We Thought Africa's Ebola Epidemic Was Improving. This Chart Shows Why We Were Wrong

We Thought Africa's Ebola Epidemic Was Improving. This Chart Shows Why We Were Wrong
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The news: There's been a string of good news about the ongoing Ebola epidemic in West Africa: Both Senegal and Nigeria have been officially declared Ebola-free, limiting the hot zone to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

But that doesn't mean we're out of the woods. Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released it latest update on the West African Ebola outbreak, and things still look bad.

As of Oct. 22, there have been 9,911 official cases of Ebola in the region — an increase of 1,000 from the week before. Liberia is by far the worst hit, with 4,665 in the country alone:

Source: CDC

Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia, has had the most new cases of Ebola in the entire region. Other cities with high incidences of new cases include Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Macenta, Guinea:

Source: CDC

And when you look at the picture cumulatively, the border region between the three countries remains the area with the highest number of total Ebola cases:

Source: CDC

We have a limited time to turn this epidemic around. Right now, West Africa is averaging around 1,000 new Ebola cases per week. But according to the World Health Organization (WHO), that number could jump as high as 10,000 per week very soon. The WHO estimates that we have less than 60 days before things spiral out of control and that the region needs about 5,000 more health care workers to stem the epidemic.

To do that, we need a serious attitude adjustment. While people might be freaking out at the prospect of an Ebola outbreak in America, it's important to keep in mind that the best way to keep the U.S. safe is to stop the epidemic at its source. That means more resources and volunteers and fewer nonsensical policies that disincentivize health care workers from fighting at the front lines.

This epidemic is far from over. And if we are to see an end to it, we have a very short time left to bring out the big guns.

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Eileen Shim

Eileen is a writer living in New York. She studied comparative literature and international studies at Yale University, and enjoys writing about the intersection of culture and politics.

MORE FROM

Several Republicans are strongly denouncing Trump’s military transgender ban

“Anybody who wants to serve in the military should serve in the military. I don’t agree with the president.”

Worried Trump might pardon himself? Blame Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton might not have been "thinkin' past tomorrow" when he pushed for broad executive privileges.

Harry Truman desegregated the military 69 years ago. Today, Trump banned transgender troops.

Truman wanted to end discrimination in the military "as rapidly as possible."

Here is a timeline of Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions

Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions Wednesday — reportedly while the embattled attorney general was in the White House.

How many transgender people serve in the U.S. military?

There's no exact number, but here's what research shows.

Human smuggling is a deadly problem — and hardline immigration policies will make it worse

The recent deaths in a tractor-trailer outside Walmart are startling — but historically, not uncommon.

Several Republicans are strongly denouncing Trump’s military transgender ban

“Anybody who wants to serve in the military should serve in the military. I don’t agree with the president.”

Worried Trump might pardon himself? Blame Alexander Hamilton.

Hamilton might not have been "thinkin' past tomorrow" when he pushed for broad executive privileges.

Harry Truman desegregated the military 69 years ago. Today, Trump banned transgender troops.

Truman wanted to end discrimination in the military "as rapidly as possible."

Here is a timeline of Donald Trump’s relationship with Jeff Sessions

Trump continued his Twitter attacks on Sessions Wednesday — reportedly while the embattled attorney general was in the White House.

How many transgender people serve in the U.S. military?

There's no exact number, but here's what research shows.

Human smuggling is a deadly problem — and hardline immigration policies will make it worse

The recent deaths in a tractor-trailer outside Walmart are startling — but historically, not uncommon.