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After Ebola, Some Businesses Suffered, While Others Profited

Jim Tuttle/The Dallas Morning News
A worker with CG Environmental-Cleaning Guys sprays disinfectant outside the Marquita Street apartment building in Dallas where a nurse infected with Ebola lives on Oct. 12, 2014.

Dallas faced an unprecedented public health scare in the fall of 2014 when a Liberian national was diagnosed with the Ebola virus. KERA is exploring lessons learned – and taking a deeper look at what happened last year – in a new series called Surviving Ebola.

Explore the KERA digital project here. There’s a timeline of Ebola-related events, voices of those most affected by the virus, and much more.

Our series continues with the economic impact of Ebola. Even though Ebola never took root in the U.S., the virus seemed to spread throughout the economy. The most obvious financial cost was in Texas, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. But doctors and store owners in Vickery Meadow, the community near the hospital, also paid a price. And some people made money.

As news of Thomas Eric Duncan’s stay at Presbyterian hit the airwaves last fall, emergency room visits at Presbyterian plummeted. Thousands of patients went elsewhere.

This didn’t look good to investors. As bondholders speculated about Presbyterian’s ability to stay afloat, Moody’s revised its outlook on the hospital’s debt from “positive” to “developing.”

For the month of October 2014, revenue at Presbyterian declined more than $12 million. In November, revenue was down $8 million.

Read the rest of the story here. 

Selected photos courtesy of The Dallas Morning News.