Ebola has left the building

Dr. Craig Spencer, center, is flanked by New York City Mayor Bill Bill de Blasio, left, and his wife Chirlane McCray as he leaves Bellevue Hospital after being declared free of the Ebola virus on Nov. 11 in New York. Andrew Gombert, European Pressphoto Agency

New York doctor Craig Spencer has been declared to be free of Ebola.  This was the one and only verified case of Ebola currently in the US.  The people under quarantine in Texas have been cleared, and nurse Kaci Hickox has completed her 21 day quarantine period.  This means that the United States is Ebola free for the moment.

Now that this is the case, I wonder if the media and politicians will do some self reflecting and realize that they drove the fear and paranoia over this virus much more than what was necessary.  What we needed was education and information.  Instead we got fear mongering and panic.

For the number of people we’ve had in America that were sick with Ebola, there were exactly two, TWO, transmitted cases.  The likely “worst case scenario” to date would have been the case of Thomas Duncan.

Duncan entered a Dallas hospital already sick with the virus.  At that point, he was for all intents and purposes, a vector to deliver the virus to as many people as he came into contact with.  Looking at the family that surrounded him at home, not a single person has shown any sign of having the virus.  None of the people who were in the hospital around him the time he was released and sent back home have shown any sign of having the virus.  Of all the people involved with treating him up until and after his death, two nurses contracted the virus and got sick.  Of all the people involved with cleaning the hospital or handling his body after death, no one has shown any sign of having the virus.

So, two people contracted the virus from the numerous people who have had close contact with Duncan or his bodily fluids.  This should be a sign of how difficult it is to catch this virus, but the media doesn’t care to push that story.  Politicians and other decision makers seem to have ignored this as well.  Now that the elections are done, there’s no need to incite panic to get votes.  Every politician that decided to quarantine people returning from West Africa were re-elected if they were running for office.

This is the time for the media, politicians, and all others involved to start educating people to reduce the temptation to panic and overreact.  THere are stark differences between the medical infrastructure in America and West Africa.  Even with these stories popping up on how unprepared hospitals are for Ebola, we are light years ahead of the countries dealing with this outbreak when it comes to handling people who are sick.

There’s no more need to panic people because Ebola has left the building.


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