Ebola Virus Outbreak. Is It a Black Swan?

The 2014 Ebola outbreak is far worse than previous outbreaks dating back to 1976. One look at the chart below shows you have unprecedented the current outbreak is. While the chart is already outdated the difference between Ebola 2014 and every other outbreak is clear. We must make every effort to contain the outbreak to West Africa. An outbreak in developed countries would overwhelm even advanced medical facilities.

Ebola outbreaks
All Ebola Outbreaks Since 1976

The Ebola Outbreak — A Black Swan

A friend recently asked us whether the massive Ebola outbreak in West Africa could be regarded as a “black swan” in the sense of Nassim Taleb’s definition of the term. After thinking it over, we concluded that yes, it can definitely be characterized as one. Evidently, something is very different about this year’s outbreak compared to previous ones, and a number of unexpected developments have occurred. Chief among them is that a hitherto firmly held belief had to be abandoned. It was thought that the very thing that that makes the illness rather terrifying, namely its high mortality rate, helped in containing outbreaks.

We can definitely state that the current outbreak is anything but “well contained”. Below is a statistical table that shows all Ebola outbreaks since the discovery of the disease in 1976. Note that this graphic is already dated by now — the 2014 event has literally “gone off the chart” in the meantime. Even so, this graphic gives a good impression of how small the previous incidences of Ebola outbreaks were by comparison.

From a statistical viewpoint, the 2014 outbreak definitely must be regarded as a “black swan” — it was hitherto held to be impossible for the illness to propagate in such fashion (source: news.au.com)
Another way of looking at the “black swan” quality of the current outbreak is its geographical spread. All previous Ebola outbreaks were confined to a few isolated locations at most, mainly because they occurred in remote villages in the bush. As a result sick (and therefore infectious) people simply didn’t manage to reach any other villages to spread the virus further. Moreover, since also many of those who catch the illness quickly die, the virus was thought not to propagate very easily. Death is obviously the ultimate impediment to mobility (the dead do however remain infectious for quite some time).
The fact that the outbreak already has “black swan” qualities makes it more likely that a few other strongly held beliefs could also turn out to be wrong. There is already an intense debate over how the virus actually moves from person to person. Given that it is present in sputum, a number of virologists have stated that if one were for instance bathed in a gentle spray of saliva emitted by a coughing and sneezing person that has been infected, one will probably catch it. In fact, a recent warning issued by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy is mainly noteworthy for its admission regarding the uncertainties about possible transmission vectors.

It recommends that health care workers be fitted out with proper respirators to ward off infection via aerosol particles.
Before hearing about this, we remarked as follows in a recent email conversation: Even considering the low standards of hygiene and certain cultural idosyncracies that make it more likely for the disease to spread in African countries, it seems not as difficult to get infected as was generally held. One must also keep in mind that the official numbers almost certainly understate the number of infected people by a fairly big margin — many people reportedly get infected and simply die without ever making it into the statistics.

The progression of the outbreak shows that many hitherto widely accepted nostrums about Ebola and the likelihood of it spreading beyond a fairly small group of people have proved wrong. There is therefore possibly one more article of faith that may prove wrong as well, namely that there is no reason to worry that it could spread in developed countries.
What if it did?..

More Information and Charts: Ebola Outbreak

Ebola : 2014 Outbreak Explained by Video

This video on the 2014 Ebola outbreak is a bit outdated as the disease continues to rapidly spread in West Africa.

Scientists working in a laboratory
Scientists working in a laboratory

Ebola experts all agree on one thing. The Ebola virus outbreak must be fought and contained in West Africa. The disease spreading to heavily populated cities around the world, largely through air travel, would be a nightmare.

Ebola virus is a favorite search over most search engines today. At our website, we tried to gather the best pieces of information for you. In case you liked the article above, we would recommend you to browse through our article gallery for more valuable take-away on the subject matter. Please remember the articles we present are collated from mainstream websites. Hopefully MSM is reporting accurate information as known today.

Ebola Czar: An Attorney Will Fix the Medical Problem. Right?

Meet America’s New Ebola Czar

. Submitted to ZeroHedge.com by Tyler Durden on 10/17/2014 10:20

This should fix it and calm the panic:

*OBAMA SAID TO APPOINT RON KLAIN AS EBOLA CZAR, CNN TWEETS

“Obama will appoint Ron Klain as his Ebola czar, knowledgeable sources tell CNN’s Jake Tapper.”

