Ebola in media spreads more panic and confusion

Pierce Godwin
Staff writer

Ebola is getting out of hand, not because Ebola is a threat to the American health, but because we are allowing ourselves to live in fear. I do not think there is a need for panic if people are educated about the situation.
The number of documented cases of Ebola in the United States can be counted on your hands with fingers to spare. Moreover, not one person in the general public has contracted Ebola.
The reason Ebola is a problem in the U.S. is that we were not ready to handle a few isolated cases of the disease. The news media are also acting hysterically by using Ebola as a political stunt with the upcoming midterm elections.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Fox News that the protocols that were used are better suited for field work rather than hospital work.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Sept. 30 that Thomas Duncan was the first individual to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. Duncan soon passed away from the disease on Oct. 8.
Once the news broke that Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola, the news media started to strike fear into the American public. It was irresponsible for the news media to continuously air inaccurate information.
There were claims that the public had been lied to without conclusive evidence. However, there were a few cases in which the media misinformed the American population.
On the same Fox News program, George Will tried to challenge Fauci by claiming Ebola is an airborne disease. Will had not presented legitimate proof to back up his claim, and there was no need for that information to be circulated.
When Ebola first hit mainstream media, everyone was rushing to inform the public on the virus. However, the reality is that our chances of contracting the disease are minute.
Ebola is transmitted by close contact of bodily fluids with someone who has contracted the disease.
Thomas Duncan contracted the disease while in Liberia. He flew to the United States to visit family. Between the time that Duncan left Liberia and the time he was admitted to the hospital with Ebola, not one person who came into contact with him contracted the disease.
Shortly after Duncan died, two nurses who cared for Duncan contracted the disease. Once again, the media struck fear into the American population when they discovered that one of the infected nurses flew from Ohio to Texas.
It seems to me that the more we try to find out about Ebola through the news, the less we actually know. On Oct. 15, Shepard Smith of Fox News released a public service announcement on the situation.
Smith’s purpose was to stop the “hysterical voices” on the television and the “fear-provoking” words on the Internet. He also went on to share the facts of Ebola and Ebola transmission.
Smith brought up the point that politics has a role in the Ebola crisis. With the midterm elections upon us, “the party in charge needs to appear to be effectively leading. The party out of power needs to show there is a lack of leadership,” Smith said.
I believe President Barack Obama has tried diligently to show that he is handling the crisis in the best possible way. He has met with the director of the CDC and he has appointed an “Ebola czar.” Conversely, Republican officials have accused the Obama administration of poor leadership.
Like most Democratic presidents, Obama has struggled to get the approval of Republicans, but now he is losing the support of his own party and constituents.
Obama’s approval averaged 41.5 percent at the end of his 23rd quarter, which ended Oct. 19. A Fox News poll showed that 50 percent of Americans believe that ISIS is still the greatest threat to America, while 27 percent believe that Ebola is the biggest threat.
With ISIS and Ebola both being prominent stories in the news, many people have speculated about the possibility of ISIS using Ebola as a bio-weapon.
Al Shimkus, a retired professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College, points out that adversaries in the Middle Ages would throw corpses that had been infected with the bubonic plague over the walls of enemies, but this is nothing more than speculation.
“Everyone’s looking out for signs of Ebola,” Jennifer Cole, a British emergency management expert, told Daily Mail. “The other issue with Ebola is that it’s very hard to control. The militants could just end up wiping themselves out before they’ve had the chance to pass it on.”
As of now, ISIS is losing the war. It was reported last week that 70 bodies of ISIS militants were dropped off at a Syrian hospital.
“We do not have an outbreak of Ebola in the United States,” Smith said. “The only people who have contracted the disease are those who either had contact with individuals in Liberia or medical personnel who had direct contact with an Ebola patient. “

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