Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Ebola Hysteria: The New Socially-Acceptable, Least-Helpful Trend in Politics

Oh, no!  It's Ebola!!
This morning I started reading the news and learned that New York and New Jersey want everyone who travel to West Africa to undergo a 21-day quarantine upon coming to the United States.

Everyone.  Not just people showing possible symptoms, or people at risk, such as a nurse or doctor accidentally stuck with a needle that had been in an Ebola patient.


I cringed reading this.  We have become such cowards, such worry-warts, so concerned with appearances and appearing to care that we hurt more people that we help.  I mean, the United States is not the only country outside of West Africa facing the possible spread of Ebola, but we certainly are the only country acting as if a major outbreak is merely around the corner, despite any evidence to the contrary.

Let me be clear - no one is contagious before showing symptoms.  That means that even if someone returning from West Africa somehow contracted Ebola, they are not contagious - meaning that he or she cannot pass on the virus - until they have symptoms.

To quote Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease at the National Institutes of Health, "When you start getting the viral load that is enough to be able to be transmitted, you're feeling very, very poorly."

Basically, you are even contagious when the very first symptoms appear.  You have to be getting rather ill before you can spread the disease.

And still, Americans and American media seem to be intent on making Ebola into the next zombie apocalypse, despite the fact that out of the over 10,000 cases of Ebola worldwide, only four people on American soil have been diagnosed with Ebola, of which only one person died. Mind you, as of 2011 approximately 6,884 people die every day due to a variety of causes.  So why get so upset over one singular death that might have been prevented had the hospital followed the proper procedures?

In the end, all we are doing is looking foolish and hurting the people who have the courage to go to West Africa in the first place. If we really want to prevent an Ebola outbreak, than we need to invest the time and money into either finding a cure, finding a vaccine, or helping rid West Africa of the virus. But standing around and acting hysterical accomplishes nothing.

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