Ebola, the nasty hemorrhagic fever virus described in detail in Tom Clancy’s 1996 book Executive Orders, caused a fair amount of public consternation in the U.S., and for good reason. The latest outbreak in the African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone appears to be the most prolific of all outbreaks to date. You can see a history of previous outbreaks here. I have been monitoring this outbreak since spring, becoming increasing worried as the number of cases increased, even with aggressive isolation and treatment by international health workers. As I suspected, most of the public and the media were somewhat indifferent, until American aid workers in the area were stricken. It got even more interesting when the public learned the two ill citizens were being flown home for treatment. Across social media platforms and chat rooms, Americans expressed their concern about bringing the virus into the U.S. via sick patients. The most vocal of which is “The Donald” Trump, who tweeted;
Holy Crap Don, get a grip! I understand the concern about the spread of this disease via air travel. But to say that these workers deserve to be denied of medical care in their own country just because they chose to help in another country is a bunch of B.S. I can guarantee you, if Mr. Trump or his loved one’s came down with a horrific communicable disease while overseas, they would be on their private jet back to the states before you could say “Flu Shot”! Our CDC, realizing that many citizens, including my wife, are deeply concerned about the potential spread of Ebola here has been active on their SM platforms, providing objective, factual information about their medical protocols and isolation protocols.
They also took to Twitter to try and calm the masses.
Government agencies who may face unreasonable and uneducated hysteria and misinformation would be well served to closely watch the CDC’s messaging. I applaud their rational approach, and their fast response in providing detailed information about the outbreak, and steps being taken to save lives while protecting the rest of us. Does this mean I don’t think Ebola is a risk to us? No way, I’m deeply concerned, and have been for a while. But, I’m not jumping on The Donald’s irrational terror train. I’m keeping the faith in our communicable disease experts, hoping their efforts not only save the lives of the aid workers, but also provides invaluable learning opportunities and real life experience for our infectious disease experts at home. Mr. Trump, take a chill pill and wash your hands instead of wringing them.