For the cynical and the conspiracy minded: Ebola, This is the End!
So it’s finally here, the global pandemic we have been warned about for decades. Ebola, a once sleepy little virus wiping out villages in the jungles of Africa has gone prime time. It’s a big boy virus now, out of the villages and into the cities of Western Africa. With a 70% mortality rate and projections by the World Health Organization of 20,000 cases by November, we should be scared. Because without some massive global efforts those numbers continue to climb, although large numbers of deaths in Africa are not the problem. The problem of course is the number of infections and Ebola’s 21 day incubation period. That’s how the first case got into the US, the man flying into the US from West Africa showed no signs, and likely wasn’t contagious during his trip, but became sick once he landed. Current screening methods, looking for folks with fevers won’t work when a simple dose of aspirin or ibuprofen can mask that symptom. Given that having a fever at the airport gets you quarantined with actual Ebola cases, and the existence of better care outside of Africa, there is a lot of incentive to get out of Africa if you think you’re sick. So, it’s going to happen, Ebola cases will get out of Africa and we’ve seen one already in the US. So Ebola will spread, however, when it spreads to organized, well-resourced countries with solid hospital systems and a high ability to contact trace, the spread will be limited as it has been in Nigeria.
Of course it’s also going to spread to countries with high population densities and poorly resourced countries, with bad hospitals and an inability to effectively contact trace, think Asia as in India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Nepal. There are likely other countries all over the world that fit this bill. Those countries are very afraid right now and India is preparing and Nepal is very afraid. Many of these countries have poor people who are working in West Africa, how many will come home infected and sick?
So if this will be limited to poor countries why should we be afraid in the US? Mostly due to the economic fallout from large areas of the world being infected with a raging pandemic. This will cause borders to close, travel and commerce to be greatly interrupted as countries, including the US, go into isolation out of fear. This could easily lead to the greatest economic depression in history. Once the dominoes begin to fall on that front things get very, very ugly everywhere for those who are under resourced and particularly for those under prepared.
For the cynics!
A more cynical but less gruesome idea however exists in my mind. You see it typically takes 5-10 years of research for a vaccine to get approved and that’s both a significant time and money investment by a drug company. However, if there’s a raging epidemic of a deadly virus somewhere, hypothetically let’s say Ebola in West Africa, you might just get that time line sped up. On that front GlaxoSmithKline has gotten approval and started vaccinating volunteers with their new vaccine in recent weeks. Additionally it has been reported that they have already started production on 10,000 doses of the vaccine assuming it works.
Why would GlaxoSmithKline do this, is it out of the generous nature of their heart?
I will propose a more devious reason for this, the best thing that can happen to a drug company from an economic perspective, is for an outbreak to allow them to highly compress the timeline for a drug to come to market. This speeds up the return on investment and in this case they are actually being supported by public funds to help make it happen. Even better, if the outbreak is in the developing world where lots of poor people die far away from the people in countries where people have money to pay for vaccines. Even better yet, if some cases make it to the developed world and really scare the hell out of the masses. Sound familiar?
Scared affluent white people will line up in droves to get a vaccine for the Black Death of the modern age and GlaxoSmithKline will happily provide it and at a premium price I’m sure. To be clear, I’m not saying a drug company planned this, I’m also not saying they didn’t. It is more likely they saw a market opportunity and have jumped on it like good little capitalists.
So sit back, save up your money and wait for GlaxoSmithKline to ride in on its white Bentley to save the day. That is assuming they haven’t miscalculated and the dominoes don’t fall too quickly and the shit really hits the fan. If it does friends, I’m sure like me, you’re prepared, your supplies are in place and your bugout location is secure. Sweet dreams! ~ ZD Blue
PS – for a more hopeful piece check out: For the Trusting and the Hopeful: Ebola, Everything will be ok