Washington Post: You Silly People Just Need To Relax Regarding Ebola

This editorial by the Washington Post Editorial Board is a doozy, essential telling people to not be hysterical, to not worry, to stop being so panic-stricken. The web front page headlines it as “Keeping calm on Ebola”

Keeping an even keel at home on Ebola

THE EBOLA tidal wave is still flooding West Africa, running ahead of all efforts to contain it. This is the most urgent crisis and the one that requires maximum effort. Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organizationpredicted Tuesday that the case load could reach 10,000 a week by December. Currently, the virus has caused 4,447 deaths and infected 8,914 patients, and there is disturbing new evidence that the mortality rate is now 70 percent, higher than previously thought. An exponential leap seems possible, and the international response is still lagging — pledges are only slowly being turned into treatment centers on the ground, patients are being turned away and told to go home and there remains a desperate need for health-care workers.

I wonder if they were aware of the 2nd Texas health worker testing positive for Ebola when they wrote this?

At the same time, the outbreak of the deadly virus has sliced through American politics and the media with a vengeance. Understandably, the specter of such a dangerous disease in the United States has bred fear. But it is remarkable how some public figures are inflaming that fear. Commentator Rush Limbaugh took flight on Tuesday, saying on the radio that “I don’t think anybody involved with Ebola knows what they’re doing. I don’t care if it’s the WHO or the Centers for Disease Control, I don’t think anybody knows what they’re doing.” This was an unfounded rant that can only deepen public disquiet. By contrast, in a vote of confidence and generosity, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $50 million recently to the United Nations and governments that need the resources for emergency response to the crisis. On Tuesday, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation to help fight Ebola. These rapid philanthropic responses to the outbreak reflect the best of American ideals and values.

Interesting. They use this as a platform to Bash Rush. Interestingly, the WPEB thinks uber-rich people donating money is the “best of American ideals and values”. I thought rich people were evil in the eyes of liberals? Actually, the best of American ideals and values is to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Another is that anyone, with hard work, can achieve. Anyhow, I wonder if the EB was drunk when writing that editorial, because next we get

The arrival of an Ebola patient in Texas, followed by his death and the subsequent announcement that a hospital worker, Nina Pham, who treated him has tested positive for Ebola, has fueled dread that the disease could spread in the United States. One of the nation’s top public health authorities, CDC Director Thomas Frieden, had reassured the nation that the health-care system could handle Ebola if the virus landed here. Ms. Pham’s illness — it is still not known how she got it — has caused many to wonder, not unreasonably: Are hospitals really as prepared as officials have said? Is the system so fragile that Ebola could jump the fence in the United States?

So, the Washington Post was asking questions in the same manner as Rush Limbaugh was stating it. (BTW, make sure you read Rush’s comments in full, for context). They, and citizens, wonder, “not unreasonably”, if health officials, hospitals, doctors, administration officials, know what they are doing.

One infected person, Ms. Pham, does not constitute an outbreak. But we think Dr. Frieden and others are wise to prepare for the worst, including by making sure that hospitals across the country know what to do if a patient shows symptoms that look like Ebola and have the ability to respond rapidly and effectively. At a time of tension, the nation’s public health leaders must not overpromise.

Interesting. Are they saying that there is uncertainty as to whether hospitals across the country know what they’re doing? Strange. Even more interesting, from the WP article on the latest Texas healthcare worker to test positive, we see

Indeed, Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency regretted its initial response to the first Ebola diagnosis in Texas, acknowledging that more could have been done to combat infection at the hospital treating Duncan. He said authorities still don’t know how exactly Pham was infected–whether it involved a flaw in her personal protection gear or in the way it was used.

Nurses at the hospital, who spoke anonymously through the National Nurses Union citing fear of retribution, said that protocols at the hospital were “constantly changing” and that nurses received minimal training in infection control procedures.

“What I think we believe that what we could have done better was the oversight of the implementation of the protocols,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, speaking on CNN on Wednesday morning.

Soooooooo, nobody knows what they’re doing? We’ve witnessed one “surprise” after another with this outbreak. First the CDC was surprised at how the epidemic got out of control in Africa. Then they were surprised that a person with the disease got through their flimsy screening procedures. Then they were surprised that the hospital turned the guy away after he told them he was from Liberia. Then they were surprised that a nurse, wearing protective clothing, was infected. Now they’re surprised that another health care worker has been infected.

Don’t worry, though. Stay calm. There are 76 being monitored, and around a dozen which they are very concerned about. How many were exposed? Obviously, it is much more difficult to get Ebola. Both Ruth Marcus and Frank Bruni rightly note that the flu is much scarier in reality than Ebola. It’s considerably easier to get, and a lot more people die from it each year. Heck, people still get Bubonic Plague, otherwise known as The Black Death. But, there are treatments, cures, for both the flu and Bubonic Plague. There are lots of other diseases to be concerned about. Ebola requires fluid transfer, mostly by blood. But, there’s something about having your insides liquify, and knowing that there is a 70% mortality rate. It is also something that, at this time, is constantly within the news. And people aren’t particularly calmed by the reactions of the Obama administration, especially when Obama is playing golf, fundraising, and, really, avoiding doing the job.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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