I had ideas for umpteen blogs. Here is where they all somehow converge and I attempt to do something productive with my sprawling web presence.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Mark Zuckerberg may be the most generous donor in Ebola efforts
Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced on Tuesday that they would donate $25 million dollars to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in their fight against the Ebola crisis, reported NBC News, Oct. 14. Though this donation is of a sizeable sum, it seems that more such donations are directly needed in order to help stop the spread of the disease.
Getting the disease under control in the U.S. as well as other countries “suggests a potential economic drain of as much as $32.6 billion by the end of 2015,” reports the New York Times. Though this estimate is based on a worst-case-scenario, costs have already reached a frightening amount. To care for one patient alone means stratospheric costs. Wonkbook writer Puneet Kollipara wrote that "The care provided Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan may have cost as much as half a million dollars, a bill Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas is unlikely to ever collect.”
The disease is of such proportions that nothing like it has been seen since the appearance and destruction from the AIDS epidemic and news of the disease is causing a lot of fear. So much fear is being caused that “fear and concern change behavior” can affect theeconomy in very significant ways. The World Bank urges that in order to avoid “aversion behavior” in the wake of Ebola news, “countries and their partners must come together quickly” so that economic damage does not occur.
Fear-based actions could include people flying less which in 2003 caused a $6 billion slash in profits for Asian airlines during the SARS epidemic. Other effects include farmers, some of whom seem to be leaving their fields behind which means many in the areas where the farmers worked are left to fend for themselves. Also, “local authorities are restricting shipments of goods, according to the [World Bank] report. Fear of Ebola is spreading much faster than the virus itself, with what the report describes as potentially 'catastrophic' economic consequences, including food shortages...." stated Max Ehrenfreund at the The Washington Post.
CNN Money reported on Oct. 8, that despite the disease having dominated headlines, donations to contain and tame the outbreak have been coming in at a trickle. Just last month, the United Nations announced a need of almost $1 billion dollars to help fight the virus and while the governments of the U.S. and other nations have chipped in tens of millions of dollars to help along efforts, much more assistance is needed. CNN Money reports that “individual and corporate donations to support Ebola response efforts are lagging far behind the funds given in the aftermath of natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti or last year's typhoon in the Philippines.” As of Oct. 8, “major U.S. aid organizations surveyed by CNNMoney have received a combined total of $19.5 million so far, much of which came from nonprofit foundations as opposed to individual donors.”
A quick Google search today shows that at the moment, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife may be some of the most generous individual donors to have given funds towards Ebola efforts. This seems to beg the question of why other able people and big businesses have not moved towards giving towards the cause.
*originally published on the now defunct Examiner.com