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Friday, October 3, 2014

CAN EBOLA BECOME A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC?

Sure, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian citizen, who returned to Dallas from his country, has contracted the deadly Ebola virus.  And that lead TV newscast item in Honolulu about a potential Ebola case at Queen's hospital potentially with this ailment turned out not to be so.  Debate.org has an ongoing poll, and 75% has responded YES to the question:  Could the Ebola virus cause a worldwide epidemic?

Remarkably, last week our CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reported:  Ebola Cases Could Reach 1.4 million in 4 Months.  "Only" 3500 deaths thus far, with about a 50% death rate.  Then the European Leadership Network remarks:  pandemic should be treated the same way as threat posed by nuclear weapons.  The world "pandemic" is actually used, so, I guess the answer to my question in the title must be YES.  This is beginning to look like the next health panic.

Five years ago one of my HuffPo's was entitled:


Yes, there was an ongoing worldwide swine flu panic, but I thought the fear was largely stimulated by the media, and felt compelled to expose the foolishness of these exaggerations through some available humor:

As a starter, let us review where we are on this subject. RJ Eskow provided in HuffPo an excellent summary, entitled, The Meaning of Swine Flu, the Universe, and Everything. If you read through the comments and trace some of the references, you can take a comedic pathway leading to Jeff Horwich's  Don't Cough on Me Alejandro (sung to Don't Cry for me Argentina), a satire found in Face Book. Also, too, you just can't skip another HuffPo posting, this one in the Comedy section, by Juliet Jeske, on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann's Guide to the Swine Flu. You will then be trapped into yet another Comedy HuffPo, this one by Will Menaker, on CongressBorat Bachmann, from Minnesota, always in the top ten among states in educational achievement and well being (health). Yet, funny, but they produce a Governor Jesse Ventura and can't extricate themselves from the continuing farce with Al Franken, known as their senatorial race. But I digress.

I went on to say:

You might think that I am making a joke of the swine flu, for my April 24 posting was entitled, Benefits of the Swine Flu Scare, followed on May 5 with Cinco de Mayo and the Swine Flu. But no, my message is deeper, for these seeds of hysteria provide clues about our future. You can wonder about how we got ourselves into this dilemmic mode: on the one hand, we have something that will almost never happen (a serious swine flu epidemic), while on the other, there is death, worried mothers and panic.

Yup, this is getting a bit repetitive, but I go on;

Why, then, has the world, epitomized by the World Health Organization (which can best be appreciated if you know the internal workings of the United Nations), gone bonkers over the swine flu? I would like to speculate on the reason. I think it has to do with our political way of life influenced by the world wide web (WWW), as sensitized by the terroristic act of September 11, 2001. Add the palpable need to cover your rear.

Okay, final quote:

Swine flu, though, conjures dark images of your mortality. The communications industry, like CNN, saturates air time on such issues because they know people will watch. The WWW picks it up and decision-makers are hopelessly influenced. The cascading circle of information gains a life of its own.  The truth is that the truly dangerous virus is not the swine flu, but the medium itself. The pandemic is this resultant overreaction.

Finally, I'm not an epidemiologist, so why believe me.  Instead, read why Ebola is unlikely to become a global epidemic.  What I'm trying to articulate is:  DON'T WORRY ABOUT EBOLA BECOMING A WORLDWIDE PANDEMIC!!!  Yes, of course, there will be a case or two here and there of people who recently returned from West Africa becoming infected.  But any flu can be transferred through the air.  Ebola cannot.  Sure, if the ebola virus mutates into an airborne transmission agent, you can begin to worry a bit.  But the odds of this happening at this time are virtually nil.  If you go to West Africa, don't touch bodily fluids of a contaminated patient.  Do everything to avoid bat bites in that region of Africa and don't eat this fruit bat to the right above. 

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Typhoon Phanfone is now at 120 MPH, with gusts hitting 150 MPH.  The predicted path still sees a turn to the northwest, mostly skirting the west coast of Japan.  But, you never know.


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