Views On Ebola: Try To Keep ‘An Even Keel’; Who’s In Charge Of Fighting A Pandemic?
The Washington Post: Keeping An Even Keel At Home On Ebola
Understandably, the specter of such a dangerous disease in the United States has bred fear. But it is remarkable how some public figures are inflaming that fear. Commentator Rush Limbaugh took flight on Tuesday, saying on the radio that "I don’t think anybody involved with Ebola knows what they're doing. I don’t care if it’s the WHO or the Centers for Disease Control, I don’t think anybody knows what they’re doing." This was an unfounded rant that can only deepen public disquiet. ... One infected person, Ms. Pham, does not constitute an outbreak. But we think [CDC Director Thomas] Frieden and others are wise to prepare for the worst, including by making sure that hospitals across the country know what to do if a patient shows symptoms that look like Ebola and have the ability to respond rapidly and effectively (10/14).
The Washington Post’s The Plum Line: Americans Are Terrified Of Ebola. Which Could Make It Harder To Stop Ebola.
We're scared, and getting more scared all the time. And it may be time to wonder whether the combination of fear and politics could hinder the effective decision-making needed to keep the virus from harming Americans. Yes, Ebola is a terrible infectious disease, one that kills most of the people who catch it. And in parts of west Africa, there is a genuine outbreak that has already killed thousands of people. If you were in Liberia right now, you’d have good reason to be afraid. But you’re not (Paul Waldman, 10/14).
The New York Times: Scarier Than Ebola
Do me a favor. Turn away from the ceaseless media coverage of Ebola in Texas — the interviews with the Dallas nurse's neighbors, the hand-wringing over her pooch, the instructions on protective medical gear — and answer this: Have you had your flu shot? Are you planning on one? During the 2013-2014 flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 46 percent of Americans received vaccinations against influenza, even though it kills about 3,000 people in this country in a good year, nearly 50,000 in a bad one. These are deaths by a familiar assassin. Many of them could have been prevented. So why aren't we in a lather over that? Why fixate on remote threats that we feel we can't control when there are immediate ones that we simply don't bother to? (Frank Bruni, 10/14).
The Washington Post: Actually, Flu Is The Virus You Should Really Be Worrying About
If you are worried about contracting Ebola, I have two suggestions. First, stop. Second, get a flu shot. On the first: If you live in the United States, your chances of getting Ebola are vanishingly small — even if you are a health-care worker, or a journalist who travels to Africa to report on the epidemic (Ruth Marcus, 10/14).
Bloomberg: Is U.S. Ready For A Pandemic?
Although the likelihood of a large-scale outbreak of Ebola is almost immeasurably tiny, Americans have begun to ask: Who, really, is in charge of snuffing out a potential epidemic? The Centers for Disease Control? Texas Governor Rick Perry? The local alderman? In the U.S., the proper role of government in public health is an extraordinarily vexed and complicated question. As a consequence, when a killer hemorrhagic fever shows up on our shores, the dead hand of the past practically guarantees that we will dither in crafting an effective response (Stephen Mihm, 10/14).
The Wall Street Journal: How the U.S. Made The Ebola Crisis Worse
Amid discussions of quarantines, lockdowns and doomsday death scenarios about Ebola, little has been said about the exodus of Africa's health-care professionals and how it has contributed to the outbreak. For 50 years, the U.S. and other Western nations have admitted health professionals—especially doctors and nurses—from poor countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, three nations at the heart of the Ebola epidemic. The loss of these men and women is now reflected in reports about severe medical-manpower shortages in these countries, an absence of local medical leadership so critical for responding to the crisis, and a collapse or near-collapse of their health-care systems (E. Fuller Torrey, 10/14).
Reuters: Read This To Get A Better Understanding Of How Ebola Spreads
No virus that causes disease in humans has ever been known to mutate to change its mode of transmission. This means it is highly unlikely that Ebola has mutated to become airborne. It is, however, droplet-borne — and the distinction between the two is crucial (Celine Gounder, 10/13).