Let’s get to the point–the US is woefully and inadequately prepared for mass cases of Ebola. The individual case in Dallas is enough to show that even given the proper protocols, health workers are still at risk. Now consider that the hospital failed to properly diagnose Mr Duncan on his first visit. If these can happen in a world-class facility in Dallas, your local hospitals and clinics are even less prepared to deal with Ebola!
Taking a page from history, here’s the next point. Inmates are secluded from the general population on Rikers Island such that even an escapee from the facility has a natural barrier between him and society. The same principal was applied at Alcatraz. In more recent times, we have the detainees in Guantanamo. On the civil side of the point, Ellis Island served as a landing zone and allowed introduction of only the “qualified” into the country. Now fast forward. We have already deployed military resources to help in Africa. It is time to deploy them here as well.
The recommendation I’d put forward is to station a Naval hospital ship offshore–a few miles perhaps off of the Carolinas. Staff it with military trained to deal with Ebola cases–the decontamination processes are not that foreign as military are trained for decon from Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological (NBC) environments anyway. Any and all diagnosed cases–even strongly suspected ones–are transported to and housed on the ship. It’s a well-controlled, self-contained environment with the ability to receive supplies and patients via helicopter.
If we fail to contain Ebola cases early on, the risk of it being widely introduced into the general population is high. Once that happens, facilities and healthcare workers will be quickly overwhelmed, only adding to the risks.
The US is running out of time to develop a strategy for containment and treatment. Start this plan now and we may save hundreds if not thousands of lives!