Ebola: stop shouting, start listening

Troy Wilkinson

There are a total of eight Ebola cases currently in America. Let me repeat that, there are only eight people out of the 300 million people in this country reported to have Ebola, and only one of has died. Thomas Eric Duncan, the patient who died, had almost no suitable medical attention; he was only given some antibiotics. Despite Duncan telling the hospital of his symptoms and of his trip to Liberia, he was not checked or diagnosed with Ebola. So overall we have seven alive people who’ve been diagnosed with Ebola, along with one death mostly contributed to a lack of medical treatment. If you live in America, this disease is not widely dangerous, so I urge Americans who are shouting their fears of Ebola to take a moment to step back and see its relatively benign presence in America. It seems quite hard to die if you get Ebola and the correct medical attention. The chances of an American getting Ebola in the first place are, as Barack Obama put it “extremely low.”

Don’t get me wrong, Ebola is extremely serious, but it isn’t worth screaming and shouting about if we’re looking at more developed countries, like America. One of the main reasons why Ebola spreads so rapidly in less developed nations is because of impoverished conditions  there’s a lack of running water and soap as well as understaffed and undersupplied hospitals. These are things most Americans have access to. In other nations like Liberia, the death toll is quite high, as of Oct. 14 there are 4,262 reported cases of Ebola and more than half have died. This should be our central concern; the well-being of other nations, particularly in West Africa is what is at risk.

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America should follow in the footsteps of the World Health Organization (WHO). Their plans for containing the outbreak are by helping at-risk nations become more prepared for it, allowing them to fight back against the virus. Specifically, the WHO is targeting their support at health-care workers in affected countries, since in the last two outbreaks of Ebola nine percent of infections were health-care workers. That nine percent may not seem large enough to warrant focused international support, but health-care workers are the most important individuals to keep uninfected. This should be the central discussion among Americans, how can we as a society assist other countries from a continuing Ebola outbreak.

Ebola is not apocalyptic, it isn’t the engulfing entity of death and destruction that America seems to be making it out to be. It is however, an outbreak that America should be listening to and concerned with in respect to countries in more severe situations. It shows a lot about our mentality as a more developed country that Ebola became a big deal only when it came to our nation. Let’s stop shouting about how frightened we are that Ebola may consume America, and let’s start listening to other nation’s cries. Then we can help the people truly in peril of Ebola.

Collegian Columnist Troy Wilkinson can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter by @BluMitts.