George Carlin once said, “Americans panic easily.” Certainly the media plays its part. And yet all these relatively recent “epidemics” – bird flu, swine flu, SARS, H1N1 and others – never came to pass. They just created a lot of panicked Americans. In each case people spent $billions on drugs and vaccines and all for naught. Our next tempest in a teapot is Ebola. Is it really going to be bringing widespread illness and death? Michael Fumento, an attorney who has been writing about mass scares for over 25 years, says this:
Why Ebola’s nothing to worry about
By Michael Fumento
We’re now witnessing the worst Ebola epidemic ever — and on your list of worries it belongs .?.?. nowhere.
Here’s a rule of thumb about diseases: The rarer and less likely they are to kill you, the more hype they get. The New York Times ran more than 2,000 articles on SARS, which ultimately killed zero Americans.
This is only the deadliest outbreak of Ebola virus disease because past ones were so tiny. At this writing, there have been 1,603 reported cases in Africa and 887 deaths.
That’s too many. But every day about 600 sub-Saharan Africans die of tuberculosis, and contagious diarrhea claims the lives of 2,195 children, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malaria, syphilis, AIDS and probably dozens of other diseases each year kill Africans at higher rates than Ebola is killing right now.
And, should Ebola come to America, it’s vanishingly unlikely to “break out.”
Ebola is a lazy spreader. A cough, sneeze or sweat from an “active” case is harmless. Spreading the virus requires contact with large doses of bodily secretions such as blood or vomit.
In Africa, that makes the proportion of fatalities among health-care workers exceptionally high and thereby makes the illness seem more frightening. After all, they’re specialists.
But in the ramshackle clinics these heroic folks have to work in, they often lack the most basic protective equipment.
Consider: In over four months since the latest Ebola outbreak was identified in Guinea, it has spread to only three other countries — all in sub-Saharan Africa.
Flu can spread to three new countries in a day.
Let’s worry less about greasing squeaky wheels, and more about prioritizing our reactions based not on films or bestsellers but on what poses the greatest threat to the greatest number.
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