Fear-mongers whipped up a nationwide frenzy this year over a non-existent Ebola epidemic in America. It was entirely politically motivated. Incredibly, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage thundered that President Obama is deliberately trying to start an Ebola epidemic in America to depopulate this country. Limbaugh stirred in a hefty dose of race-baiting, saying the tip-off was the involvement of Liberia, which was symbolic to our crazed president, as it was where slaves went after the Civil War.
This goes far beyond irresponsible talk. This is beyond demagoguery. This is incitement to violence. How much misery and terror, and how much money, has Ebola-mania cost this country so far? Virtually all of it in a bizarre attempt to smear Obama.
Ban flights from Africa? That was the impassioned wail of Republicans on the campaign trail this month. It would have been the very worst thing we could have done. We need to be injecting resources into the Ebola Zone, to wipe it out where it exists. Don’t go there? Don’t fight it? Let it metastasize and get bigger and bigger? Granted, we are not the only ones capable of aiding the West Africans (who are among the most impoverished people on earth, and need somebody’s help.) But we ought to be there providing whatever assistance we can to contain and eliminate this thing. By the way, the entire continent of Africa is not impacted by Ebola. The Zone is a relatively tiny area on the western coast.
Airborne Ebola was the craze of this year’s election season. But there was never any chance that the virus would go airborne. It never has done so, in all the years we have studied it. Hey, maybe pigs will suddenly transform into winged creatures, but you know what? The science is against it. If this thing was airborne we would know, because we would be swamped in cases right now. And yet the fear-mongers push their “sneeze droplet” theory. This says that Ebola is in fact airborne, because it can live for a few hours in droplets expelled by sneezes and coughs. That is NOT the same as airborne virus, like tuberculosis or influenza, which live floating in the air.
Ebola is not easy to catch. Unlike anthrax, it would make a very poor biological weapon. This fact was totally ignored by right-wing “talk show hosts” on TV and radio, claiming that terrorists would be hauling it in somehow and spreading it somehow, and of course dark warnings about Mexican immigrants somehow having it. Mexico’s close proximity to Sierra Leon was the key to that one.
Progress is being reported on development of an Ebola vaccine. We will likely have one in a few years. The outbreak in West Africa shows signs of stabilizing anyway. Nigeria has been declared Ebola-free. If they can do it, there is almost ZERO chance of any widespread Ebola epidemic in the developed world. The worst epidemics we have in America are shallow thinking and cult mentality. But let’s keep score this time. Let us remember the disgraceful Ebola freak-out of 2014, and use it as an example to knock down the next mass-hysteria that is thrown at us.