America’s Ebola efforts: too little too late?

The U.S. begins to take action against the Ebola pandemic, but these endeavors might not be enough.

Sasha Rivera, Asst. Editorial Editor

After nearly 5,000 deaths in West Africa and one fatality in Texas, the U.S. is finally taking action against Ebola. However, the aid might not arrive soon enough or be efficient enough to combat Ebola, which could be a massive setback in fighting the virus.

Since Ebola’s first appearance in 1976, the World Health Organization has reported over 10,000 cases, with this year’s outbreak being the largest. The virus is contagious, but not airborne, and spreads through contact with infected people or animals. Ebola isn’t a joke; the U.S. needs to treat it very seriously.

Despite the disease’s long existence, it has only recently gained U.S. attention. With prompting from fearful public and health organizations, President Obama, in mid-September, announced the dispatch of 3,000 military personnel to West Africa over the next six months, as well as 400,000 home healthcare kits to West African families. The Pentagon will also send medical personnel and supplies for 17 treatment centers and a 25-bed hospital to Liberia.

While these measures seem like proper courses of action, they are not as efficient as they could be. According to The Hill, a top U.S. political website, aid workers see these arrangements as token gestures due to the need for thousands of medical resources. The 25-bed hospital especially has received disapproval because of the small size and its long arrival time.

It could also take weeks before the military personnel are deployed due to the strain from other conflicts. If the U.S. sends resources, it needs to make sure that they are abundant enough and will arrive soon enough to be of any efficiency.

Ebola has also reached the U.S. itself. Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man, visited Dallas and began to display symptoms in September. The nurses who treated him were infected and are reportedly in good condition, but Duncan died due to late diagnosis and inefficient treatment. Last week, a doctor in New York also contracted the disease after volunteering in West Africa. He is currently in stable condition.

Although the disease is stabilized in the U.S., vaccines are still in development, raising questions about why they are just now being created. Ebola has existed since 1976; yet, no major actions were taken until recently.

If the U.S. had worked on combatting Ebola earlier, the 2014 outbreak in West Africa and its arrival into the U.S. may have been prevented. The past can’t be changed, so the U.S. must focus on getting supplies to West Africa as soon as possible and preventing Ebola’s spread throughout the U.S.