Updated 01:11 AM EST, Sat, Jan 16, 2021

Ebola Outbreak 2014 News Update, Watchlist & Death Toll: 130 Maximum US Cases Predicted by End of 2014

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United States could face as many as 130 Ebola cases and as few as 15 by the end of this year, Biz Journals reported. This is according to a risk-stimulation study called Risk Management Solutions or RMS conducted by a Newark-based catastrophe risk specialist.

Presently, only one person in the U.S. has died from Ebola, Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan, while nine patients have been treated for the disease. Seven out of the nine infected got the virus while in West Africa, Biz Journals noted. Two American nurses, Nina Pham and Amber Joy Vinson, who contracted Ebola while caring for Duncan, have now recovered from the virus. Six others are now in treatment in the U.S.

"Even at the higher end of that spectrum, the [130 cases] projection works out to less than one case per 2 million people in the United States," according to Biz Journals.

RMS based its predictions on the on-going Ebola outbreak which has killed more than 5,000 people in West African nations -- Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, Biz Journals noted. RMS also expects that majority of the projected cases in the U.S. may come from doctors and health workers returning to the country after caring for Ebola victims in West Africa.

Pandemic risk expert and RMS senior manager Dominic Smith stated, "Even the high end of our calculated range of new cases of Ebola in the U.S. is well within the nation's capacity to cope with an outbreak," as quoted by Biz Journals.

Quarantine Is Necessary for Ebola Health Workers?

About 75 percent of Americans surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos poll think that quarantines should be issued for health workers returning to the U.S. after caring for Ebola patients in West Africa. Eighty percent of those surveyed believe that the health workers' whereabouts should be controlled and monitored.

"A quarter of poll respondents thought quarantines were unnecessary for healthcare workers, and about one in six respondents thought such workers should neither monitor their health themselves nor be actively monitored by officials," Reuters noted. "The poll, which was conducted online with 1,681 people who chose to participate between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3, did not ask whether quarantines should be mandatory or voluntary," the report added.

These survey findings are in direct correlation to the recent rules implemented by the governors of New York and New Jersey, which stated that people arriving at New York City's international airports from West Africa are subjected to a 21-day mandatory quarantine, Reuters continued.

To know more about the quarantine, check here.

Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration, along with many public health experts, are against the mandatory quarantines issued by New York and New Jersey, "saying they are unhelpful because a person without symptoms cannot spread the virus," as reported by Reuters.

Only one person, Kaci Hickox, an American nurse who arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport after caring for Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, was ordered into mandatory quarantine. 

"Hickox, who had been working with Doctors Without Borders helping Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, was confined to a tent at a local hospital for several days and repeatedly decried her imprisonment. New Jersey officials handed her over to state officials in Maine who tried to confine her to her home before a state judge ruled that a quarantine was unnecessary on Friday. The state and the nurse reached a deal on Monday, allowing her to travel freely and requiring her to monitor her health," Reuters wrote.

Hunger Forcing People to Leave Quarantines At Home

Quarantines have been imposed on thousands of people in Sierra Leone, but they are leaving their homes to search for food despite the fear of acquiring Ebola.

Boston.com reported that "The quarantine of Kenema, the third largest town in Sierra Leone, is having a devastating impact on trade -- travel is restricted so trucks carrying food cannot freely drive around,'' the Disasters Emergency Committee said in a statement reported on Boston.com. ''Food is becoming scarce, which has led to prices increasing beyond the reach of ordinary people."

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