Fox News, CNN, major networks and local news channels are spreading hysteria over Ebola. They ignore actual doctors and health professionals. Promoting panic sells, the truth is boring. Comedian Jon Stewart correctly labeled this “irresponsible journalism” recently
Ebola is something to be concerned about, It’s a deadly disease; however, it is not as contagious as most viruses and common colds. It doesn’t travel in the air and can only be transmitted by physical contact. Unless a victim’s blood, vomit, or other bodily fluid gets into your body via your eye mouth, nose or open cut, you cannot get Ebola.
Forty-six people who were in close contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian who is the only person in American to die from the virus, have been cleared to go about their business.
Irresponsible journalists, commentators and politicians are guilty of spreading the most unhelpful Ebola theories. The governor of Georgia, not the brightest star in the galaxy, was telling people to just wash their hands because water kills the Ebola virus. Wrong. Chlorine bleach will kill the virus. Chris Brown tweeted to his followers that Ebola was being inflicted on the African population as a means of population control. That seems to come up every time there is a virus running amuck. It’s plain idiotic. Radio commentator Michael Savage, who is never to be outdone when it comes to attacking President Obama, said Obama was sending soldiers to Africa, not to help in the crisis but to infect soldiers who could then bring the virus back to the United States and kill Americans. This is crazy, but does explain why Savage is an idol to many Tea Partiers, including some elected officials.
Crazy theories exist all over the world. In Nigeria, which has been declared Ebola free, rumors persist that Ebola doesn’t even exist. In Liberia, the country hit hardest by the virus, people think that you can be immunized against the virus by kissing a dead Ebola victim. It could actually infect you.
Americans, including the media, need to take a deep breath and relax. Of the six cases treated in the U.S., one has died, three have been announced cured and two are said to be recovering. Still, against the advice of professionals, lawmakers are fear mongering during this election period calling for all kinds of restriction which in some cases could cause the virus to spread.
Many conservatives and Obama haters are calling for flight bans from African countries. The professionals disagree with right wing broadcasters and politicians. Briefly, professionals call it a logistical nightmare which could economically destabilize countries at the heart of the outbreak, make it more difficult to address the problem at its source, and prevent tracking of people with symptoms. The president has so far sided with the brains and not political fear mongers in this dispute.
Larry Swartz, in an article in Alter Net, comes to the same conclusions as I and many others writing articles do. He makes a very interesting point.
“We can be concerned about Ebola without losing perspective. Ebola is not the thing to be worried about. The media and politicians who spread nonsense about quarantining all of Africa, children bringing Ebola into the U.S. from Central America (where Ebola is unknown), should turn their influence to things that really kill Americans. So far, at least, Ebola it not one of them.”
If we must worry, let’s worry about these causes of death, I have listed these before but I’ll use Swartz’s numbers. Theses are the leading causes of death in 2010: Heart disease: 596,577 cancer: 576,691, chronic lower respiratory disease: 142, 943, stroke: 128, 932, accidents: 126,438, Alzheimer’s disease: 84,974, diabetes: 73,831,influenza and pneumonia: 53,826
Not wearing a seat built kills many every year. Binge drinking kills 44,000 a year. Yearly flu vaccines by everyone would save most who die from influenza. Smoking kills several million a year. I’ll bet if just half those people supporting restricting flights from Africa would quit smoking we could save half a million lives a year.
Why isn’t Fox advocating restricting all smoking, drinking and mandating everyone get a flu shot? Could it be because restrictions are unpopular?
So what have the politicians done lately to help cure heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes or strokes? What have you done? Have you had your flu shot or quit smoking, over-eating or binge drinking?
Do you always buckle up? If not, you should not worry one second about Ebola or tell others what to worry about.
Glen McAdoo, a Fallon resident, can be contacted at email@example.com.