– Why Obama is committing 3000 troops to fight Ebola (Vox, Sep 16, 2014):
“This is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security. It’s a potential threat to global security, if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic,” he said. “That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease.” This outbreak is already “spiraling out of control,” he added.
“The reality is this epidemic is going to get worse before it gets better.”
Like the economy, right?
So far, more than 2,400 people have died this year from Ebola — more than the combined total of all previous outbreaks since the first recorded in 1976 — and the epidemic has spread to five African nations, including Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, and Senegal.
3,000 troops dedicated to fighting Ebola
To turn the outbreak around, the White House has committed more than $175 million to what it’s calling a “top national security priority.”
The focus of the funds is stopping spread in West Africa. The US will send more than 3,000 troops to the most affected areas, and set up a joint operation in Monrovia, Liberia — the hardest hit of the five regions — to coordinate relief efforts.
In addition, the plan will boost the number of health workers and health-care centers in the region. The US pledged to build as many as 17 additional Ebola treatment units — with a total of about 1,700 beds — and to help recruit medical personnel to staff them. (Right now, people in Liberia are being turned away from treatment facilities because there is no capacity to care for them.) The Department of Defense also plans to establish a site where up to 500 health care providers can be trained each week.
USAID will also support a program of distributing kits with sanitizers and medical supplies to some 400,000 of the most vulnerable households in Liberia.
The Obama administration has asked Congress for an additional $88 million to combat Ebola, including $30 million to send more relief workers and lab supplies from the CDC and $58 million to invest in the development of the experimental Ebola drug ZMapp and two vaccine candidates.
Chances of Ebola spread in the US “extremely low”
Despite the alarm about the situation in Africa, the White House continues to quell worries about Ebola in America. President Obama said the chances of Ebola spreading in the US are “extremely low.”
“US health professionals agree it is highly unlikely that we would experience an Ebola outbreak here in the United States, given our robust health care infrastructure and rapid response capabilities,” reads a fact sheet from the administration.
“Nevertheless, we have taken extra measures to prevent the unintentional importation of cases into the United States, and if a patient does make it here, our national health system has the capacity and expertise to quickly detect and contain this disease.”
– Obama To Send 3000 Military Forces To Fight Ebola In West Africa (Huffington Post, Sep 16, 2014)
– US to Commit Up to 3000 Troops to Fight Ebola in Africa (New York Times, Sep 16, 2014)