Via The New York Times, an editorial: Mission Not Yet Accomplished. The whole thing, and then a comment:
President Obama has announced that almost all of the American troops sent to West Africa to help contain the Ebola epidemic will be withdrawn soon. That makes sense because they have largely completed the work they were sent to do. The next phase of the battle will rely on public health measures carried out by local and international health workers and experts.
Despite major gains, about 100 new cases are detected each week. It will take a concerted effort, backed financially by the United States and others, to drive that number down to zero.
The generally successful military effort got off to a slow start last year and stuck too long with outdated plans to build large Ebola treatment units in Liberia, the hardest hit country at the time, in places where they were no longer needed. Once revved up, the military kept supplies moving, helped isolate hundreds of infected patients in its own treatment facilities or those run by others, provided mobile laboratories, trained 1,500 Liberian health care providers, and by its presence, greatly bolstered morale.
For months, the number of new Ebola cases has been falling in West Africa — from more than 1,000 cases a week in October to less than 100 a week in mid-January. But it has ticked back up, reaching 124 in late January and 144 in the week that ended Feb. 8.
The main task now facing public health workers is to find all people infected with Ebola and trace and isolate all their contacts to prevent passing the virus to others. The goal is to eradicate all traces of the virus from the afflicted countries. A well-trained work force will be essential to this task. As Mr. Obama warned last week, “Every case is an ember that if not contained can light a new fire.”
If you prick us, do we not bleed? And if you stress us, do we not show our true character?