, Amnesia and Trump


May 24, 2018-

On Monday, a team led by the World Health Organization began inoculating people in the Democratic Republic of Congo against the Ebola virus with an experimental vaccine in an attempt to quell an outbreak of the disease that began in early May. If the effort succeeds, and maybe even if it doesn’t, it will go down in history as the first time Ebola was met with more than just the crude tools of quarantine and hospice care. To be sure, this latest resurgence of Ebola is still cause for concern. Forty-six cases have been reported so far, with 26 deaths, and the disease has already spread from the country’s remote northern reaches to a populous port city. But so far, the World Health Organization has not declared the crisis a “public health emergency of international concern,” the agency’s most serious designation. If efforts succeed, health officials say, the scourge could be eradicated by summer’s end.“A lot of what’s working now is the result of remembering and learning from previous failures,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and the director of foreign disaster assistance at the United States Agency for International Development during the Obama administration. The Trump White House, however, appears to be uniquely amnesiac. On the same day that officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo reported the new Ebola cases, the administration sought to rescind $252 million in Ebola response funds left over from the earlier epidemic. Rescinding that money brings us back to where we started — ill prepared to mount a rapid response to a new infectious disease threat.

Published: 24-05-2018 07:11

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