Forget medical experience, what the USA needs to combat the worst Ebola pandemic ever is “an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011).” Gotta wonder how Tom Frieden feels about this…

President Obama looks worried. Another layer of bureaucracy may not fix the problem. What then? Another political operative? What do you think?

President Barrack Obama
A Worried Man

Via Wikipedia,

Ronald A. “Ron” Klain is an American lawyer and political operative best known for serving as Chief of Staff to two Vice Presidents – Al Gore (1995–1999) and Joseph Biden (2009–2011). He is an influential Democratic Party insider. Earlier in his career, he was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Byron White during the Court’s 1987 and 1988 Terms and worked on Capitol Hill, where he was Chief Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination. He was portrayed by Kevin Spacey in the HBO film Recount depicting the tumult of the 2000 presidential election.

Early life
Klain was born on August 8, 1961 in Indianapolis and grew up in a Jewish home. He graduated from North Central High School[4] in 1979 and was on the school’s Brain Game team, which finished as season runner-up.[citation needed] He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University in 1983. In 1987, he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School,[4] where he won the Sears Prize for the highest grade point average in 1984-85 and was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Capitol Hill career

Klain’s early experience on Capitol Hill included serving as Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Ed Markey. From 1989 to 1992, he served as Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, overseeing the legal staff’s work on matters of constitutional law, criminal law, antitrust law, and Supreme Court nominations. In 1995, Senator Tom Daschle appointed him the Staff Director of the Senate Democratic Leadership Committee.

Clinton administration

Klain joined the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1992. He ultimately was involved in both of Bill Clinton’s campaigns, oversaw Clinton’s judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore’s recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath. Some published reports have given him credit for Clinton’s “100,000 cops” proposal during the 1992 campaign; at a minimum, he worked closely with Clinton aide Bruce Reed in formulating it. In the White House, he was Associate Counsel to the President, directing judicial selection efforts, and led the team that won confirmation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Klain left the judicial selection role in 1994 to become Chief of Staff and Counselor to Attorney General Janet Reno. In 1995, he became Assistant to the President, and Chief of Staff and Counselor to Al Gore.

Gore campaign

During Klain’s tenure as Gore’s Chief of Staff, Gore consolidated his position as the likely Democratic nominee in 2000. Still, Klain was seen as too loyal to Clinton by some longtime Gore advisors. Feuding broke out between Clinton and Gore loyalists in the White House in 1999, and Klain was ousted by Gore campaign chairman Tony Coelho in August of that year. In October 1999, he joined the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers. A year later, Klain returned to the Gore campaign, once Coelho was replaced by William M. Daley. Daley hired Klain for a senior position in the Gore campaign and then named him General Counsel of Gore’s Recount Committee.

Legal career

In 1994, Time named Klain one of the “50 most promising leaders in America” under the age of 40. In 1999, Washingtonian magazine named him the top lawyer in Washington under the age of 40, and the American Bar Association’s Barrister magazine named him one of the top 20 young lawyers nationwide. The National Law Journal named him one of its Lawyers of the Year for 2000.

Lobbying

Klain helped Fannie Mae overcome “regulatory issues”.

2004-2008
During the 2004 Presidential campaign, Klain worked as an adviser to Wesley Clark in the early primaries. Later, during the General Election, Klain was heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry’s campaign and is widely credited for his role in preparing Senator Kerry for a strong performance in the debates against President George W. Bush, which gave Kerry a significant boost in the polls.[6] He then acted as an informal adviser to Evan Bayh, who is from Klain’s home state of Indiana. Klain has also commented on matters of law and policy on televised programs such as the Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Capital Report, NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, and Crossfire.

In 2005, Klain left his partnership at O’Melveny & Myers to serve as Executive Vice President and General Counsel of a new investment firm, Revolution LLC, launched by AOL co-founder Steve Case.

Obama administration

On November 12, 2008, Roll Call announced that Klain had been chosen to serve as Chief of Staff to Vice President Joe Biden, the same role he served for Gore. Klain had worked with Biden previously, having served as counsel to the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary while Biden chaired that committee and assisted Biden’s speech writing team during the 1988 presidential campaign.

Klain was mentioned as a possible replacement for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, but opted to leave the White House for a position in the private sector in January 2011.

Klain apparently signed off on President Obama’s support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra. Despite concerns about whether the company was viable, Klain approved an Obama visit, stating, “The reality is that if POTUS visited 10 such places over the next 10 months, probably a few will be belly-up by election day 2012.”

