WHO warns Ebola cases could soar to 10,000 a week
14 October 2014
It's an ominous number. There could be up to 10,000 new Ebola cases per week in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone by the end of this year as the outbreak spreads, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday. "It is impossible to look into a glass ball and say, 'we (will) have this many or that many,' but we anticipate the number of cases per week at that time, it's going to be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 a week," WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Bruce Aylward told reporters. "You know, it could be higher, it could be lower but its gonna be somewhere in that ballpark."
Compare those December projections to the latest figures. As of Tuesday morning, there were a total of 8,914 Ebola cases and 4,447 deaths reported to the WHO, Aylward said. In other words, things could get worse before they get better. Aylward told reporters that in 90 days, officials have a goal they're aiming for: They want to see the number of cases dropping from week to week. To start to decrease the rate of infection, the WHO says it hopes to isolate 70% of Ebola patients and have 70% of Ebola victim burials performed safely by December 1. Getting responders, facilities and plans in place to meet the goal will be very difficult, Aylward said.