The first patient diagnosed with Ebola in the United States has died more than a week after being hospitalized in Dallas. Thomas Eric Duncan’s condition had taken a turn for the worse in recent days. He had been placed on dialysis and was receiving an experimental drug. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings announced his death.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings: “This hurts deeply, and we were hoping this was not going to happen, but on behalf of the city of Dallas, I extend our deepest sympathies to the families and the friends of Mr. Duncan. I remain confident in the abilities of our healthcare professionals and the medical advances in the United States, and reassure you we will stop the Ebola virus in its tracks from spreading into our community.”
Duncan had come to the United States to marry his fiancée. He had contracted the disease in Liberia while helping a pregnant Ebola victim to the hospital. His family has voiced fears he was given inferior treatment because he is an African, not a U.S. national. Duncan, who had no health insurance, was initially sent home from a Dallas hospital, despite telling a nurse he had been to Liberia. New questions are also being raised about his treatment after he was diagnosed. Three other Ebola patients treated in the United States have received blood transfusions from survivors of the disease, but Duncan did not. There have been conflicting reports over whether one of the survivors, Dr. Kent Brantly, has a blood type that matched Duncan’s. Duncan’s fiancée, Louise Troh, was unable to see him before he died, as she was kept in isolation. In a statement, Troh said: “I trust a thorough examination will take place regarding all aspects of his care.”
Federal officials have announced a new Ebola screening policy at five major airports nationwide. The measures will apply for passengers arriving from West Africa at New York City’s John F. Kennedy starting this weekend, followed later by Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unveiled the screening program on Wednesday.
Tom Frieden: “These five airports represent about 94, nearly 95 percent of all of the 150 travelers per day who arrive from these three countries. The Department of Homeland Security, CBP, Customs and Border Protection, will be implementing a new detailed questionnaire as well as temperature taking and providing information to each traveler. What we’re doing is putting in additional protection. We’ve been very clear that as long as Ebola continues to spread in Africa, we can’t make the risk zero here. We wish we could.”
The United Nations is warning the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to spread unabated. In a new update, the World Health Organization says nearly 3,900 people have been killed out of the more than 8,000 confirmed to have contracted the disease. The U.N. special envoy on Ebola, David Nabarro, said the outbreak is increasing exponentially.
Dr. David Nabarro: “I want to stress that this outbreak is increasing in size in an exponential way, which means if I draw it like that, the curve is going up. Curve is going up like that. And to get on top of that kind of epidemic curve requires an absolutely massive response. I’ve asked for a 20-fold increase in response compared with what we had at the end of August.”
The United States has acknowledged the Islamic State could soon seize the Syrian town of Kobani on the Turkish border. ISIS militants are already in control of one-third of Kobani despite ongoing U.S.-led airstrikes. On Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said preventing Kobani’s fall is not a strategic U.S. objective.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “As horrific as it is to watch in real time what’s happening in Kobani, it’s also important to remember you have to step back and understand the strategic objective and where we have begun over the course of the last weeks. … Notwithstanding the crisis in Kobani, the original targets of our efforts have been the command-and-control centers, the infrastructure. We’re trying to deprive the ISIL of the overall ability to wage this, not just in Kobani, but throughout Syria and into Iraq.”
If Kobani were to fall to the Islamic State, the group would be in control of more than half of Syria’s border with Turkey.
In Iraq, the ongoing U.S. airstrikes have reportedly killed up to 22 civilians in Anbar province. According to Iraqi media, an attack earlier this week hit a market and an apartment building in the town of Heet. Four children were reportedly among the dead, with dozens of people wounded. The Pentagon has dismissed the claims of civilian casualties as “false.” We’ll have more from Iraq and Syria after headlines.
At least 40 people have been killed in a suicide bombing in Yemen’s capital of Sana’a. A separate attack on an eastern army base killed 13 soldiers. The bombings come as the Yemen government faces continued al-Qaeda attacks, as well as a political standoff with Houthi rebels who seized government buildings last month.
Tens of thousands of people have rallied across Mexico over the disappearance of 43 students and the discovery of a mass grave with dozens of burned bodies. The students, who are from a rural teacher’s college, have been missing for well more than a week after police and unknown gunmen ambushed their buses in the state of Guerrero. Twenty-two police officers have been detained, and the city’s mayor and police chief appear to have fled rather than face questioning. On Wednesday, parents of the victims traveled from Guerrero to join the main march in Mexico City, calling on officials to do more to find their loved ones.
A federal appeals court has upheld Wisconsin’s voter identification law, reversing a decision that said it targets the poor and people of color. The law requires all voters to present photo ID at the polls, a provision that would exclude anyone without a birth certificate. The decision comes just weeks before the November elections. Absentee ballots already mailed out could now be nullified.
New protests have broken out near Ferguson, Missouri, after the fatal police shooting of a black teenager. Saint Louis police say the 18-year-old victim was among three people who fled after an off-duty officer approached them. Assistant Police Chief Alfred Adkins said the teen had opened fire as he ran away.
Lt. Col. Alfred Adkins: “The young man pulled a weapon, and shots were fired. The officer returned fire, and unfortunately the young man was killed. And that’s what we have about right now.”
According to witnesses, the victim was shot 17 times. The shooting comes as local activists prepare for “Ferguson October,” a series of actions this weekend protesting police racial bias and violence against black and Latino communities, and calling for the arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.