Opinion: Ebola is the concern it shouldn’t be

Ryan McCarthy is a sophomore political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at rmccart5@kent.edu.

Ryan McCarthy is a sophomore political science major and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].

Ryan McCarthy

The reaction to the Ebola virus demonstrates an incredibly irritating aspect of our society: Our attention to news ends after reading the headline. Last week, news came that a woman from this area named Amber Vinson had been infected with the Ebola virus, and that she had flown from Ohio back to Texas, where she had contracted the virus when caring for the man who became the first, and only to date, American patient to die of the Ebola virus.

The comments on the news pages were completely absurd. People were calling her an “idiot” or “stupid” for getting on a plane when she had had contact with an infected patient – even though she took all the proper steps and precautions before getting on the plane. She contacted the CDC several times, informing them that she wasn’t feeling well. She was still cleared to fly. People panicked and made bold, inaccurate statements, as they do about most issues. Ebola is a virus that is spread through contact with bodily fluids of an infected individual, but they were acting as if it was airborne.

Everyone has the right to express his or her own opinion, and they certainly don’t hesitate to. But on virtually all news pages the comments sections are filled with “Internet doctors” or “Internet lawyers” that are just regular people behind a screen talking about issues they have only a light understanding about.

The situation in Africa is completely different than the situation here in the U.S. In the infected African nations, they do not have the healthcare facilities that we do. It’s true that there is no cure for Ebola – since research for it is not very well funded – but if an individual is recognized early on to have the virus, there are things that can be done to help them, such is the case for Amber, who is reportedly free from the virus. Out of more than 300 million people in the U.S., only one individual has become a victim of the virus, which should serve to put this issue into perspective for those who are more concerned than they should be. The individual who died had not been treated as early as he needed to be. Ebola is a concern, but facts should be read before attacking another person.