America's response to the deadly Ebola virus took a political turn on the weekend when progressive policy organization, The Agenda Project Action Fund, blamed the current outbreak of the virus on budget cuts supported by Republicans. Director of the National Institutes of Health Dr. Francis Collins, an evangelical, also declared on Friday that budget cuts hurt the agency and seriously hampered the development of an Ebola vaccine.
A one-minute video produced by the Agenda project and posted to YouTube Sunday called 'Republican Cuts Kill' mixes chilling footage of the Ebola outbreak with clips of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky; Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan.; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Republicans in some of the most competitive races around the country calling for more spending cuts. The demands are also juxtaposed with testimony from top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIH officials explaining how the budget cuts hampered their ability to address the virus that is currently sweeping across West Africa and fueling panic across the U.S.
"To accomplish our mission we tell Americans the truth — about elected officials, multi-national corporations, political parties, public policy and corruption. We aggressively challenge individuals and institutions of power that prevent public policy from serving the American people, and refute hegemonic ideas that act as the intellectual rationalization for policies that do not serve the American people," explained the Agenda Project on their website. more >>
Have you wondered why Ebola patients are being sent to Omaha, Nebraska?
It's because one physician, Dr. Philip Smith, had the foresight to set up the Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit after the 9/11 attacks as a bulwark against bioterrorism. Empty for more than a decade, used only for drills, it was called "Maurer's Folly," for Harold Maurer, former chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
The unit has a special air handling system to keep germs from escaping from patient rooms, and a steam sterilizer for scrubs and equipment. more >>
Nurses and other healthcare experts have rejected the accusation by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Thomas Frieden that a "protocol breach" led to the infection of a Dallas nurse from Ebola, arguing that there should be no "scapegoats" made during a troubling situation like this.
"You don't scapegoat and blame when you have a disease outbreak," said Bonnie Castillo, a registered nurse and a disaster relief expert at National Nurses United, according to Reuters on Monday. "We have a system failure. That is what we have to correct."
UPDATE: 4:15 p.m. Oct. 12
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Sunday afternoon that a nurse who cared for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has contracted the virus and remains in isolation at the hospital. The CDC also confirmed Sunday that the nurse wore full protective gear while caring for Duncan, who died Wednesday.
A nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas who cared for a Liberian man with Ebola is the first known person to contract the fatal virus in the United States. more >>
The nine-day treatment of Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan who died at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, Texas, Wednesday cost the hospital an estimated $500,000 and he had no insurance to cover the charges.
The New Haven Register reported that the hospital is also unlikely to collect on the bill.
According to the report, since his isolation at the hospital on Sept. 28 Duncan was in critical condition. As a part of his treatment, he was placed on a ventilator, received experimental drugs and had kidney dialysis. more >>
The spread of the deadly Ebola outbreak throughout West Africa is leaving hundreds of children orphaned, and a number of them are reportedly marginalized by some tribal communities due to the fear of witchcraft and black magic.
"There's a strong belief in witchcraft that Ebola is contracted through a curse or in some cases that it is a white man's fabrication," said Jamie Bedson, charity Restless Development's Sierra Leone country director, according to The Financial Times.
"There is a mistrust of foreigners, and in one place everyone threw away soap given out by the government because they thought it was poisoned." more >>