Posted on ZeroHedge: Ebola Czar

Ebola virus is a common search over most search engines today. At our website, we tried to gather the best pieces of information for you. In case you liked the article above, we would recommend you to browse through our article gallery for more valuable takeaways on the subject matter. Please remember the articles we present are collated from mainstream websites. Hopefully MSM is reporting accurate information as known today.

Ebola. What’s the Worst Case Scenario?

We’re told by the CDC we have nothing to fear. In the US Ebola will be contained. This statement was made at a CDC press conference one day before the nurse in Dallas was confirmed to have Ebola. And she reportedly was following CDC protocol designed to prevent contagion. Bad timing by the CDC, who in my opinion, is over confident in US preparedness for an Ebola outbreak.

Doctors Without Borders has been active in Africa for years treating Ebola patients. Their protocol has been effective. Not one DWB health worker has become infected with Ebola. Perhaps our CDC should follow their protocol, not blame a nurse for a breach of theirs. The US is NOT prepared for an Ebola pandemic.

The following article was written by an author who has been right with many forecasts. He’s a smart guy. His view of what could happen with an Ebola epidemic is grim. Hopefully, Dmity Orlov is wrong. Read it and other works by Orlov and you decide. Links to his website are at the end of this article.

Ebola and the Five Stages of Collapse

By Dmitry Orlov

At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries—Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone—where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. An entirely separate Ebola outbreak in the Congo appears to be contained, but illustrates an important point: even if the current outbreak (to which some are already referring as a pandemic) is brought under control, continuing deforestation and natural habitat destruction in the areas where the fruit bats that carry the virus live make future outbreaks quite likely.

Depositphotos_50721177_m

Ebola’s mortality rate can be as high as 70%, but seems closer to 50% for the current major outbreak.

This is significantly worse than the Bubonic plague, which killed off a third of Europe’s population. Previous Ebola outbreaks occurred in rural, isolated locales, where they quickly burned themselves out by infecting everyone within a certain radius, then running out of new victims. But the current outbreak has spread to large population centers with highly mobile populations, and the chances of such a spontaneous end to this outbreak seem to be pretty much nil.

Ebola has an incubation period of some three weeks during which patients remain asymptomatic and, specialists assure us, noninfectious. However, it is known that some patients remain asymptomatic throughout, in spite of having a strong inflammatory response, and can infect others. Nevertheless, we are told that those who do not present symptoms of Ebola—such as high fever, nausea, fatigue, bloody stool, bloody vomit, nose bleeds and other signs of hemorrhage—cannot infect others.

We are also told that Ebola can only be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of an infected individual, but it is known that among pigs and monkeys Ebola can be spread through the air, and the possibility of catching it via a cough, a sneeze, a handrail or a toilet seat is impossible to discount entirely.

It is notable that many of the medical staff who became infected did so in spite of wearing protective gear—face masks, gloves, goggles and body suits. In short, nothing will guarantee your survival short of donning a space suit or relocating to a space station.

There is a test that shows whether someone is infected with Ebola, but it is known to produce false negatives. Other methods do even worse. Current effort at “enhanced screening,” recently introduced at a handful of international airports, where passengers arriving from the affected countries are now being checked for fever, fatigue and nausea, are unlikely to stop infected, and infectious, individuals. They are akin to other “security theater” methods that are currently in vogue, such as making passengers take off their shoes and testing breast milk for its potential as an explosive.

The fact that the thermometers, which agents point at people’s heads, are made to look like guns is a nice little touch; whoever came up with that idea deserves Homeland Security’s highest decoration—to be shaped like a bomb and worn rectally.

It is unclear what technique or combination of techniques could guarantee that Ebola would not spread. Even a month-long group quarantine for all travelers from all of the affected countries may provide the virus with a transmission path via asymptomatic, undiagnosed individuals. And even a quarantine that would amount to solitary confinement (which would be both impractical and illegal) would simply put evolutionary pressure on this fast-mutating virus to adapt and incubate longer than the period of the quarantine.

Treatment of Ebola victims amounts to hydration and palliative care. Transfusions of blood donated by a survivor seem to be the only effective therapy available. An experimental drug called ZMapp has been demonstrated to stop Ebola in non-human primates, but its effectiveness in humans is now known to be less than 100%. It is an experimental drug, made in small batches by infecting young tobacco plants with an eyedropper.

