I thought about dressing up as Ebola for Halloween tonight. It seems to be the most terrifying thing in America, especially if you get your views from Fox News.
But then I decided that the costume would be too skimpy and could I really stand up on those swirly bottom things?
On a more serious note, I have to admit that I am an Ebola-phobe. It started way back in 1976 when I read about the first outbreak of this horrid virus in Africa. Nobody then knew where it came from and mostly, we still don’t. We do know that every once in a while for the last 40 years, it has attacked humans, usually in remote, rural locations and ravaged the population until it burns out.
Dozens of scary books have been written about the prospect of a weaponized Ebola virus that can be transmitted through the air like the flu. If you have read any of them, you still get goosebumps when you read the words “liquid coffee grounds.”
In the latest outbreak, the virus has moved into urban areas where a dense population in close proximity makes the threat of a wildly increasing spread not just a scary thought but a reality. The disease is ravaging Liberia and is a serious epidemic in neighboring Sierra Leone and Guinea. It remains “out of control” meaning that it is still spreading and nobody sees that point where it saturates and burns out,
That said, it’s time for us to slow down and take a deep breath before we see this as a threat that requires draconian restrictions on human rights on American soil. The epitome of over-reaction goes to Gov. Chris Christie who pulled a prisoner-style quarantine on a returning nurse who had volunteered with Doctors Without Borders in Africa.
What we really need to do is control the epidemic in West Africa. We need to stop it where it lives. This truly is an enemy (unlike terrorism) that will never attack us on our shores if we defeat it in its homeland.
Attacking the volunteers who are fighting the fight on the front lines isn’t the way to win this battle.