Last week I was telling my website business partner that if I didn’t already know better, after watching all the cable news that airs 24/7 and listening to talk radio, I’d be scared to death about Ebola in America.
The proof was in the pudding the next evening when talking to my mother when the first thing she said to me was, “How about this Ebola, this has got me so scared.”
I responded by saying, “Mom, you got to stop listening to Sean Hannity.”
Ebola has become politicized to the umteenth degree, not totally unexpected; however, the finger pointing and hyperbolic way it was featured and talked about was horrible and counter productive.
What we’ve seen in the US to date is pretty much what was expected considering the mistakes made by the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, both by the screw-ups with Thomas Eric Duncan’s first visit and turnaway to the unpreparedness of health workers and the procedures put in place. (Clearly, the Dallas hospital was not following the very involved donning and doffing protocols that say the Nebraska Medical Center used)
I’m not putting too much fault on the Dallas hospital as they were just the unlucky one to receive the first patient–this would have likely happened in the vast majority of the nation’s 4,000 hospitals.
Remember, no one in the community contracted the virus, in fact, Duncan’s own family, who was with him during the vomiting and diarrhea of his illness in the Dallas apartment have not contracted Ebola (the 21 day incubation is nearly up).
Two nurses treating Duncan toward the end of his life, when the viral load was the heaviest and symptoms were most severe, were the only individuals to contract the virus.
Not a crisis, but a concern.
I believe the CDC wasn’t fully prepared either and were clearly caught on their heels. Their communications to the US public were poor at best, but certainly not a reason to remove Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director from his position, as Bill O’Reilly yelled in total anger and disgust.
I’m not saying O’Reilly is incorrect in saying that a temporary ban from Ebola stricken countries should happen, it’s just the way he goes about it. In addition, if you have an infectious disease expert on as a guest, for Pete’s sake, let him talk!
Whether it be O’Reilly, Hannity, Jeanine Pirro or the plethora of other opinion makers, the Obama bashing and fearmongering over this issue was despicable. Fear is one of politicians and followers of political parties favorite methods to persuade the public–not just about Ebola, but in a number of other issues.
Bill O’Reilly said last week that Frieden was afraid to come on his Fox News program proclaiming for the incalculable time that he has the most viewers on all cable news.
My question for NBC, Fox and CNN, who run news programming 24/7 is this—where were you when Doctors without Borders was screaming–“THIS IS OUT OF CONTROL”? The Ebola outbreak began to spread out of Guinea into neighboring Liberia in April, and later in Sierra Leone but little coverage of the West African outbreak could be had on these 24/7 news outlets.
They couldn’t have dedicated 60 seconds to the outbreak on the rotation? It was not until Dr. Kent Brantly was set to return to the US for treatment that these news agencies started paying attention.
Maybe Bill O’Reilly could have got angry at the World Health Organization saying “The MSF says this outbreak is spinning out of control” to his largest audience on cable news, maybe health officials would have taken this more seriously much earlier on.