May 16, 2020

Obama says epidemic “spiraling out of control”, outlines US action

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, economics, health, military

US President Barack Obama called the Ebola outbreak in West Africa a threat to global security on Tuesday and broadly expanded the US response by ordering thousands of troops to the region along with an aggressive effort to train health care workers and build treatment centres.
He called on other countries to quickly provide more helpers, supplies and money.
“If the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people affected, with profound economic, political and security implications for all of us,” Obama declared after briefings at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Obama acted under pressure from regional leaders and international aid organisations who pleaded for a heightened US role in confronting the deadly virus, especially in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
“In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic,” Obama said.
“It’s spiralling out of control, it is getting worse.“
The stepped-up US response includes sending 3,000 troops to the region, including medics and corpsmen for treatment and training, engineers to help build treatment facilities and logistics specialists to assist in patient transportation.
Obama also announced that Major General Darryl Williams, head of US Army Africa, will head a military command centre based in Liberia.
The announcement came the same day the World Health Organisation warned that the number of West African Ebola cases could begin doubling every three weeks and that the crisis could end up costing nearly 1 billion US Dollars to contain.
Nearly 5,000 people have become ill from Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal since it was first recognised in March.
The World Health Organisation says it anticipates the figure could rise to more than 20,000.
Obama described task ahead as “daunting” but said what gives him hope is that “the world knows how to fight this disease.“
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