The PJ Tatler

New Ebola Czar Appointed to Manage U.S. Strategy Abroad

The Obama administration now has an Ebola czar to lead the State Department’s effort to reach out to foreign governments and direct a comprehensive strategy to handle the outbreak.

Ambassador Nancy Powell, former U.S. envoy to India,was awarded the Homeland Security Service to America Medal in 2006 for leading an effort to combat bird flu.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the goal is to “ensure a speedy and truly global response to this crisis.”

“President Obama has declared the Ebola outbreak a national security priority. Speaking on September 16 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, the President outlined the U.S. Government’s strategy to address the threat from the worsening Ebola epidemic in West Africa,” Psaki said in a statement.

“The four goals of that strategy are 1) controlling the epidemic at its source in West Africa; 2) mitigating second-order impacts, including blunting the economic, social, and political tolls in the region; 3) engaging and coordinating with a broader global audience; and 4) fortifying global health security infrastructure in the region and beyond,” she said.

“Even as we lead, the President emphasized at the CDC the need for more nations to contribute the experienced personnel, supplies and funding. Ambassador Powell, working with leaders from across our government, is leading our efforts to build the coalition required to bring this epidemic under control.”

After focusing on climate change Tuesday and ISIS on Wednesday, President Obama will today deliver remarks on the Ebola crisis.

A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine estimates that 20,000 people could be infected by early November, an alarming prediction the World Health Organization is citing in its call to reverse the trend.

The WHO said it was notified of the outbreak in March, but investigation has revealed that it started in December 2013.

“This study gave us some real insight into how this outbreak was working, for example, we learned there is no significant difference among the different countries in the total numbers of male and female case patients,” says Dr Christopher Dye, director of strategy for WHO and co-author of the study. “There may be differences in some communities, but when we actually looked at all the data combined, we saw it was really almost split 50-50.”

“Assessing the case fatality rate during this epidemic is complicated by incomplete information on the clinical outcomes of many cases, both detected and undetected,” Dye added. “This analysis shows that by 14 September, a total of 70.8% of patients with definitive outcomes have died. This rate was consistent among Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.”