Ebola Update: The Sky Is Not Falling

William Walsh, Senior Vice President, NBHN

William Walsh, Senior Vice President, NBHN

As a member of the North Bronx Health network which includes Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital I have complete faith in our Health and Hospitals Corporation, NBHN and the HHC hospitals in The Bronx and throughout New York City in their preparedness for POSSIBLE Ebola cases. This is not Texas. I feel we are in a state of preparedness. I know the staff at NBHN and at other hospitals. Their priority is for their patients and for their staff and for the community. Personally I have much more confidence in HHC than in the CDC. Knowing how Jacobi and North Central Bronx Hospital under the leadership of William Walsh are in a state of preparedness and how seriously HHC and Dr. Ramanathan Raju are taking the possibility of any cases in New York City I have no concerns. The people of New York City are in good hands.

The New York City Department of Health needs to be sure that proper protocols are in place at ALL health care facilities in New York City. Hospitals have to compare notes and take action. We, the public should ask questions but understand that all hospital staff is now in alert gear and should not be bombarded with questions and false rumors. We need to leave preparedness to the health care professionals. We do not need rumors or any kind of panic. We should ask our personal health care providers what they are doing. Yesterday I saw my periodontist. I asked him if staff asked all patients about their travel in the past month. He said that they did not but would be from now on. We should all do the same. Speak to your health care practitioners. Preparedness is not limited to hospitals, ambulances, airports, etc. FEAR of an apocalyptic pandemic spreads faster than the virus.

Comments from the World Health Organization are not accurate and not based on fact. Yes, Ebola is a very serious and terrible infection. It is NOT the most “… the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times” as Margaret Chan of WHO said. It may be acute but not the most serious. It is not an airborne virus. Physical contact is needed. We had AIDS which killed many more people and spread faster than Ebola. Professor Jonathan Gershoni, an expert on virology and immunology at Tel Aviv University said “People do not get well from AIDS. Look at Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea: The number of people dying from AIDS is about 10,000 in the same period of time that 4,000 died from Ebola. People need to put things into perspective” There have been other diseases such as viral hepatitis that kill over one million people a year. The disease is pretty much isolated in three countries: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. In Sierra Leone political feuds is hindering treatments and control. Nigeria and Senegal have controlled the outbreak. We will do the same. There is no need for panic or rumor. There is a need to prepare in a careful and precise manner. It is interesting to note there is a 50% percent chance of the body fighting off this virus. Containment is the answer. Containment in the three infected nations should be the priority and the goal. Fear and rumor is not what is needed. Yes, the virus is horrible. The best way to combat it is to stay informed and do what you usually do every day.

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