Ebola is not the threat all media outlets are running with. It's a distraction, the latest sensation.

ebola outbreakNo matter how many times people are asked to calm down about the Ebola outbreak, American hysteria continues to reign supreme. Speaking to people about it has become next to impossible, as wild mis-truths and outright insanity now permeates any and all conversation about the disease.

This site has spoken directly to this issue before it became so ridiculous, and what was said then holds true today. Ebola is still only infectious when symptoms become apparent. The virus still travels only through contact with bodily fluids. It is not independently airborne. If you have not come in contact with an infected person’s blood, excretions, urine, saliva, or sweat, you do not have Ebola.

Many right wingers, of course, are just choosing to spread fear and hysteria. Why not, it’s all they’ve been doing these last few years. For examples, see Benghazi, an attack on us, not an attack by us, and the ACA. Sorry, GOP, Obamacare is working.

As they’ve no platform left to run with, and with the Mid-terms upon us, Republicans were pushing the ISIS terrorist threat, although that can blow up in their faces (no pun intended) when it’s pointed out that Bush’s ill-thought out Iraq War and subsequent conservative policies were directly complicit in the formation of this extremist faction. That will be a tricky debate for them to win.

So what are fear-mongers like Lindsey Graham and John McCain to do? Ebola! Never mind that there is an actual mystery epidemic threatening children in this country, one with a greater death toll to boot. Not to mention gun violence kills Americans daily, but hey, that’s life apparently, and we can’t do anything about that.

ebola outbreak
Benghazi? Cool. Ebola? Not cool!

The media has been pounding the Ebola drum non-stop, fanning the flames of ignorant hysteria. The disease became so prevalent, and held such dominance over the headlines, that the voice of reason finally had to come from Fox News, of all places.

Folks, when Shepard Smith, the man who called Robin Williams’ deathcowardly,” has to be the one to tell everybody to calm down, you know we’ve been acting like complete idiots.

Anyway. For there to be an Ebola outbreak, a number of conditions need to be in play. You need an uniformed populace, unprepared healthcare workers, and incompetent local government.

Oh, hello there, Texas, we were just talking about you.

When the story finally grew big that a series of mistakes happened in that now-famous Texas hospital, it was Thursday, October 16. If you need a perfect illustration of how idiotic the media looked that day, simply visit the Facebook page of the New York Daily News.

The Front Page of the right-leaning News that day featured Obama, implying the President was to blame for the “Ebola Crisis.” Naturally, this was posted first thing in the morning. As the day progressed and the story of the obvious culprit, that Texas hospital, became bigger and bigger, the News abruptly changed gears and went full bore on blaming Texas as well. While they were still running a front page screaming blame at the POTUS.

EbolaBut hey, a whole lot of egg on your face can’t stop you from talking, can it Daily News? And so they continued reaching for every piece they could find in order to ride the Ebola bandwagon.

EbolaThe comments from other followers of the Daily News were even more ridiculous. In one thread alone, several insane conspiracy theories got forwarded, including FEMA death camps, JFK, and the Second Coming from the Revelations crowd.

ebolaAll of those commentators together formed the Internet version of panicked sheep facing the wrong way in their pen. All they need to do is turn around and see the way out, but they long ago gave into to mindless mob mentality, screaming at each other and hearing nothing. Communicating with them is impossible.

Here’s the simple reason why Ebola is a threat, no matter how remote or unlikely: ignorance.

Here’s how that ignorance became prevalent in Texas:

1) Republican cuts to the CDC resulted in important information regarding handling Ebola getting suppressed and/or ignored. No, Obama is not clear of complicity in this, as he buckled to the GOP’s austerity demands on the CDC. He even tried to appease Republicans with proposed CDC cuts.

But make no mistake, this was a conservative drive far more than a progressive one.

2) Texas Republicans clamped down on Medicaid, refused ACA expansion, and slashed education to boot, forwarding a greater prevalence of ignorance in that state, especially in regards to exotic diseases.

3) Because of his stance that guns are a health hazard because, well, they are, the NRA ordered its pet Republicans to block the nomination of the Surgeon General. That meant that there wasn’t someone to take charge as the overwhelmed CDC and ill-prepared Texas healthcare workers were both caught flat-footed.

In other words, Texans have allowed themselves to be led by the arrogant and willingly ignorant, and they’re reaping what they’ve sown.

This is what happens when you listen to the “No more gubmint, Benghazi Benghazi BENGHAZI” pundits, instead of paying attention to real stories. And the media is complicit in all of this.

