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Thursday October 6th

Why the Ebola hype shouldn’t scare you

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By Alyssa Sanford

We all know the facts: Ebola is a highly contagious and deadly disease, claiming the lives of thousands worldwide. According to CNN, this is the worst Ebola outbreak that the world has seen since the disease appeared in the 1970s. Doctors and aid workers are ill-equipped to contain the disease.

A woman adjusts her mask outside a closed-off building after an Ebola scare in Los Angeles. (AP Photo)

The mainstream media does a great job of whipping Americans into a frenzy because very few of us stop to consider the facts. What are the chances of the average American contracting Ebola and spreading it across the country?

The answer? Slim to none.

For one thing, the mainstream media focuses on the sheer number of infected patients outside of West Africa. Even though high-profile patients are now declared “Ebola-free,” new reports of patients in quarantine have appeared in the media. On Thursday, Oct. 23, amid reports that Amber Vinson, one of two nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, was cured of Ebola, the news surfaced that a doctor in New York City was diagnosed.

Almost all of the Ebola patients in the United States have been cured of the disease and are on the road to recovery, as of Thursday, Oct. 23. This includes the NBC cameraman who contracted Ebola while on assignment in Liberia and two American aid workers who fell ill over the summer.

So, what’s the common denominator in these cases? The infected were all in close contact with Ebola patients. Vinson and Nina Pham, who both treated Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas, intubated the patient and performed dialysis, thus exposing them directly to his infected bodily fluids. The infected were not average Americans who contracted Ebola in their daily travels. They were healthcare workers and journalists dedicated to stopping the disease’s spread in West Africa.

President Obama meets Ebola survivor Nina Pham. (AP Photo)

Shepherd Smith, a FOX News TV personality, decried the mainstream media’s response to the recent Ebola cases in the United States in a Wednesday, Oct. 15 broadcast.

“We do not have an outbreak of Ebola in the United States,” Shepherd reminded the audience. “Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio or the television … The people who say and write hysterical things are being very irresponsible.”

The hype “lacks basis in fact or reason,” according to Shepherd, because the media is neglecting to explain the disease’s spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that “Ebola is not spread through the air or by water” and that the virus can be killed by bleach and other disinfectants, but these facts rarely appear in mainstream reports.

We shouldn’t worry about contracting the disease, even if someone suspected of having the disease is in close proximity. The media recently attacked NBC’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, for leaving her voluntary quarantine in Princeton to get a bite to eat in nearby Hopewell, but Snyderman may not have even left her car or come into close contact with anyone on her trip. She never had Ebola to begin with, therefore invalidating the media’s concerns.

Recent quarantines of airplane and cruise ship passengers were equally ridiculous because the passengers were merely suspected of having the disease.

We need to stop worrying about an Ebola outbreak in the United States. We have some of the best hospitals in the world, an abundance of disinfectants and very few opportunities to come into direct contact with Ebola patients. So before you start wearing a hospital mask and hazmat suit in public, remind yourself that it’s hype, not fact.


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