The Ebola Diary: Tuesday, Oct 14 2014, Madrid

For two days running ebola has been relegated to a secondary news event. The papers, TV and radio are running with stories of the plebiscite for Catalonian independence (or lack thereof) and the other big C — corruption.

What little news (relative to last week’s saturation coverage) that comes our way regarding ebola is predominantly good; infected nurse’s aid, Teresa Romero Ramos is doing well and is reported to be producing her own antibodies to fight the virus; no further infections have been thrown up; protocols to deal with ebola have been tightened; an end to the chaos and uncertainty of last week (inertia when it came to contacting people with whom an infected Ms Romero Ramos might have come into contact, non-fumigation of her residence, fumbling press conferences, a farcical dealing with the matter of putting down her dog which encompassed a candlelight vigil by animal rights protesters and a mini-riot).

The message coming from government is one of control and calm. Everything is contained, everything is taken care of. There’s nothing to see here, folks, move on. A series of eminent doctors and virologists have been wheeled out to talk to the cameras, all on-message, all reassuring smiles and bonhomie. It’s a pity these boffins were nowhere to be seen on day one of the crisis, when we the people were left to our own devices to imagine the horrors that could potentially unfold in our city.

The only negative notes are contributed by front-line medics or their representatives and Ms Romero Ramos’s husband. The latter has written a stinging open letter to the head of Madrid’s medical services (he of the “you don’t need a masters to be able to put on a biosafety suit” comment) asking for his resignation, while there is talk of the nurses’ union taking their employer to court over breaches of health and safety legislation. A lesson may be learned from all this if those in authority are found accountable for the woeful levels of training and resourcing of the ebola emergency response team.


About ucronin

Born in the country town of Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1975, I now live in Madrid with my partner and two young daughters and work in a research institute. While I was always a hungry reader and harboured vague notions of being a writer, as a young man writing was the furthest thing from my mind; after leaving school, I did a B.Sc. in Biotechnology in Galway's NUI, an M.Sc. in Plant Science in University College Cork and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the University of Limerick, the plan being to dedicate my professional career to scientific research. While having written extensively within my technical scientific field, I had never contemplated becoming a writer of fiction until a road-to-Damascus moment on the N69 between Listowel and Tarbert, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2011. Since then, most of my spare time has been occupied with writing. In whatever other free moments I have, I like to listen to music, play the guitar and garden (which here in Madrid means a lot of watering of plants and spraying for red spider mite). My ambition is to become as good a writer as I possibly can, eventually freeing myself from the cold clutches of science and earning a living through my scribblings. The type of writing that excites me is honest, intelligent, well-constructed and richly descriptive.
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