The world’s largest Ebola Virus Outbreak (EVD) and it’s first appearance’s outside of Africa continues to gather news coverage at an unprecedented speed. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, the virus has not just turned up talk of medicine and public health, but it is now getting progressively more political and conspiratorial.
Perhaps what some may think the most radical statement on the Ebola crisis came from Fox News contributor and psychiatrist, Dr. Keith Ablow who made quite an accusation about President Obama whom penned the following, “I believe the president may literally believe we should suffer along with less fortunate nations. And if he does, that is a very dangerous psychological stance from which to confront Ebola.
“Let me say this plainly, as a psychiatrist who has studied this president only from a distance: In order for President Obama to keep thinking of himself as the leader of the world — and not just the free world — it may be that our boundaries must remain porous, allowing illegal immigrants and, potentially, even diseases to flow through them.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson has also arrived on the scene suggesting possible legal action. Jackson, now a spokesman for the family of the late Thomas Eric Duncan said, “All I do know is that Mr. Duncan received late treatment and not the best drug.”
Racism has been a topic in the Ebola outbreak, particularly after Mr. Duncan’s tragic death. Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera suggested racism Thursday in a tweet saying, “Real shame of Dallas: Ebola fatality Thomas Duncan turned away from Presbyterian Hospital. Was it because he was too poor, black and uninsured?”
A column by joint fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace, Robin Wright, notes several areas of racism, she says. Children being branded as “Ebola kids” simply because of their heritage or skin color is one example she makes in the column.
CDC director Dr. Thomas Frieden compared the Ebola situation to AIDS at a meeting of the World Bank Thursday–“In the 30 years I’ve been working in public health, the only thing like this has been AIDS,” Frieden said. The statement comes in the wake of agency budget cuts.
Some members of Congress have been quite critical of the CDC’s effort to stem Ebola in the US, particularly the efforts put in place to date. “We have concerns that the current decision to screen only at five airports may not adequately protect Americans and others traveling to America from the Ebola virus,” according to a letter U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Michael McCaul, both from Texas, sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.
Getting away from the politicization of Ebola, 13-year-old Bintu Sannoh of Sierra Leone wrote a heartfelt piece in The Guardian, which in just the second paragraph she writes may say it all why the outbreak got so out of control:
When Ebola first arrived in my country, we weren’t too worried. Then came “sensitisation” – all the community groups and NGOs running around talking about Ebola. But many refused to believe in the danger and even tried to make politics out of it. We had a riot in Kenema, under the banner of “Ebola is not real”. Some said the government does not care about Ebola because the government is from the north and the virus is in the east (home of the opposition party). Others said it was because doctors wanted your blood. There were so many stories and no one took Ebola too seriously.
Conspiracy theory anyone?
This was to eventually happen and it came in the guise of a Simpsons cartoon from 17 years ago. Not only does the poster of the video explicitly say there is a link, one commentor wrote the following: “Is there something we are not being told? Is it by pure chance & coincidence that the Simpsons would do predictive programming? There has been numerous predictions from The Simpsons which revealed futuristic events which came to pass. What of the Ebola recurrence in 2014? Is it planned or is it just by natural means? Ebola was not in the 90’s, but it happened long ago in the mid 70’s… But The Simpsons reveal in late 90’s Ebola virus… Interesting right?”
We also learned, if we didn’t know already, like yelling “fire” in a movie theatre or joking you have a bomb on a airplane, you don’t jokingly say you have Ebola on a crowded airplane with an incredibly skiddish and fearful population. An American passenger on a US Airways flight traveling from Philadelphia to Punta Cana on in the Dominican Republic on Wednesday reportedly shouted out things like, “I’ve been to Africa!” and, according to media reports, “I have Ebola, you’re all screwed!” right before the plane landed. This of course prompted a cadre of blue space suits to enter the plane, see VIDEO.