The CDC is doing its best to quell the fears that Ebola is causing in the country. Their main objectives are to treat the infected patient, isolate those who came in contact with him, and to stifle the potential for any mass hysteria within the public.
Why You’re On a “Need to Know Basis” With the CDC
It seems the CDC has not been very forthcoming on providing pertinent up-to-date Ebola information to the public, leading many to believe we are on a “need to know” basis. They have even gone so far as to change Ebola transmission pages on their CDC website. The headlines are running rampant with contradicting information that experts and the CDC has provided, thus leading to even more mistrust in those handling this complex issue.
What the CDC has failed to realize is with the right information, they can equip the public with the knowledge needed to make an informed decision; and one that will reduce the risk of Ebola spreading throughout a community. To give this emergency organization credit, they have the best of intentions, but the difficulty lies in their ability to apply theory to large-scale population densities. The issue has always been to prevent pandemonium.
That said, the CDC isn’t the only agency to blame in this mishap. Thanks to the carelessness at the hospital level, more individuals have possibly been exposed to Ebola. According to one paramedic in Dallas, neither he or anyone else was told that the ambulance they were driving was the same one used to transport Ebola patient, Thomas Duncan to the hospital. Disaster teams were notified months ago of an upcoming high risk event, but to no avail. As well, federal guidelines published in August advised someone in Duncan’s condition and who was known to be in West Africa to be placed in isolation and tested for Ebola. Instead, the patient, was given a prescription for antibiotics and sent home. This issue is now being blamed on a faulty record-keeping system by the hospital and could result in a federal investigation.
“It’s a teachable moment, as we say,” Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a Thursday press conference in response to the errors that have occurred in the handling of patient zero.
The fear of Ebola is real as is the fear of mandatory home quarantine is real. Most people do not have a month’s worth of food and provisions. If they are forced to the confines of their home, there will be outbursts. If the CDC is unable to get a grasp on the situation, with each day unfolding, they are gambling with the possibility of a civil disintegration such as those that we witnessed in Liberia when their basic needs were not met.
Washington Post: Ebola-stricken Liberia is descending into economic hell, “Liberia, the West African nation hardest hit by Ebola, has begun a frightening descent into economic hell.
… The basic necessities of survival in Liberia — food, transportation, work, money, help from the government — are rapidly being depleted, according to recent reports by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank…” (Barbash, 9/30).
Some may argue that the difference between Liberia and the United States is we are more educated, not a third world country and our infrastructures are more advanced. While that is true, we are still human and our bodies are just as susceptible to the Ebola virus. Further, our country may be more advanced, but in a widespread pandemic, our basic infrastructures and supply chains will be threatened. For example, let’s take our weekly trash collection pick up. Do you honestly believe that trash pick up will still occur if we are under a mandatory quarantine. Moreover, if that trash is contaminated with Ebola, who is going to pick it up? The CDC? Think about it.
A Breakdown Could Be On the Horizon
If this insidious virus spreads to other areas of the country, supply chains will not want to deliver groceries due to being in an infection zone. Moreover, hospitals will soon be overwhelmed in handling the ill coming through the door, or may run out of supplies and/or vaccine. In such case, the ill could be sent to Ebola quarantine centers or back to their homes to wait in isolation. Those that cannot get access to medical care or do not have the supplies in place to survive an extended quarantine will group together to quickly create civil disorder.
In an article written on the Anatomy of a Breakdown, the author writes, “As preppers are well aware, when the needs of the population cannot be met in an allotted time frame, a phenomena occurs and the mindset shifts in people. They begin to act without thinking and respond to changes in their environment in an emotionally-based manner, thus leading to chaos, instability and a breakdown in our social paradigm.”
Phase 1: The Warning
Phase 2: Shock and Awe
Phase 3: The Breakdown
Phase 4: The Recovery
If we were to apply the phases of the breakdown to the Ebola crises, the initial warning phase occurred months ago, when the infected doctors were taken to Atlanta, Georgia. This was the beginning moments of the disaster where many saw the concern and began making preparations for the possibility of Ebola coming to America. We are currently in Phase 2: The Shock and Awe where the community is in a confused state reacting to the events unfolding. If this disaster is not handled more delicately, we will be entering the breakdown phase. Once the breakdown phase ensues, martial law will be enforced.
Taking preventative action now is critical. Regardless of what the head of the CDC is saying, listen to your gut. If you are concerned, get informed on your own accord and take action. Once more cases are confirmed in the United States people will panic and medical supplies will disappear from the shelves within a matter of hours. The time to plan in now.
- Do research on your own about pandemics and Ebola, how easily it is spread, how it can mutate when exposed to larger groups of people, how pandemics can shut down basic infrastructures, etc.
- Discuss contingency plans with your workplace. In addition to educating employees, companies should review their emergency preparedness plans on how to respond if an employee falls sick on the job. The plan should include communicating with other employees, setting up an isolation room, transporting ill employees to the appropriate medical authorities, protecting employees who come into contact with those who are ill, setting up a disinfecting program, and monitoring contact tracing. Organizations could also consider screening employees at the worksite.
- If the quarantine period is 21 days, every home should have a one month supply of food, water and supplies on hand. Use this short term preparedness checklist as a guide.
- Prepare to be quarantined and have a plan of action. Understand that mandatory quarantines are backed up by laws and executive orders. The official CDC website details ‘Specific Laws and Regulations Governing the Control of Communicable Diseases’, that even healthy citizens who have no existing symptoms would be forced to adhere to. Here are 13 tips to prepare your home.
- Take further precautions by purchasing pandemic preparedness supplies. These supplies can protect you when and if you have to go out in public. Ebola has the capacity to live outside its host and can survive in liquid or dried blood for hours even in low temperatures. Purchasing pandemic gear can provide you with an additional protective layer. Ensure the protective suit is not permeable.
- If you plan to bug out to an isolated area, do so before more larger amounts of Ebola cases begin occurring.
There is a lot of speculation and misinformation floating around the internet and it is up to find the truth. Do research on your own, and take this emerging crisis seriously. You cannot depend on the government to take care of you. They are more concerned with diffusing panic. This is an emergency situation and one we need to prepare for extended periods of isolation from others. If this virus continues to spread, supplies will quickly run out and you will be left unprepared to face it.