Friday, October 24, 2014

Go ahead, sneeze on me

Downside to working in social media is that I can't take a FB hiatus. A large portion of my feed is Ebola panic. Panic, for the record, is defined as - sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking. That's not worry. That's not concern. Panic is unhealthy and, often, dangerous.

I am disappointed in reaction of the people I surround myself with. I'll preface the rest with this:

  • Ebola is a nasty bug
  • I am concerned about Ebola
  • I'm not minimizing people's fears
  • Misinformation is NEVER productive
  • Fear is not license to say things that are untrue
Moving along. I hear lots of things that are just wrong. People talk about the spread in ways that aren't opinion, they are just facts and they are incorrect ones. Your fear does not dictate the reality of how the disease is spread. Saying "well I think I can catch it if you sneeze on me" doesn't make it so. Would you say that to someone with HIV? No. That would be ignorant. It's just not airborne. It's just not. Not sure what else to say. Believe it or not. Your call I guess. The moon is also not made of cheese. 

2nd - There is a 21 day incubation period. If someone has it, they show no symptoms, don't know, can't transmit, can't test for it. So asking why they came back in? Before symptoms show up, you appear 100% healthy. You could be on day 5 of Ebola right now and not have a clue.

3rd - Nobody is coming to the US from Liberia or Mali. They come through Brussels, along with other people from the places in Europe. We don't have the right to order another country (that's not an infected country) to shut down flights. And what's to stop them from going from Mali to Brussels to England to the US? You want every international flight shut down? Our FAA controls US flights. We cannot dictate how every country in the world operates. Remember when we got involved in Iraq, Afghanistan, South America, Syria, Egypt, etc, etc, etc and you all screamed that we need to stop playing world police? Me too. Rearranging the flight patterns of the globe is more than a little like playing world police. 

There have been 9 cases of Ebola in the US and only 1 has died. You keep those people in Africa and you've relegated them to a fate of death. We can treat them here and help. Canada has given a test serum. You cannot leave people in a country knowing full well they will not get the proper care there and die. America is better than that. We do not lie down and crawl so we don't get hurt. We help others, especially our own. These care workers went to Africa to help people and Americans want to abandon them, out of fright. Let them die so you can sleep. Shame on you. You think being in Iraq and Afghanistan was a picnic? You think sweating my ass off in a country that wouldn't stop exploding while 7,000 miles away from my family was a vacation? But when someone in that country cheers at the sight of you and just wants to hug you for all you've done, you remember - it's got nothing to do with you.

Something needs to be done. Spreading misinformation and panic is not that something. Playing FAA to the globe is not that something. Treating people like they're meaningless and leaving them to die in Africa without proper care is not that something. Pre-screening, follow-ups, quarantines when necessary, destruction of affected items - those are all some things. Officials don't want you to panic because running around screaming with your hair on fire is just not productive. The sky is not falling. It's not good, but it's not the end either. Quit with the revelations talk.

Up to 49,000 people die from the flu each year. In 28 years no less than 3,000 have died in a year. In it's weakest year, the flu killed 333 times more people than have even caught Ebola. ONE person has died in the US from Ebola. Hundreds of thousands get the flu EVERY year. 9 people got Ebola in the US. Which are you more scared of? 

I'm not saying to ignore it. Just use the right facts and consider the consequences and logistics required to meet all of your demands. And think about the risks you take every day - not wearing a seatbelt, texting while driving, raise your hand if you've had unprotected sex with someone you didn't know well enough to be doing that with, maybe a couple beers too many before going home. All more likely to kill you than Ebola - all things Americans do every day.

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