Even if its production is scaled up, it will be too little and too late to have any measurable effect on the current epidemic. Likewise, experimental Ebola vaccines have been demonstrated to be effective in animal trials, and one has been shown to be safe in humans, but the process of demonstrating it effectiveness in humans and then producing it in sufficient quantities may take longer than it would for the virus to spread around the world.

The scenario in which Ebola engulfs the globe is not yet guaranteed, but neither can it be dismissed as some sort of apocalyptic fantasy: the chances of it happening are by no means zero. And if Ebola is not stopped, it has the potential to reduce the human population of the earth from over 7 billion to around 3.5 billion in a relatively short period of time. Note that even a population collapse of this magnitude is still well short of causing human extinction: after all, about half the victims fully recover and become immune to the virus. But supposing that Ebola does run its course, what sort of world will it leave in its wake?

More importantly, now is a really good time to start thinking of ways in which people can adapt to the reality of a global Ebola pandemic, to avoid a wide variety of worst-case outcomes. After all, compared to some other doomsday scenarios, such as runaway climate change or global nuclear annihilation, a population collapse can look positively benign, and, given the completely unsustainable impact humans are currently having on the environment, may perhaps even come to be regarded as beneficial.

I understand that such thinking is anathema to those who feel that every problem must have a solution—or it’s not worth discussing. I certainly don’t want to discourage those who are trying to stop Ebola, or to delay its spread until a vaccine becomes available, and would even help them if I could. I am not suicidal, and I don’t look forward to the death of roughly half the people I know. But I happen to disagree that thinking about what such an outcome, and perhaps even preparing for it in some ways, is necessarily a bad idea. Unless, of course, it produces a panic. So, if you are prone to panic, perhaps you shouldn’t be reading this.

And so, for the benefit of those who are not particularly panic-prone, I am going to trot out my old technique of examining collapse as consisting of five distinct stages: financial, commercial, political, social and cultural, and briefly discuss the various ramifications of a swift 50% global population collapse when viewed through that prism. If you want to know all about the five stages, my book is widely available.

Financial collapse

Our current set of financial arrangements, involving very large levels of debt leading to artificially high valuations placed on stocks, commodities, real estate, and Ph.D’s in economics, is underpinned by a key assumption: that the global economy is going to continue to grow. Yes, global growth started stumbling around the turn of the century, stopped for a while during the financial collapse of 2008, and has since then remained anemic, with even the most tentative signs of recovery having much to do with unlimited money-printing by the world’s central banks, but the economics Ph.D’s remain ever so hopeful that growth will resume. Nevertheless, this much is clear: halving the number of workers and consumers would not be conducive to boosting economic growth.

Quite the opposite: it would mean that most debt will have to be written off. Likewise, the valuations of companies that would supply half the demand with half the workers would be unlikely to go up. Nor would the houses, half of which would stand vacant and dilapidated, increase in value. If the supply of oil suddenly outstrips demand by 50%, then this would cause the price of oil to drop to a point where it no longer covers the cost of producing it, and oil producers will be forced to shut down.

This would not be a happy event for those countries that are heavily dependent on energy exports in order to afford imports of food to feed their populations. Nor would such developments spell a happy end for those countries that need to continuously roll over trillions of dollars of short-term debt in order to continue feeding their populations via government hand-outs (the United States comes to mind).

“But what about wealth preservation?!” I hear some of my readers screaming in anguish? “How do I hedge my portfolio against a sudden 50% global population drop?” Well, that’s easy: you need to be short all paper. Short it all: currency, stocks, bonds, debt instruments, deeds on urban real estate. Get out of most commodities: energy, obviously, but also precious metals, because you can’t eat gold. Go long people (who will be in ever-shorter supply) and arable land (because people have to eat) and stockpile everything else that they will need to learn to feed themselves.

If they are sufficiently grateful for all your help, they will feed you too. Alternatively, you can just sit on your paper wealth as it dwindles to nothing, and wait for the torches and the pitchforks to come out. Since wealthy people squander a disproportionate amount of wealth on themselves and their families, killing them off is a good wealth preservation strategy—for the rest of us, so feel free to do your part.

Read More: Ebola Could Lead to Collapse

Ebola virus is a favorite search over most search engines today. At our website, we tried to gather the best pieces of information for you. In case you liked the article above, we would recommend you to browse through our article gallery for more valuable take-away on the subject matter. Please remember the articles we present are collated from mainstream websites. Hopefully, MSM is reporting accurate information as known today.