Pestilence Update

America must recognize and fight the real emergency of Ebola before it’s too late

Blog note. Jesus indicated that ‘fearful sights’ (various natural disasters) would occur leading up to the time known as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation (a combined seven year period of great destruction on earth). Although these types of things have occurred in the past for centuries and thousands of years, they could be identified as the ‘season of the times’ due to the ferociousness of these events. They would be occurring in greater intensity, severity, frequency, size, duration, scope … just like the pains that a woman experiences in labor the farther along she is in the labor process. We are in the ‘season of the times’ that comes just before the seven (7) year Tribulation/Great Tribulation period

… And great earthquakes shall be in diverse places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. (Luke 21:11).

… And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; (Luke 21:25)

… Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken; (Luke 21:26)

… This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. (2 Timothy 3:1)

Jesus is giving a series of prophecies about what to look for as the age of grace comes to a close. These verses are several of many such prophecies from throughout the Bible. 2017 was the worst year in recorded history for the intensity, frequency, severity, duration and occurrence of a large number of severe natural disasters worldwide. Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones, torrential flooding, unprecedented wildfires in unusual places, devastating droughts, excessive/scorching heat setting records everywhere, record snowfalls in Europe and Russia. Snow in the Arabia. This list can go on. Most studied Eschatologists believe these ‘fearful sights’ and massive natural disasters are all part of the ‘CONVERGENCE’ of signs that this Biblical and prophetic age is closing. Most people who study prophecy are familiar with the routine reference(s) made that these things will be like a woman having labor pains that occur in greater severity, frequency, size and duration prior to giving birth. End of note.

America must recognize and fight the real emergency of Ebola before it’s too late

Vanessa Kerry and John Kerry. USA TODAY Opinion•February 26, 2019

Much has been written about a politically contrived “emergency declaration” at our southern border, but too little is being reported about a potent, critical emergency that respects no borders — an undeclared emergency demanding urgent attention: the killer infectious disease Ebola.

When an Ebola resurgence was first reported last May in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the global response seemed to indicate the world had learned the hard lessons of the 2014 West African outbreak. Initial rapid mobilization of resources, delivery of newly available and effective vaccines to the front lines, and aggressive tracing and evaluation of contacts all coalesced to write what looked like a happy ending: The outbreak was deemed over two months later.

But to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of Ebola’s demise were greatly exaggerated. Today, almost 100 children have died from a second outbreak, the second largest in Congo’s history with 745 confirmed infections and 505 deaths.

The trajectory is eerily reminiscent of the early months of the 2014 crisis. We can stop it. But we won’t succeed if we don’t demand American leadership from start to finish.

For anyone who worries that we are hitting the panic button prematurely, remember the history we experienced five years ago — one as secretary of State, the other as a doctor leading a nonprofit organization. Our sense of déjà vu is not without foundation.

In 2014, the monthly Ebola case numbers climbed slowly from a handful in January to  290 by June. By July, the number jumped to almost 730, exploded to 1,730 the following month, and peaked only in October around a whopping 7,000 cases. In the end, more than 28,000 were infected and more than 11,000 died.

Additional similarities? A fragile health system, a densely populated provincial capital of Goma, where the disease outpaces public health education, prevention and response, high migration and a confluence of nearby international borders demanding international coordination and cooperation for an effective response. The risk of rapid spread is significant.

We know more, but we’re doing less

We should be alarmed, particularly because amid the similarities there is a disturbing difference: an absence of the American leadership that proved so essential five years ago. Back then, we knew less about Ebola than we do today, but even as politicians at home demagogued fear of the disease, President Barack Obama took an enormous political risk to stop the spread of the disease. The turning point came when he deployed the U.S. military to do emergency organization and resource mobilization.

We also invested in long-term prevention, including human and material resources to strengthen capacity, local health professional education, the quality of care that could be delivered, and information systems that can have lasting impact even after an outbreak ends.

Today, the opposite is true: There’s less unknown to fear, but less leadership in Washington to fight it.

Consider just how far we’ve fallen backwards. In 2014, the United States led by example and galvanized other countries to spend more. But last year, on the very same day of Congo’s Ebola outbreak, the administration called for the rescission of $252 million designated after 2014 to support capacity building, improved surveillance and rapid response to future outbreaks. Administration officials have backpedaled on the rescission but without reversing their overall course.

Citing security concerns, the United States has pulled its front-line responders, exactly the front-line responders we need there — the world’s best trained military, diplomats and public health responders capable of making the difference today so that thousands (or more) won’t be infected and die tomorrow.

It’s not only right to help — it’s smart, too

There are moral reasons to do more, but also practical ones: The right thing to do is also the smart thing to do. Investments in health are proven to promote better governance, decrease corruption, and improve performance on the human development index.

Today, the world is trending toward the highest number of conflicts and the highest number of refugees, migrants and displaced populations than ever before.

The World Health Organization reminds us that 80 percent of Ebola’s major outbreaks have been in conflict-affected areas. We’re staring at a global tinderbox, and pandemic diseases are a deadly match strike away from conflagration. We pay now or we pay later — we pay for prevention, or we pay to mitigate the aftermath.

It’s not too late to stop Ebola, but we can’t end a crisis we’re unwilling to acknowledge. Global pandemics are the real “caravans” threatening to defy borders and destroy lives. They can’t be stopped with angry tweets, only with American leadership.

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