Questions about Ebola

Some questions about Ebola and America's readiness to handle what may be coming:

Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the CDC, on 2014-09-30 famously said:
"I have no doubt that we will stop it in its tracks in the U.S.,
but I also have no doubt as this outbreak continues in Africa
we need to be on our guard."

To me, this begs some questions, especially
"How many cases of Ebola can the American health care system handle?"
Ebola requires such elaborate care,
to prevent transmission of the virus to the care-givers,
that it puts a special burden on those trying to treat its victims.
Indeed, four medical centers have been designated as biocontainment centers
to handle the virus, NIH, Emory, Nebraska, and Montana.
Their capability is quite limited, supposedly only 11 beds.
Beyond that, the capability to handle it no doubt varies.

That question concerns the American capability to handle the disease.

On the threat side, we need to war-game how bad the situation could be.
A while back I saw an estimate of something like 100 travelers per day
coming from the current Ebola zone of Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.
In late October U.S. governments put in place
screening procedures for those travelers,
aiming to give travelers who bring Ebola to the U.S. treatment
as soon as they begin to show symptoms.
But what if a sizable number of those travelers DO show symptoms?
What if, say, 20 percent, or about 20 per day,
in fact have Ebola?
Twenty per day amounts to 140 per week.
Could the U.S. health care system really handle that number,
without risking that the virus be transmitted to some of those providing treatment?

You know, the people putting out information
always give reassuring words, saying "the rise is low" or "very low".
But that depends, it seems to me, on the number of arriving Ebola carriers
being a number the U.S. can manage.
How do they know that the number will be that low?
I think it is really necessary to bound the risk,
by limiting incoming travelers.