Up to 10,000 new Ebola cases expected per week as death rate hits 70 percent

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Up to 10,000 new Ebola cases expected per week as death rate hits 70 percent
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A mother breastfeeds her child as they wait to see a doctor for a routine visit at the Kuntorloh Community Health Centre in the outskirts of Freetown on November 14, 2014. Ebola-hit Sierra Leone faces social and economic disaster as gains made since the country's ruinous civil war are wiped out by the epidemic, according to a major study. Damage to most sectors of the economy will see growth shrink from 20.1 percent last year to just five percent in 2014, the finance ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found. AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)
A baby naps on his mother's shoulder as they enter the vaccination room during a routine visit at the Kuntorloh Community Health Centre in the outskirts of Freetown on November 14, 2014. Ebola-hit Sierra Leone faces social and economic disaster as gains made since the country's ruinous civil war are wiped out by the epidemic, according to a major study. Damage to most sectors of the economy will see growth shrink from 20.1 percent last year to just five percent in 2014, the finance ministry and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) found. AFP PHOTO/ FRANCISCO LEONG (Photo credit should read FRANCISCO LEONG/AFP/Getty Images)
A disguised supporter of Ivory Coast's national football team holds a placard reading 'Stop Ebola', as he attends the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifying football match between Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone on September 6, 2014 at the Felix Houphouet-Boigny stadium in Abidjan. AFP PHOTO / ISSOUF SANOGO (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)
Medical workers of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital in Monrovia put on protective suits prior to carrying bodies of Ebola virus victims on September 6, 2014. The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on September 5, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November. The deadly virus has claimed 2,097 lives out of 3,944 people infected in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, since emerging last December, the UN's health organ said after a two-day crisis meeting in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
A medical worker of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Hospital in Monrovia disinfects a wall on September 6, 2014. The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on September 5, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November. The deadly virus has claimed 2,097 lives out of 3,944 people infected in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, since emerging last December, the UN's health organ said after a two-day crisis meeting in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
Medical workers of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy hospital in Monrovia, responsible for transport of the bodies of Ebola virus victims, wear their protective suits as they walk past a sick woman waiting for assistance, on September 6, 2014. The death toll from the Ebola epidemic has climbed above 2,000, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on September 5, as it voiced hopes a vaccine could be available in November. The deadly virus has claimed 2,097 lives out of 3,944 people infected in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, since emerging last December, the UN's health organ said after a two-day crisis meeting in Geneva. AFP PHOTO / DOMINIQUE FAGET (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images)
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By RYAN GORMAN

A pair of startling new statistics about the lethal Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been released by the World Health Organization.

A WHO official said the death rate in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone has increased to 70 percent and there could be as many as 10,000 new cases per week within two months, the Associated Press is reporting.

Ebola is now being classified as a "high mortality disease" by WHO assistant director-general Dr. Bruce Aylward, who spoke during a Tuesday press conference.

Aywlard warned that if the response to the disease is not immediately stepped up, "a lot more people will die."

The past four weeks have seen Ebola diagnoses reach about 1,000 per week, he explained. The WHO is working to contain about 70 percent of the cases within the next 60 days in an effort to reverse the epidemic.

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The UN-affiliated organization announced Monday that the Ebola death toll has increased to 4,447 people out of the 8,914 diagnosed. All except Thomas Duncan, who passed away in a Dallas hospital, and a patient in Germany, died in Africa.

Aylward called the Ebola outbreak "the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times."

A number of areas have seen decline, Aylward said Monday, but "that doesn't mean they will get to zero."

Aylward said the WHO is fighting an uphill battle against West Africa's broken health care system and was strategically setting up clinics to treat the virus instead of quarantining people.

"It would be horrifically unethical to say that we're just going to isolate people," said Aylward.

Protective equipment is also being handed out to the family of those infected despite Nina Pham, a Dallas nurse said to have been wearing the gear while treating Duncan, contracting the disease while working in a hospital.

Her fiancé and dog have since been quarantined.

Ebola Patient in Germany Dies

Related links:
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German hospital: UN worker dies of Ebola
Ebola deflating hopes for 3 poor African economies
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