There are many people in Texas that must know better. Rational people can see this issue was brought down on their heads by conservative policies. Texas has slashed regulations which has led to factory explosions and oil spills. Now their shortsighted calls on healthcare have exposed how weakly prepared they are should an outbreak actually become a viable threat to the populace.

Oh and how’s that drought coming along, Texas? Still relying on prayer alone to fix that? Hmm, maybe the Ebola story is a blessing in disguise for the Lone Star State. Connecting any dots here yet, people?

Ebola is not the threat all media outlets are running with. It’s a distraction, the latest sensation. It’s nothing but damn click bait.

Please. Calm down everyone. Now go vote. Do something about this. Or, let hysterical fear-mongering zealots have their way.

It’s your choice.

Chad R. MacDonald has a degree in English literature from Cape Breton University and subsequently received a full scholarship to AMDA in New York City. He is a former security professional, veteran of the hospitality industry, and experienced in both the arts as well as administration.He has been writing all his life, likes baseball, hockey, literature, science, the arts, and marine photography.Chad lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son and their gigantic cat.

24 COMMENTS

  1. This is what I see: (At least on my window. Also, I’m replying here, since the reply link to your response doesn’t work on my app. Just wanted to make that clear.)

    Second Paragraph

    “This site has spoken directly to this issue before it became so ridiculous, and what was said then holds true today. Ebola is still only infectious when symptoms become apparent. The virus still travels only through contact with bodily fluids. It is not independently airborne. If you have not come in contact with an infected person’s blood, excretions, urine, saliva, or sweat, you do not have Ebola.”

    And your first paragraph, which is where you tag me, under the hysteria surrounding Ebola.

    So be it.

    • Then perhaps you need to exit the app when you visit the site. The very first line you quoted back to me is the hyper-link. That is what is backing up what I say in the second paragraph.

      Look, man, I think your original intent was to post a good point. Instead you went on a “first paragraph” monologue when you really meant the second, and kept hitting the point over and over again that I didn’t post a source when I have posted several. I always back up my points.

      Whether you intended it or not, you are coming off as either insulting, annoying, or technically handicapped, as you seem to be viewing this piece through some sort of app which doesn’t allow you to properly reply or apparently see the hyper-links.

      I’m tired of talking to you. All you are doing is saying “Nuh-UH” and splitting hairs over what is in which paragraph, and you aren’t being clear about what you mean.

      If you come back at me, once again, with “but I can’t see it” when the source links are right in front of you, you won’t ever be responded to again.

  2. Your comment reeks with sarcasm, Chad.

    And further there is no link in your second paragraph about this source/colleague who has studied Ebola – unless, of course, you are talking about another piece of yours. So please, provide it once more.

    Have you also noticed that you can put five different researchers together who have looked closely at this virus and each will reach a different conclusion about the nature of Ebola. And perhaps that is because its nature shifts, or because of a plethora of different reasons, something that those who think in terms of black and white are usually unable or unwilling to see. And who instead, feel that a personal attack is the appropriate way to cope with what they cannot see.

    Highly unprofessional, Mr. MacDonald.

    • I don’t know what else to tell you. Hyper-links would be the red words. Specifically where I point out that this site has talked about this issue before? The beginning of the second paragraph? That’s my colleague’s piece, and it is well sourced.

      You keep demanding a source I have already provided and then deny seeing it when I point it out to you. I don’t believe any answer or source I provide will be good enough for you regardless, but they’ve been in front of you all along.

      If you refuse to see, I cannot help you. Intentionally or not, you are illustrating exactly what this piece talks about. I can only tell you to look again.

      Have a nice day.

  3. Ebola is Airborne to a certain extreme, but to be honest nobody knows the true dangers of this virus because it has mutated so much. You don’t think it’s airborne then why don’t you sit in a room with gloves on and no mask and see what happens.

    • SARS, West Nile Virus, Mad Cow, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Flu Flu, Flesh Eating Disease and now Ebola. Next year it’ll be yet another big scary sickness.

      He’s right, this is just the latest sensation. We’ve all been through these hysterics before. You won’t see that, there’s no use talking to you.

      • I agree with you Wayne, It is just another way for Republicans to scare People into voting for them. Like there going to come up with some great cure or Prevention to Ebola faster then the Democrats. Hiding behind a ban is not going to work.

