Number of cases: 516. Number of dead: 282. That, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization, which was Aug. 4.
Those who are afraid are smart. Ebola is most contagious after it has killed its host.
In Monrovia, the nation’s capital, people are lining up at banks. People are hoarding food. People are fleeing.
Soldiers have quarantined neighborhoods.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a state of emergency — for the next 90 days.
She’s asked people to pray and fast. Religious leaders would also pray for health care workers and “against any form of witchcraft activity used to spread Ebola virus,” she said.
“We are calling on all Liberians to join in this time of true national repentance and prayer against the Ebola virus,” said priest Jervis Witherspoon, spiritual adviser to Johnson, according to Agence France-Presse. “We believe, in accordance to the scripture, that God will hear our prayer, forgive our sins and heal the land.”
The United States has advised citizens not to travel to the country, and sent the families of its diplomats home.
Those treating the infected are becoming infected themselves — and walking off the job.
“People are scared. People are traumatized,” Lewis Brown, Liberia’s information minister, told the Wall Street Journal. “When you see your colleagues, your co-workers succumb to the disease… the first reaction is for people to walk away.”
It’s bad — and in Sierra Leone, things are worse.
Number of dead: 286. Number of cases: 691.
“Dead body management” teams have been created to deal with the mounting corpses.
A state of emergency has been declared.
An “enforced holiday” on Monday sent everyone home.
The hardest hit areas — Kenema, a diamond trading hub, and Kailahan — are totally locked down. Almost a million people live there. “No one knew we would be cut off like this,” Abu Bakhar Shaw, a shop owner in downtown Kenema told Newsweek. Cars line up at checkpoints, but can’t get out.
A hospital in Kenema, an epicenter of the infection, stands empty. “Don’t touch the walls!” warned a Western medical technician. “Totally infected.” People are afraid to die at the hospital — they see it as a death trap, the New York Times reported. Instead they are dying in the community, five or six per day, increasing the risk the infection will spread.
People don’t trust advice from medical workers and doctors. Some have stormed clinics to reclaim their sick relatives.
Prices are rising. The cost of rice is up by 30 percent. The cost of salt doubled in 24 hours.
Cases have been recorded in all but one of 12 districts.
Some of the sick manage to survive.
A Saudi businessman who had symptoms of Ebola died Wednesday after a recent business trip to the country.
Then there’s Guinea.
Number of dead: 363. Number of cases: 495.
In Conakry, the capital, a man who collapsed in the street went without help for five hours, the Telegraph reported.
“Let them come and take him from here because we are afraid,” said a witness.
When police came, they left him there.