I don’t usually post about news or political events, but in this case, I have an excuse: I just recently finished Stephen King’s (literally) monumental work,The Stand.
Just in time for the ebola outbreak.
I don’t think I’m going to review The Stand-- given the solid fanbase, I think I’d want to be enrolled in Witness Protection first-- but it definitely got me thinking about the effects of a pandemic on a community.
Ebola has a fatality rate of between 50% and 90%, and much of the difference depends on the care that the patient receives. There have been only (only!) a few thousand deaths so far, but WHO and the CDC warn that fatalities may be in the millions by January. The devastating concentration of deaths can utterly destabilize societies.
Even with Stephen King’s imaginings in my mind, I am simply unable to grasp the impact of this.
I’ve done a little looking around, and it seems to me that donations to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have the most impact. Sadly, there is apparently so little interest from outside of Africa that MSF decided against creating a dedicated page for Ebola donations. You can still donate here, though, with a reasonable certainty that you'll be helping. GlobalGiving, Red Cross, and other organizations also have efforts that you can donate to.
The projected death count depends on whether the disease spread is exponential (or, if you want to get technical, the value of R0). And this depends on the world’s ability to mobilize and help contain, mitigate, and prevent more cases.