The Ebola outbreak continued to garner a great deal of television coverage Tuesday evening, receiving nearly 14 minutes of coverage from the networks, two of which led with the story. CNN, which again extended its evening newscast two hours, also spent significant time covering the story. Fox’s coverage was, by comparison, light. Both on TV and print, the coverage focused primarily on comments from CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden criticizing his agency’s response to the disease inside the US. However, the announcement from the WHO that Ebola cases in West Africa could surge in the coming weeks was also noted in several reports.
In the lead story for the CBS Evening News (10/14, lead story, 2:25, Pelley, 5.08M), Dr. Jon Lapook reported that the WHO said Tuesday “that by December 1, [West Africa] could see 5,000 to 10,000 new cases every week. Officials say the only way to curb the outbreak is to ramp up the response so that within 60 days, 70 percent of cases are isolated and under treatment and 70 percent of burials are safe.” Bruce Aylward, WHO Assistant Director General: “If we don’t do it in 60 days and take 90 days, number one, a lot more people will die that shouldn’t, and number two, we will need that much more capacity on the ground eventually, to be able to manage the case load.” David Muir reported on ABC World News (10/14, story 3, 2:30, Muir, 5.84M) that the WHO said the virus “is deadlier than ever.”
The Wall Street Journal (10/15, Morse, Subscription Publication, 5.62M) reports that according to the WHO, Ebola is killing 70 percent of those who contract it.
The Washington Post (10/15, Achenbach, 4.9M) reports that while Aylward said there are “some signs of progress in West Africa, with new cases dropping in several areas that had been hit hard by the virus earlier this year,” the disease “is spreading across a broader geographical region, including along the border with Ivory Coast, and it continues to be rampant in national capitals.” The Post notes that according to the WHO, there are “8,914 suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola and 4,447 deaths,” which would “seem to imply that half the people stricken with Ebola will survive the disease,” but Aylward “said that underestimates the true death rate.”
CDC announces new steps to combat Ebola in US. Brian Williams reported in the lead story for NBC Nightly News (10/14, lead story, 3:10, Williams, 7.86M) that CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said Monday that his agency “could have done a better job than how they have handled cases of Ebola. In fact, he admitted the government has made mistakes in its effort to control the virus. Mistakes that may have led to a nurse getting sick.” On ABC World News (10/14, story 3, 2:30, Muir, 5.84M), Tom Llamas described it as “an extraordinary admission from the CDC.”
Wolf Blitzer reported on CNN’s Situation Room (10/14, 554K) that Federal health officials are taking “aggressive new steps” to combat Ebola. The CDC “is going to have a team on the ground within hours when an Ebola case is diagnosed in the United States.” Victor Blackwell noted that CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said his agency “did not respond aggressively enough once Thomas Eric Duncan tested positive. They are beefing up that response now.”
Scott Pelley reported in the lead story for the CBS Evening News (10/14, lead story, 2:25, Pelley, 5.08M) that Frieden said the CDC “will send a rapid response team to any hospital that diagnoses a patient with Ebola.” Pelley added that “we just learned from the White House that they’ll be asking Congress for more money for all of this.”
Frieden says CDC is changing protocols at Texas hospital. Anderson Cooper reported on CNN’s Situation Room (10/14, 554K) that the CDC is “changing protocols” in the Texas hospital where patient Thomas Eric Duncan, who died from Ebola, was treated and nurse Nina Pham was diagnosed. New measures will include, “more oversight of the nurses and the doctors. They are going to have somebody watching to make sure people getting in and out of the protective gear, that that is all none done properly. But it certainly seems to indicate that there were problems before.”
CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said on CNN’s Situation Room (10/14, 554K) that the CDC has “surged staff, more than 20 staff into Texas working with the hospital directly, and we’ve done three things to make sure that care is safe in the hospital. The first is have a site manager there to make sure that they are overseeing everything that is done. The second is more training, training, retraining. We’ve brought a couple nurses from Emory who have worked with Ebola patients there. And third is limit the number of staff so that you are absolutely providing all the care that is needed but not with any more people that need to go into that space.”
Another 76 healthcare workers involved in Duncan’s treatment are being monitored. The Los Angeles Times (10/15, Muskal, 4M) reports that health officials said Tuesday that another 76 healthcare workers involved in Duncan’s treatment “are being watched for symptoms of Ebola as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pledged to improve its response to hospitals in the event of more Ebola cases.” Frieden said these people are in addition “to the 48 people who have been monitored since Duncan was first diagnosed with Ebola symptoms after arriving in Dallas last month.” None of the original group “has developed Ebola symptoms and they now are two-thirds of the way through the period of greatest risk of becoming infected.”
The Wall Street Journal (10/15, Bauerlein, Bustillo, Subscription Publication, 5.62M) notes that Frieden was optimistic that their chances of contracting Ebola are decreasing.
Pham received transfusion with plasma donated by Brantly. Reuters (10/15) reports that Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital said in a statement that nurse Nina Pham, who contracted Ebola while treating patient Thomas Eric Duncan, is “in good condition.” A Roman Catholic priest from Pham’s congregation said she had received a transfusion with blood containing antibodies to fight the virus. The relief group Samaritan’s Purse said the plasma was donated by Dr. Kent Brantly, who survived an Ebola infection.
Tom Costello reported on NBC Nightly News (10/14, story 2, 2:05, Williams, 7.86M) that Brantly “has donated roughly a gallon of his own blood to save others. ... The blood of Ebola survivors like Dr. Brantly is loaded with antibodies that just fought off the disease. In a blood transfusion, the donor’s plasma is separated from red blood cells and given to the Ebola patient in the hope that those antibodies will then kick start the patient’s immune system.”
Human trials of Canadian Ebola vaccine began Monday. USA Today (10/15, Szabo, 5.6M) reports that while the world has been fighting Ebola since 1976, only the current outbreak in West Africa “has succeeded in moving experimental drugs and vaccines into larger clinical trials.” USA today notes while the “first human trials of a Canadian Ebola vaccine began Monday,” experts argue that “other approaches could be put to much greater use.” Beyond vaccines, other potential therapies include, blood transfusions, antiviral drugs, man-made antibodies, and preventing Ebola reproduction.