Originally published in The Christian Post
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Tom Frieden has said that the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is “spiraling out of control.” The death toll has climbed over 1,900, while the United Nations warned that $600 million will be needed in supplies to tackle the crisis.
Frieden noted that a number of countries have “turned their backs” on those coming from the countries that have been hit hardest by the outbreak, namely Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Added to that are the restrictions on flights and border crossings that have been established, which were designed to contain the spread, but are also hindering relief efforts.
“This is making it really hard to get help in and to respond effectively to the outbreak,” the CDC director told CNN‘s “New Day.”
“What we’re seeing is a … hugely fast increase in cases that’s harder and harder to manage,” Frieden said. “The more we can get in there and tamp that down, the fewer cases we’ll have in the weeks and months to come.”
Cases have also been reported in Nigeria and Senegal, with health officials warning that the spread of the virus is continuing to accelerate. The World Health Organization has said that over 1,900 people have died from the outbreak, despite the efforts of both government workers and international relief groups who are working in clinics to treat the infected and educate the public on prevention measures.
The U.N. added that at least $600 million will be needed in supplies to counter the epidemic, which is over $100 million higher than a previous estimate.
Dr. David Nabarro, senior U.N. Coordinator for Ebola, noted that the flight and border restrictions have made it difficult to move workers and supplies around the region.
“We are working intensively with those governments to encourage them to commit to the movement of people and planes and at the same time deal with anxieties about the possibility of infection,” Nabarro said.
Health officials from Canada are planning to send an experimental vaccine against Ebola to West Africa, though there are challenges with how to transport it, Reuters reported.
“We are now working with the WHO to address complex regulatory, logistical and ethical issues so that the vaccine can be safely and ethically deployed as rapidly as possible,” Health Canada spokesman Sean Upton said in a statement.
“For example, the logistics surrounding the safe delivery of the vaccine are complicated.” Upton explained that keeping the vaccine cool enough to remain potent will be one of the challenges.
More than 3,000 have been infected by the disease, but WHO has warned that the actual number of Ebola cases could be as high as 20,000, and can spread to as many as 10 countries.
In a separate CNN interview, President Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia appealed for other nations to partner with Liberia by “offering monetary, health care, logistical and other assistance, yes, but also by giving moral and personal support to a problem that’s affected millions already.”
“Give us hope by joining us in this fight,” Sirleaf added. “Don’t instill fear. We need that hope, we need that assistance, we need for Liberians to know that this war can be won.”
President Barack Obama has also told the people of West Africa that Americans are praying for them.
“Stopping this disease won’t be easy, but we know how to do it,” Obama said. “You are not alone. Together, we can treat those who are sick with respect and dignity, we can save lives, and our countries can work together to improve public health so this kind of outbreak doesn’t happen again.”