Cholera returns to Haiti as nation lurches from one crisis to the next
After a week of the deadly cholera outbreak that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and raised fears of a larger crisis, the situation on the ground is far from clear.
Nearly 200 people have died of the disease and nearly 10,000 have been infected. Many more are infected and remain so. In the past week, more than 700 cases have been confirmed.
But there is still no consensus about the cause of the outbreak, and whether it is spreading farther north and west to include the capital, Port-au-Prince, and the northern region known as Nord-Est.
“We’re talking about a catastrophe in the making,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a briefing for reporters on Monday in the White House briefing room. “Things are still very fluid.”
The situation was “very, very fluid” on Monday, said Dr. Martin Hirsch, the director of the Atlanta Global Health Program at Emory University School of Medicine, who was also on the call with Fauci on Monday. Hirsch said it sounded like many other cities experiencing the cholera outbreak, and that the epidemic should subside within 20 days. “We’re going to be OK,” Hirsch said. But “We don’t know that.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not track cholera cases in Haiti. However, after the last wave of cases began on Aug. 5, some hospitals have been reporting that they see a high number of cases each day, but it is also a week earlier than the first cases were likely coming from Haiti.
There were no reports of any new cholera deaths on Tuesday, according to the CDC.
But there is still no agreement on the cause of the cholera. In a meeting Monday afternoon in the Oval Office, President Trump was briefed on the outbreak, and expressed serious concerns about the situation. He mentioned the ch