  4. The tag ‪#‎FactsNotFear‬ is being used by many media sites to promote this fact filled article. Facts about Ebola in the U.S. http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/pdf/infographic.pdf Ebola: #FactsNotFear Ebola: #FactsNotFear Dispelling myths about the Ebola virus http://on.wkyc.com/1xQ3cOj
    How quickly Ebola spreads compared to other diseases http://wapo.st/ebola-spread
    19 Things you need to know about Ebola: http://www.vox.com/cards/ebola-facts-you-need-to-know/what-is-the-ebola-virus
    How Contagious Is Ebola, Actually? http://www.exposingtruth.com/contagious-ebola-actually/
    The Ebola Panic: Turn Off Your TV; Go Get Your Flu Shot http://ivn.us/2014/10/16/ebola-panic-turn-tv-go-get-flu-shot/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=wallpost&utm_campaign=FB
    6 things Americans should fear more than Ebola- Three cases in Texas do not an epidemic make. We should all be more concerned about heart disease and gun violence http://www.salon.com/2014/10/17/6_things_americans_should_fear_more_than_ebola_partner/ via @Salon
    This Woman Is Traveling in a Hazmat Suit—and 4 More Absurd Ebola Overreactions http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119865/ebola-causing-misplaced-panic-united-states via @tnr
    Cutting through the Ebola B.S.: Here’s what we really need to worry about : Politicians and pundits are stirring up unprecedented levels of ebola panic. But how much fear is merited? http://www.salon.com/2014/10/17/the_truth_about_our_ebola_paranoia_what_we_need_to_worry_about_%e2%80%94_and_what_we_definitely_dont/?source=newsletter
    The 5 most toxic myths about Ebola, debunked : The U.S. is not in store for a nationwide epidemic, despite what Fox News and CNN might have you believe http://www.salon.com/2014/10/17/the_5_most_toxic_myths_about_ebola_debunked_partner/?source=newsletter

    • Salon is not a source I would consider credible for dispensing accurate scientific research. The Guardian posted 8 myths about Ebola and the Washington Post shared 5 myths about Ebola. So which of these myths are true?

      As for the CDC, when Frieden suggested that Ebola was like Aids, well that didn’t do much for his credibility.

      And the attempt to politicize what has happened here and use it for political advantage is disgraceful. Unity is what is required now, not further division. Focus on the flaws we have and correct them and not use them as arguments for nabbing upcoming elections.

  5. I have no problem with the arguments you make, subsequent to the first paragraph, Chad.

    However, my disagreement with you – or anybody else who attempts to pose the same argument about the the nature of the virus – is this: Where is the research to support that statement? That Ebola is only dangerous under the conditions stated in your first paragraph?

    • It is, indeed, a fact that evidence from the positive per how the virus is spread is somewhat sketchy, though not totally unavailable. If such sketchy evidence was the only basis for an argument per present understandings of how the virus is spread, I would be more than skeptical.

      However, medical research—and, for that matter, research in other fields, as well—has never relied only on evidence/proof from the positive. The evidence from the negative is, in medical research as well as medical diagnosis/treatment, nearly as determinative as its philosophical sibling—cf. the ubiquitous phrase “rule out” in diagnostic plans (diagnostic possibilities are as often “ruled out” by the negative as the positive). Relative to the subject at hand, evidence from the negative essentially comprises the fact that there is zero evidence to suggest that the virus is spread in any way other than “contact with an infected person’s blood, excretions, urine, saliva, or sweat…”

      I do, on the other hand, disagree with medical authorities establishing that the virus “is not airborne” in such an absolute way. If a person with the virus sneezed or coughed at/on me in close quarters, it stands to reason that I might well come into contact with droplets of his/her “bodily fluids” by virtue of their being, well, airborne. Hence, while the evidence suggests the virus is spread only by contact with bodily fluids, it seems to me somewhat misleading to say that it is not airborne. Were I the authorities, I would stick with the “bodily fluids” evidence but perhaps lose the word “airborne” and add a word of caution about how “contact with bodily fluids” can occur.

      • I have no idea what you’re talking about. Sorry. Instead of clarification, I see instead, more confusion, which is essentially my point – there seems to be little agreement or understanding about the nature and capability of this virus – which only exacerbates fear and panic experienced by the average American. A perfect example of The Tower of Babel!

        • Sorry, but the phrases “evidence from the positive” and “evidence trom the negative” are not only self-explanatory but oft-sued in any number of disciplines when there is an attempt to arrive at conclusions. “Evidence from the positive” simply means that a conclusion is drawn from objective, empirical evidence. “Evidence from the negative” simply means that a conclusion cannot be drawn from objective, empirical evidence and, until it can be, is not considered a solid conclusion—or, diagnosis, if you prefer. At present, there is not objective, empirical evidence to suggest a conclusion that the virus is “airborne” in the way the medical community uses the phrase. In the absence of such evidence, one would say that a conclusion is based on “evidence from the negative”; i.e. one cannot conclude that it is “airborne” because there is no evidence to support such a theory.

