We are getting a lot of news about the ebola virus.
Yes, it is extraordinarily deadly and outbreaks can have a case fatality rate of up to 90 percent. Yes, it has now spread to another country, Nigeria, And triggered some fears-but, so far, no diagnoses-in New York. The death toll in Africa is now approaching 900. Yes, resources from UN agencies and the United States have been mobilized to respond. And yes, Donald Trump, not previously known as an expert in medicine and public health sent some tweets suggesting that a patient with Ebola now undergoing treatment at Emory University Hospital should be kept out of the United States.
Well, it is now time for friends of “The Donald” to send him some tweets suggesting he relax and directing him to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new infographic about ebola (see above). Local health authorities are spreading the same message.
Dr. Trump’s (it is Doctor Trump, isn’t it?) fear-mongering isn’t surprising. Disease outbreaks in the past have led people to flee their Philadelphia homes, they’ve led authorities to quarantine immigrants and members of minority groups, and they’ve propelled the stigmatization of victims. Epidemics have given rise to cockamamie ideas about how to treat victims, and they’ve allowed the greedy to take advantage of the fearful by selling them useless treatments.