Ebola: What we’re doing right

ebola4Based on the media reports on Ebola as it relates to the two people who have contracted the deadly virus inside the United States, you’d think that the government is bungling us into a pandemic, or worse.

One word here: relax.

Keep in mind that it’s not the job of the mass media to tell you what people in officialdom are doing right in any instance. Part of that is the H.L. Mencken in us: comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable. Part of that is, People gawk at bad news, and yawn at good news, and it’s the gawkers who provide eyeballs to messages, and eyeballs to messages drive advertising dollars, so … if it bleeds, it leads.

Also keep in mind that certain partisans are trying to stoke fears on Ebola because, in case you missed it, and you probably did, we’ve got a midterm election going on, and Republicans, god love ‘em, are hoping that Ebola can be their Hurricane Sandy.

So you have a media looking for headlines, partisans grasping for an opportunity to win an election, and two people with Ebola getting 24-7 breaking news graphics with haunting music coverage.

Consider this: 53,826 people died of the flu and pneumonia in 2011, according to the same Centers for Disease Control and Prevention getting slammed to hell right now for the two people who have contracted Ebola in the U.S.

Am I saying that we don’t need to take Ebola seriously? No. Ebola is killing thousands in Africa, more than 4,500 at the last count in the current outbreak from the World Health Organization. And unchecked, it can spread quickly and devastate whole regions. Definitely take it seriously.

But do we need to close the country down to prevent a third person from contracting Ebola? What if we took the same strenuous approach to the flu and pneumonia? Wouldn’t we save many more lives, and on a recurring basis, since flu and pneumonia are with us to stay, whereas Ebola is something that seems to pop up only every few years?

Learn from what we’ve done wrong in allowing the two healthcare workers who contracted Ebola after treating the first victim who brought the virus with him from africa to come down with the disease. Make sure the protocols are tightened, followed and continually reviewed to make sure that they’re effective.

Outside of that … relax.

Just food for thought.

– Column by Chris Graham