Monday, September 15, 2014

Things That Make you Go "Hmmmmmmm" - Updated

Totally aside from the march of Ebola unchecked or even constructively hindered by anything done so far, as documented multiple places, a couple of things we know, and a couple of more things I'd like to:

FACT: We were told that Nancy Writebol and Dr. Brantly were infected with Ebola.
FACT: Both were medically evacuated to Emory U. Hospital for treatment.
FACT: Beating the not inconsiderable odds, they both survived, and have been discharged as EVD infection-free.
FACT: Discounting WHO's cooked numbers, if you look at the number of cases and the number of deaths, the rough number of deaths now for any point in time, is the same as the number of cases 21 days prior to now (the incubation period of Ebola) if you multiply that number by 90% (the standard prior Ebola max death rate).

> This strain of Ebola is behaving exactly as every other strain did with regard to speed of progression, and fatality.
> The spread is different, precisely because it got out of the boonies, and into large urban populations, which it's never done before.
> If Writebol and Brantley were truly infected with Ebola, the safest place for them right now is working with the sick in West Africa, because they're both presumably bulletproof as far as Ebola virus is concerned. For life.
> Their combined survival, assuming both had Ebola, is a 1% absolute likelihood on a probability scale. (10% of 10% = 1%).
> If they didn't have Ebola, their dual survival in a BL4 hospital ICU under round-the-clock medical care and observation is a 99.9999999% certainty.

FACT: Neither of them is in West Africa now, despite being so dedicated prior that they were willing to work among a deadly pestilence with sub-par protective gear, and even none, to bring what help they could, and ease suffering; not particularly bright, but on a moral level if not an intelligence one, commendable.

FACT: Either they had Ebola, or they didn't.
FACT: They either knew the truth of their status, or they didn't.

Tinfoil fringe decision matrix in line with the known facts:

If they were infected with Ebola, why aren't they back in action on the ground?
They could now go there without any protective gear, and give unprotected mouth-to-mouth, with no further risk of contracting Ebola. (They wouldn't do it because of any number of other infection risks, but it makes the greater point.)
Since they aren't back nor champing to try to get back, either their prior commitment is suspect, or their immunity is, and they know the truth of both those things at this point.

If they didn't have Ebola, either they knew that, or they didn't. Either way, the CDC knows the truth.
If they didn't have Ebola, why say they did?

If they didn't have Ebola and knew that, why consent to be evacuated and held for treatment?

I could spin any number of wild suppositions. I won't because that's what Daily Kos and Facebook is for.
But all I know at this point is that the undisputable facts don't add up.
2 + 2 = 9 and 11/3rds.
And it's nagging the hell out of me.

When I couple that lack of coherence of what we know with what we've been told and what we may reasonably and logically assume, with CDC today issuing a "Prepare to Shit Kittens" Warning Order to every hospital in the US, I'm even less comforted.

UPDATE (9/30): I saw Brantly's testimony before Congress today. Based on his description of symptoms, I'm as certain as I can be (without running his bloodwork myself) that he had Ebola. He also noted that he was one of only two doctors in all of Southern Liberia treating Ebola patients when he got sick with it. He further noted that the Ebola wards use the few survivors who recover to help care for the others, because they can do so without needing the foofaraw of all the hazmat gear. Which, given his healthy and robust appearance now, and decided lack of any effort to return, means that he is an Altruism fail: the Ebola equivalent of a liberal who's been mugged.

So when a man who'd travel 8,000 miles to treat strangers doesn't want to go back, ponder the diligence of those here, now, tracking down contacts and caring for victims, now that the CDC guidelines that ensured Ebola could get here, have succeeded in accomplishing precisely that result.


  1. A prepare to shit kittens order? Ok, that was funny.

  2. They didn't go back because after almost dying they need to be with their families, and are still recovering at home. With the political situation, rioting against medical facilities, I'd avoid going even without the Ebola factor.

  3. Which mainly informs us that "they" are not "you".

    The point remains that their actions now give reason to wonder why the change in their behavior, and which of the things we don't know accounts for that change.

  4. I suspect that there's a bit of bravado in the pre-bull run civil war style that a good amount of the medical personnel going over there have. I suspect actually getting ebola would knock that right out and induce some sober risk calculation. It's kind of like pulling off a 1 chamber empty russian roulette round and not wanting to do a 5 chambers empty subsequent round.