GOOD NEWS: American Doctor With Ebola Says “I Am Recovering In Every Way”

We’ve had enough bad news this week, so I thought I’d share some good news: Kent Brantly, the American doctor who contracted Ebola in Africa while doing humanitarian work, says he’s “recovering in every way.”

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This is incredible news, since Ebola is estimated to be fatal for 90% of people who get infected. Brantly and his nurse, Nancy Writebol, were not expected to survive. The decision to fly them home to the States was controversial, to say the least. There was talk of how this would set off an Ebola outbreak in the United States, leading to chaos and mass death–a zombie apocalypse-style horror show.

Needless to say, that didn’t happen–just like it didn’t happen with swine flu, bird flu, West Nile Virus, or SARS. And that’s the more important lesson to take from this story. It’s not just about two people’s miraculous recovery from a horrific illness. It’s about mass hysteria, media panics, and the culture of fear. Yes, Ebola is a nasty virus. No, we don’t want an outbreak. But just because it’s been 90% fatal in rural Africa–where “hospitals” often lack basic medical equipment and sanitation, and where folk beliefs and superstition help spread the virus–doesn’t mean it would be here. With intensive medical care, both American patients appear to be recovering.

Bottom line: it’s okay to fear Ebola, but we shouldn’t live in fear of Ebola. Mass panics have always been a convenient excuse for stripping away Constitutional rights–and the last thing we want is an America that resembles something out of Michael Crichton’s State of Fear.

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