It was an outbreak that scared the whole world. The number of deaths was predicted to be more than one million. The good news is that the alarmists were very wrong. The bad news is that thousands did die. The social fabric of afflicted nations came apart.
It was a tragic epidemic. In Liberia alone, over 4,700 people died. The World Health Organization recently said Liberia is now Ebola free. After 42 days (two incubation periods) the safe burial of the last case took place.
The president of Liberia shook hands with the people around her. She would not have done this weeks ago when all were warned about human contact.
Monrovia is the capital of Liberia. There now is calm where ambulances used to race around.
There is still concern about Guinea and Sierra Leone. Many fewer cases are being reported. A health worker said there are hidden chains of transmission. “We do not know where the virus is,” he said.
The countries bordering affected countries are looking for sick travelers. They want to test all dead bodies for the virus. They are still using protective gear to bury the dead.
Officials are asking whether Liberia can recover from the outbreak. The health care system is in tatters. Will companies return and invest in the country?
The U.S. has stopped advising Americans to avoid Liberia. However, travelers returning will still be monitored for three weeks.
Ebola still lurks in the jungle. Some of the rules adopted during the outbreak must continue. For example, the washing of hands is very important. “This practice should become a way of life,” an expert said.
Many lives were lost. For families who lost loved ones, the ending of the outbreak is a bittersweet moment. One woman said, “It is a sad moment for me and my family because we are not complete.”
Source: The New York Times May 9, 2015