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Opinion

Editorial: Appoint an international Ebola czar

County Medical Center President and CEO Victor F.

County Medical Center President and CEO Victor F. Politi and infectious disease experts demonstrated the training that will be given to Nassau County firefighters, police, emergency personnel and hospital workers when handling EBOLA patients. The event took place at Nassau University Medical Center on Oct. 16, 2014. Photo Credit: Uli Seit

The United Nations should mimic President Barack Obama's recent decision to appoint an "Ebola czar" so the international response to the outbreak can be better coordinated as well.

There have been missteps in the United States, including lax protection for nurses generally, and two people being monitored for Ebola who managed to travel, one by plane the other by cruise ship. The disease-control effort in this country clearly needs the discipline of an experienced manager such as Ron Klain, former chief of staff to two vice presidents.

Just as important is the global push to combat the epidemic in West Africa, where 4,493 people have died. Officials struggling to isolate people stricken in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, and to trace others exposed to the virus, are overwhelmed. The World Health Organization projects 10,000 new cases a week by December, and only 4,300 treatment beds. It's urgent that donors step up. For instance, a UN trust fund seeking $1 billion for the most urgent needs has only $100,000 on hand. An international czar could fight for the resources to control the epidemic.

This scourge must be beaten in Africa. If it is not, the casualties will be at every nation's doorstep.

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