Let’s get one thing clear.
Ebola is very real and very terrifying.
The largest Ebola outbreak in history has killed nearly 5,000 people in the West African nations of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. More than 10,000 have contracted the disease. And according to the World Health Organization (WHO), those numbers may not tell the whole story — new estimates suggests that real numbers are believed to be much higher — about 15,000 cases of death.
So yes, it’s serious. And we shouldn’t take it lightly. But the hysteria surrounding the deadly virus, which has only affected a handful of Americans, is both unwarranted and ridiculous.
Seriously guys, the flu is more contagious than Ebola. And as CNN points out:
There are eight confirmed cases. And in each one, the patient was either infected in Liberia or Sierra Leone, or had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian returnee who’s the sole fatality of the disease in the U.S.
In short, your chances of contracting Ebola are slim. And the media-fed hysteria is turning into something a lot uglier than overreaction — while the majority of those dying are black and survivors white, ideas about who’s at fault for Ebola is falling on racial lines.
Which, come on, is absolute bullshit.
A recent Gawker story titled “I Saw Firsthand How Nuts Airlines Are Getting With Ebola Fear” encapsulated those dangerous racial undertones:
Yesterday I took a US Airways flight from Raleigh-Durham to Washington, DC to drive some Hellcats. So far so good, right? Across the aisle from me was a woman, from Boston, who was feeling a bit queasy. She asked the flight attendant for some club soda. They responded by trying to kick her off the plane. Any idea why?
If we’re absolutely being honest, there were two very simple reasons why: the woman was black, and had an African accent. In the popular culture of panic, those two factors seem to be enough to turn an entire plane full of people around and return to the gate to attempt to kick a paying traveller off a plane.
Yes, the airline tried to kick the woman off the plane (until other passengers came to her aid). And yes, everyone is being totally ridiculous when it comes to preventative measures. Why weren’t we this concerned when the virus was knocking off thousands in West Africa this past summer?
In any case, while scary, Ebola isn’t going to end the world. And these examples of hysteria should probably piss you off. Talk about inciting a riot.
No, we should not implement a travel ban…(because yes, it does more harm than good).
No, Ebola is not ISIS, CNN…
No, not every sick passenger has Ebola…(I just ate a bad Subway sandwich, sheesh).
No, this is not a post-apocalyptic-Walking-Dead situation…
No, this seems like a waste of resources…
No, this is just so many kinds of fucked up…
@NavarroCollege turned down a #Nigerian student due to #ebola pic.twitter.com/OgWQb1pLcv
— Amanda Macias (@amanda_m_macias) October 14, 2014
And just no…you look like a joke.
Ebola, however, isn’t a joke. But treating Ebola in America as a death sentence when thousands of people are dying elsewhere is pretty insensitive and doing more harm than good in trying to understand the virus and how we can help.
We’re just saying.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Screengrab
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