Laurie Garrett

Obamacare May Hold the Key to Saving the U.S. from Ebola

The 43.3 million uninsured Americans are the country’s greatest vulnerability when it comes to stopping the world’s scariest virus.

Fear of Ebola has been climbing steadily in the United States since Tuesday's announcement that a Liberian traveler in Dallas, Thomas Eric Duncan, was diagnosed with the disease after having been in Texas for eight days. A month ago, a Harvard School of Public Health poll found that 39 percent of Americans thought an Ebola outbreak would come to the United States, and 26 percent felt concerned that they or a member of their family would get the disease. But things got concrete on Tuesday when news of the Dallas case was blamed in part for the 266-point plummet of the Dow Jones. And while concern over the case in understandable -- even, in some respects, warranted -- most of what people are reacting to is nothing to fret over. 

Continue Reading

Hollow Words and an Exponential Horror

Obama called the world to action against Ebola, but most countries are only paying lip service to the coming catastrophe.

At last, a sense of serious urgency imbues the world's response to the Ebola crisis. On Sept. 18, by the largest vote in U.N. history, the Security Council adopted a unanimous resolution, co-sponsored by 130 countries, that declared Ebola a security threat to all nations.

Continue Reading

Can the U.S. Army Degrade and Destroy Ebola?

Obama is sending 3,000 troops to West Africa to stop the deadly outbreak. But 250,000 people could already be infected by Christmas.

As the Ebola epidemic in West Africa accelerates beyond the capacity to count its toll, an unprecedented escalation in global support is evident, led by U.S. President Barack Obama's call for U.S. military intervention. In what will amount to the largest humanitarian commitment since the American response to the 2004 earthquake and tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia, the White House announced late on Sept. 15 that an estimated 3,000 military personnel will deploy to the Ebola-ravaged West African nations, alongside a significant increase in civilian mobilization.

Continue Reading

We Could Have Stopped This

Public health officials knew Ebola was coming. They know how to defeat it. But they’re blowing it anyway.

World, you still just don't get it. The Ebola epidemic that is raging across West Africa, killing more than half its victims, will not be conquered with principles of global solidarity and earnest appeals. It will not be stopped with dribbling funds, dozens of volunteer health workers, and barriers across national borders. And the current laboratory-confirmed tolls (3,944 cases, with 2,097 deaths) will soon rise exponentially.

Continue Reading

You Are Not Nearly Scared Enough About Ebola

Experimental drugs and airport screenings will do nothing to stop this plague. If Ebola hits Lagos, we're in real trouble.

Attention, World: You just don't get it.

You think there are magic bullets in some rich country's freezers that will instantly stop the relentless spread of the Ebola virus in West Africa? You think airport security guards in Los Angeles can look a traveler in the eyes and see infection, blocking that jet passenger's entry into La-la-land? You believe novelist Dan Brown's utterly absurd description of a World Health Organization that has a private C5-A military transport jet and disease SWAT team that can swoop into outbreaks, saving the world from contagion?

Continue Reading