Are We Just Being Irrational About Ebola?

Who’s tired of discussing Ebola? Yeah, me too. I keep trying to escape (the topic), but it just keeps pulling me back in. It is a serious subject and certainly not to be taken lightly.

It seems fears and scares over Ebola are spreading faster than the virus. Are they irrational fears? I don’t know – maybe, but we are all susceptible. Heck, my office manager wasn’t feeling well today and the first thing that entered my mind was… you got it… Ebola. I caught myself – but it did permeate my cranial cavity, as Rush Limbaugh would say.

I laughed at myself for even thinking such a thing but, nonetheless, sent her home immediately.

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So will the fear of an outbreak trump the actual disease? Might panic ensue over nothing? Is the scare just that, a baseless phobia?

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Normally, I would say yes, but a) this is not just the flu. This will kill you, so just the potential of contracting it will send people into a panic and b) it’s the center of every newscast so even the general public (not just us geeks) are witnessing the incompetence and buffoonery of our government, particularly the “experts” at the CDC. This will only add to the panic.

Now add to this various headlines like “Ebola Fears Grip Cleveland”; “Yale Student Quarantined”; “School in California under Temporary Shutdown”; “Florida Man Tested for Ebola.”

The public then begins to fear that it is spreading to every state and start to wonder if it’s safe to go out – to go to work – safe to go to the grocery store, etc.

These types of fears spread like wildfire, due almost exclusively to a lack of honest leadership. Really, who, even at this early juncture, will heed the advice of the politicians in Washington? Who is going to believe the CDC director or Barack Obama as they attempt to reassure us that everything is under control?

And to add to the panic, a new finding from scientists at Drexel University in Philadelphia that the 21 day quarantine period may not be correct. So far, they have discovered a 12% chance that Ebola can remain dormant in a person for longer than the publicized and agreed upon 21 days.

Evidently, the “21 day” incubation period was derived by WHO studies of earlier outbreaks in Uganda and Zaire. The WHO did not account for or study other outbreaks in the Congo and the recent West African cases.

But, you may say, 12% is pretty low. Yes it is, but not for Russian roulette, which is Ebola. That 12% is just a bit less than putting a revolver to your head, knowing it has only one round and pulling the trigger. I’d rather not play those odds.

I’m not sure what will end up scaring the public more – the disease or the combination of dishonesty and incompetence of those who are charged with protecting us.

Maybe they’ll start telling the truth…After the election.

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