Sunday, October 12, 2014
Not having any fun today. I'll keep this short, because there's plenty of "in depth!" coverage on the new Ebola patient in Dallas (not the dead one); and they're updating rapidly now. First a nurse in Spain, following the rules, gets it; now a nurse in Dallas, following all the rules, gets it.
I would not bet the current head of the CDC will still have that job a month from now. The noises I hear from his office do not make me think he's smart and in charge; more like he is not very bright, and is reading the Instruction Manual For Pandemics: 1. Be sure your ass is covered. 2. Prevent panic, lie all you want to achieve this.
"Clearly it must have been a protocol breach." - before any investigation, is not smart. It would actually be better for Item 2 if you said, for the public; "Of course, we're looking into all possibilities, including that the virus may have changed. That's unlikely; but we're watching." But it would, of course, violate #1.
There were 2 things today that actually shocked me. I'll pass them on:
1) In the NYT, well buried in the article, was this tidbit:
"Health officials have been monitoring 48 people in the Dallas area who may have come into direct or indirect contact with Mr. Duncan, including health care workers and Mr. Duncan’s relatives. But they said the person who tested positive was not among those under observation and had been “self-monitoring” to check for symptoms of Ebola."
Emphasis mine. Current wording in the article is a little different now; but the statement is there. So; the nurse infected is not even one of those thought to be at "higher risk". I will be totally astonished if Duncan's girlfriend, and some of the others in that apartment, do not become symptomatic in the next 2 weeks (it may be that long).
And 2). The Ebola mutation rate? We hear it's "high"; but- I got to wondering about sample sizes, etc.
It's much, much MUCH worse than they're reporting. The science gives the details; but the reporting does not. I was guessing, before I dug out the science; that out of 4,000 dead, they might have sampled the DNA from, oh, maybe 4-500 people? Since they report finding "more than 300" mutations that show this present virus is different from previous outbreaks?
They had blood samples from 78 people; all from Sierra Leone, in the first 24 days of the outbreak.
From 78 people; they sequenced DNA from 99 viruses.
In 99 viruses, they found- "more than 300" separate mutations. How many? Well; 395, actually, but only 340 that are really, really different.
395 mutations found in 78 people- at one location, months ago. Yes, that's really bad; and our journalists are either blindingly incompetent- or... worse.
I wouldn't leave Dallas today- but I might start packing the vehicle, and being sure it's full of gas. Think that's over reacting? Just read all the above again.