News

Time for a Touchdown in Fight Against Ebola

1/30/2015 : USA Today

Time for a Touchdown in Fight Against Ebola

1/30/2015 : USA Today

Paul G. Allen wrote this opinion piece for USA Today:

The Seattle Seahawks are playing in the Super Bowl for the second time in a row. We are well prepared for our battle for the world championship — we have a talent-packed team led by a terrific coach and staff, and we have the 12s — what we call the unparalleled Seahawks fan base. Unfortunately, the same support is not there for the Ebola fight that is being waged every day in West Africa.

When I first saw news of the Ebola breakout, I knew we needed to respond with urgency and strength, as Ebola would put the already fragile health care infrastructure in Africa under tremendous pressure.

Ebola doesn't grab Super Bowl-size headlines these days, but the epidemic continues to rage — claiming lives, crushing families and decimating social and economic structures. While we've had only four cases of Ebola in the U.S., in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea there have been over 21,000 cases and of the laboratory-confirmed cases, more than half those infected have died.

Where there have been focused response efforts, the tide is turning. In Liberia, new cases are decreasing, enabling the country to announce that it will re-open schools that have been closed since last summer. The all-out approach taken in Liberia by the U.S. Government, NGOs and private foundations shows that we can make a difference to decrease and eventually contain the spread of Ebola. In Sierra Leone, cases are only beginning to slow, and Ebola cases in Guinea have remained steady over the last four months, until recently. But we have so much more work to do. At best, we are at halftime in the Ebola epidemic.