          Sorry you see more confusion, given that this is the valuing system used in medical research and medical practice—hence, the phrase “ruled out.”

          Tower of Babel? Not in the vernacular of research. And, for that matter, not in common vernacular if one takes the time to consider the logic inherent in it.

          A perfect example of not taking such time, given that these are easy, basic concepts.

          • Simple concept for those who are entrenched in the pursuit of medical jargon. But try using those “simple” concepts on the general public. I don’t doubt that research involves many levels which offer explanation through observation, as in mental health disorders, where a diagnosis (often incorrect) is based on what is observable in a person through the symptoms he or she presents. I might add that, that area is still primitive in the diagnosis and treatment of those medical conditions.

            Ebola, however, is quite different and the messages we have been getting from the experts are often contradictory. But since it is a virus, it can be studied using strict research protocols, through an examination of the actual virus. It’s there. It’s not in one’s head. The blood carries the pathogen. And to begin eliminating options that describe the nature of this virus, without a thorough investigation of the virus, is irresponsible.

            An example the confusion created?

            The nurse who made several flights and who may have put other passengers in danger, was met with a medical team in full protective gear and transported to a hospital, while the other passengers were simply told to go home and self-monitor, or chose to do so on their own. Afterwards the plane was disinfected by those also in full protective gear. Now what’s wrong with that picture? And what message does that send to the rest of the population? It certainly doesn’t quell fear, confusion and anxiety. Instead, it exacerbates it.

            Do as I say.
            Not as I do.

            Furthermore, now we have researchers who have worked with contagious diseases who are suggesting that the 21 day incubation period – that piece of observable data – may in fact be untrue, and dated information that was collected through earlier outbreaks, during which pristine statistical data collection was not practiced. That the virus can linger far longer than that – months – possibly through mutation, before symptoms manifest themselves.

            So my question is still the same:

            Where is the research at the molecular level that suggests this virus fits into this nice, little box which says it’s not contagious through an airborne stream?

            You made that claim in your first paragraph. What was your source?

            Simple question.

              • Actually, it was in the second paragraph.

                The same paragraph which starts with a hyper-link to a colleague’s piece studying Ebola, and containing the links you keep asking for.

                The first paragraph applies to you, however.

                Thanks for reading.

            • You really don’t want to understand a simple concept such as “objectively verifiable evidence” or “objectively verifiable empirical evidence,” do you? Those aren’t concepts whose use is restricted to those well-versed in “medical jargon” but concepts that are pertinent to study and research in virtually every discipline I know.

              Mental health? Are you kidding? There may be no arena of medical research that, at present, can less rely on “objectively verifiable evidence” than that which deals with affective, cognitive and behavioral order and disorder. Though, were you at all familiar with the field, which your statement indicates you are not, you would not be making a statement as abysmally ignorant as “that area is still primitive in the diagnosis and treatment of those medical{?} questions.”

              We’re talking about medical research that, by nature, must work on the basis of empirical evidence. And this virus has been and is being studied empirically, as both I and the original writer indicated—do you understand the word “empirical?” But, as is the case with any, uh, viral or bacterial infection—allow me a teaching moment!—part of the examination goes to cause/effect. Hence, “ruled out”—or, as it is used in medical work and research, “evidence from the negative.” Furthermore, cause/effect also goes to treatment of either a virus or bacterium itself (cause) or its symptoms (effect). At present, treatment is limited to effect (symptomatic relief as the virus runs its course) but there is general agreement that an effective vaccine or ameliorative for the virus itself is no more than three years of drug trials away.

              You are reaching—and, reaching far and wide—when you suggest that there is any kind of real agreement that the 21-day incubation period may not be long enough. There is plenty of empirical data available to indicate that it is and there is no empirical or “evidence from the negative” available to indicate that it isn’t. In other words, offering as an objectively verifiable truth that “the virus can linger far longer than that—months—through mutation, before symptoms manifest themselves” is an irresponsible effort that has no basis in fact.

              And that last sentence is not directed at the original author, but at you. Study up before you put nothing other than idle conjecture out there. And read/edit your remarks before you post your comment—had you done so, you might have thought twice about an irrelevant aside per mental health research, an aside that had no pertinence to this conversation.

              In closing—and I will leave you to torture yourself from here on—here is what we science can say with a pretty fair degree of certainty: There is, as has been stated several times, zero evidence that Ebola is contagious “through an airborne stream.”

              If you’ve got evidence to the contrary, I’m sure the CDC and the NIH and my old friends down at Emory would be glad to hear from you.

Leave a Comment