Governor Deval Patrick and I finally agree on something. It has taken almost 8 years but it is finally there. Can we please "tamp" down the reports on the Ebola virus? This has literally gotten to the point where I am not even turning my television on because that is all I hear about. Since Gov. Patrick said those statements to a reporter on Monday, the media is blasting him for not fully grasping the urgency of the issue. He doesn't understand the urgency??
On Monday night, after Gov. Patrick made those comments, Fox 25 News at 10 spent the first ten minutes of its broadcast on the "scare" at Logan Airport where five passengers were removed from an Emirates flight from Dubai by people in Haz-Mat suits because they were ill the entire flight, roughly 14 hours. They were brought to a local hospital and declared Ebola free, they had flu like symptoms. Two studio hosts, one special reporter on set, one reporter at Logan and one reporter at the hospital to report on 5 people that had the flu. They may as well park themselves outside every public schools nurse's office between now and March because Ebola may spread like wildfire.
The Ebola virus is scary, no doubt. I read the book "The Hot Zone" when it came out in 1995 and watched the movie "Contagion" last year. It is real, it is scary and people want to know more, I get it. But reporting about every person who has the symptoms is a little overkill because it presents the same symptoms as the common cold.
Here are a few facts about Ebola that everyone should know. I pulled these from WebMD and the CDC websites. It is no more contagious than any other cold, flu or measles. It spreads through contact with skin or bodily fluids. Ebola care takers are at an extremely high risk, for example the nurse in Dallas who contracted the disease when tending to man who died from it. You can’t get Ebola from air, water, or food. A person who has Ebola but has no symptoms can’t spread the disease, either. Then there is the customary touching of needles and contaminated surfaces. Symptoms are fever, headache, muscle pain, sore throat, weakness, stomach pain, lack of appetite and vomiting. If you already knew this, then stop watching the news because they are not giving you any of this information
With cold and flu season upon us, it is possible that this could get worse. I understand that the world we live in now is that if they don't report it, someone else will. Unfortunately, that theory has led to the large amount of irresponsible reporting going on in the world. Rapidity trumps certainties. Brevity is the key to good communication, but it needs to be factual. In a story, with such a large audience looking for answers, facts needs to trump speed.
If you don't take it from me, ask my wife