By: Steven Goodman – Asst. Opinions Editor
“Ebola is going to kill us all!” is the impression I get from what seems like every news outlet and person in this country. Of course, very few people appeared to take this virus seriously until one person in the U.S. was diagnosed with it. Never mind the several thousand cases in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone: three people with Ebola in the U.S. means an instant panic.
The overreaction over this virus increased when claims were made by George Will on Fox, and some other writers, that Ebola could be transmitted via air such as by coughing or sneezing.
While there are many people who make jokes about Ebola, it’s important to remember that there are people who have actually perished from this disease.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention itself has officially said “Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids of a person who has symptoms of Ebola.”
I like to imagine that if a virus first identified in the mid-1970s were airborne, some doctor in the world would have figured it out by now, but that’s just my thought.
There has also been increasing discussion of placing a travel ban on the region of West Africa.
While there is obviously a large problem with Ebola in that region, there are only around 150 passengers per day coming to the U.S. from West Africa.
I don’t think a total travel ban is necessary for our survival, but I do like that checkpoints have been set up at major international airports to check for fever or other Ebola symptoms.
It’s good to be cautious, but at this point I do not feel an outright travel ban is imperative. Not unless everyone on the planes has to swap bodily fluids.
It’s unnecessary for there to be all of this commotion over something that really doesn’t spread easily
I even heard on NPR that a recent poll claimed 45 percent of Americans are uncomfortable with travelling outside of the U.S. while Ebola rages in West Africa. Unless you are traveling directly to the epidemic-stricken countries, it is incredibly unlikely that you will come in contact with an individual suffering from Ebola.
I suppose the biggest issue I have is with the lack of attention this virus was given until it reached our shores. Just because there is an epidemic across an ocean doesn’t meant it deserves less attention than a handful of Americans with the same disease.
While Ebola (and any other disease) can be scary, you should by no means lock your doors and stay inside until it’s over.