One of the truest things I’ve heard about the American public came from an episode of The Wire. It’s when a detective was asked if people would believe a story that may or may not have actually happened. His response was pure genius:
“By in large, people are pretty stupid, especially here in America. We pretty much believe everything we’re told.”
That, right now, hasn’t been any truer than the American public’s general reaction to an outbreak of a deadly virus called Ebola. This virus, which was made its way in the continental United States, has infected only a handful of people in the U.S. since its arrival last month. However, the chaos and mass hysteria that has come with it would have you believe we have a pandemic that’s going to challenge the Black Plague of Middle Eastern Europe on our hands.
Yes, it true: is certain countries of West Africa like Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, and Nigeria, Ebola is very much prevalent. Due to the lack of up-to-date hospitals and treatment centers in those areas, the virus has hit outbreak status. In a developed country like America, which started planning from the day it heard one of its citizens has contracted the disease in that region, this should have been a much less crazy issue.
Enter the hype machine that is the media.
With constant reporting on whose got the disease and where in America they are, news stations everywhere has driven people into frenzies and mass panic of fear that they may catch the virus.
Suddenly, places like Dallas, Maine, and of course NYC has become ‘hot spots’ for Ebola in America.
* Sighs * Oh boy….here we go, yet AGAIN.
It seems like every year for the past four years running, we have a new “scare” to have us all believing we’re doomed, and some form of Armageddon is here.
In 2009, it was H1N1….
In 2010, it was SARS…
2011, it was Bird Flu…
2012, the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world…..twice….
Last year, everyone swore up and down that World War III was going to start.
You see where I’m going with this?
Look, maybe I’m one of the cynical ones around here, but this whole Ebola “scare” seems like another attempt to stress people out for no reason. Now I know, the rational portion of the population probably feels the way same as I do. Unfortunately, I also know that the majority of the public is anything but rational.
If they were, a teacher in Maine wouldn’t been banned from school for 21 days, cause they visited Dallas, where ‘patient zero’ was….
If they were, a high school principal in Mississippi wouldn’t have had to withdrawal himself amidst rumors that he went to Zambia (where the Ebola outbreak isn’t even at, mind you), and parents started withdrawling their children from school until the principal quarantined himself….
(and since I know you want to call my bluff, that article is here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2799014/ebola-hysteria-sweeps-schools-maine-teacher-visited-dallas-told-not-come-work-21-days-hundreds-mississippi-parents-pull-kids-school-principal-visited-zambia-3-000-miles-countries-hit-disease.html)
OK, people…seriously? This is starting sound like the beginning of the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the early 1990s, where people were being unjustly accused of having the disease, and those that actually did contract it, were having their lives turned upside moreso dude to the public’s reaction then to the disease itself.
I thought we have all learned these lessons of the past. I thought most of us adults knew what hysteria can do when people are very ignorant on facts about a disease. I thought people were aware that reactions without thinking doesn’t help ‘contain’ the disease; it only makes dealing with controlling it much more difficult.
I thought people would have acted better at all these things. Shows what I get for thinking. You’d figure with all the other diseases VERY rampant in America right now (cancer, obesity, etc), that less than 20 people getting this disease thousands of miles away, we’d have a little more common sense on how to handle ourselves. You’d figure that, at least.
Listen: do better, people. Get the facts about how Ebola actually spreads. Learn. Pass on to others. Stop it already with the blind hysteria and MASSIVE ignorance. In fact, I’ll tell you what you need to know about Ebola right now:
(taken from the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/2014-west-africa/qa.html)
- Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
- Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person’s blood or body fluids.
- Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
- Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
- Avoid facilities in West Africa where Ebola patients are being treated. The U.S. Embassy or consulate is often able to provide advice on medical facilities.
- Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
- Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. Do not travel anywhere else besides a healthcare facility.
There. Now you know. And as an awesome cartoon taught me, “Knowing is half the battle.”