The virus has already infected nearly 6,000 people and taken the lives of roughly half that number, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the worst of it, they say, could be yet to come as they anticipate another 21,000 by the end of September if they do not take more immediate and extreme measures to contain the virus.
It is unclear, then, if the weekend containment of the infected regions did any good, especially in light of the ancillary hostility it inspired from locals who are, no doubt, a bit horrified at not only the possibility of the virus infecting their village, but that contaminated products are making their way into the communities, bringing on a near-mass hysteria.
This is already the worst outbreak the CDC and the World Health Organization have already seen, and health officials understand they need to move quickly if they want to prevent it from becoming an epidemic. Because the worst case scenario is that the virus continues to spread to a record number of 1.4 million cases by the end of January.
But those numbers are calculated from statistics taken in August. Frieden assures that “events on the ground have changed quite a bit since; we are seeing a rapid scale-up of the response.”
Indeed, the U.S. is sending troops and equipment to immediately affect change on the front line. “What the modeling shows us is that even in dire scenarios, if we move fast enough, we can turn it around. I am confident that the most dire scenarios will not come to pass” Frieden concludes.