A delayed flight from the USA-Dominican Republic yesterday after a man joked, “I have Ebola! You are all screwed’.
Never mind the ebola-ocks.
Raymond Foley writes:
Ebola is just one more statistically insignificant nothing for us all to be afraid of
Like terrorism, child abduction, the millennium bug and SARS (remember that?) before it Ebola has now taken its place as the next big thing to be afraid of.
And we are afraid. Ebola dominates the headlines. Mammies and daddies across the country are worried that their children (backpacking in Thailand) are in mortal danger of infection. Recently an extremely well educated couple I know cancelled a trip to East Africa – thousands of miles from the outbreak on the basis that it was simply too dangerous to go. And that’s just the start of it – I even heard of school in Ireland postponing parent teacher meetings – just in case like.
It’s insane and it needs to stop.
The current outbreak began in December 2013 in Guinea. Since then it has spread to a number of neighbouring West African countries. As of now four thousand unfortunate people have died from the disease. Apologies if you knew this already and feel patronised but last week over a pint a practising GP told me death toll had actually hit 1.5 million. It has not.
Four thousand is a lot of people but let’s put that figure in context. In the same ten month period figures published by the world health organisation suggest around 35 million people worldwide will have died from heart disease, pulmonary obstructions, diabetes and stroke (all of which are to a greater or lesser extent attributable to stress, diet, and sedentary lifestyle)
So statistically Ebola is not killing many people and it’s unlikely to do so. Especially not here in the western world where more effective healthcare systems would stymie its already limited natural capacity to spread.
Tin short – YOU AND I ARE NOT IN DANGER OF EBOLA.
And yet eleven o’clock break what are we all talking about? Ebola. Ebola being on its way to Europe. Ebola already being here and some lad in Donegal who definitely has it but the HSE won’t tell us. We’re even talking about closing airports to keep Ebola infected people out.
And it’s not just ebola, it’s wolves, it’s rapists, it’s perverts and jihadis (not together) to name but a few.
Why is it that we allow our lives and in turn the societies we build be moulded by these virtually impudent threats. Why is it so much easier to be afraid of ISIS or Al Queada than to be afraid of what’s in our lunchbox?. Why is it much easier to be afraid of some daft influenza strain than the impact our energy consumption is having on the Earth’s climate and why is it so much easier to be afraid of a weird man in a white van than our kids eating crap, getting fat and playing Xbox?
Maybe it’s because lazy writers and journalists find it simpler to spin a yarn about an exotic threat than do the research and pitch the case for the more banal broadsides like sedentary lifestyles, sugar in our diet , CO2 emissions, and nicotine addiction. Maybe its reflection on an education system that discourages critical examination of this same commoditised news cycle.
Whatever the reasons we choose to be afraid of these things we find ourselves living in a society gripped by an illegitimate state of fear.
No doubt there some already scheming to sidestep my point entirely and attack my lack of humanity. Of course death, abductions and illness are real and are sad. But so is a human race getting fatter, sicker and more self destructive by the day.
Screengrab via Telegraph