Texas Health Presbyterian announced on Wednesday that Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola within the United States, has died.
Duncan, who caught the virus in his native Liberia while helping an infected, pregnant neighbor get to the hospital, was being kept in isolation in a Dallas hospital and receiving experimental drugs – which clearly didn’t work. The 42-year-old, who was visiting Texas to marry his baby mama, is the first of five patients treated for Ebola in the U.S. to have succumbed to the disease.
Now that the deadly virus has hit U.S. soil, it’s time to get serious. The Department of Homeland Security has ordered agents at airports and other ports to put in place new screenings for Ebola for passengers from West Africa, including taking temperatures of passengers. Beginning next week, passengers at Washington Dulles International, Kennedy Airport, O’Hare International, Hartsfield-Jackson International and Newark Liberty International will be screened and questioned by airport authorities.
While officials in the U.S. are making sure Ebola infected bodies stay out, workers in Sierra Leone are threatening to pile them up. Burial workers in charge of putting the bodies of Ebola victims in the ground have gone on strike, claiming they have not been given hazard pay by the government.
“We cannot bury them because we are risking our lives and those in charge are depriving us of our money,” one team member said.
Another declared that, “We don’t even care if dead bodies litter all over the city. All we want is our money. We have been stigmatized in our communities, so let the government try to pay us our money.”
So now there are Ebola corpses rotting in the sun? That can’t be good…
The CDC estimates that worldwide, nearly 3,500 people have died from the virus. The Sierra Leone strike could make the outbreak even worse as dead bodies begin to pile up. Maybe this is a job for the 4,000 U.S. troops Obama pledged to send over?