Ebola: Stop tweeting about it, you’re not going to die

600,000 Americans die every year of heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CIA estimates that the United States is 47th in infant mortality rates, 5.2 deaths for every 1,000 live births. The flu kills about 36,000 Americans every year, also according to the CDC.

Ebola, on the other hand, has claimed the life of one person on American soil – one. In fact, as senior Katie Owens pointed out in my history class the other day, “more people have married Kim Kardashian than have died from ebola in the United States.” And yet, every media outlet is reporting about ebola 24/7, politicians and candidates are fearmongering and spouting rhetoric, and people are tweeting non-stop about how ebola is going to kill us all.

The truth is you are not going to get ebola; it is only spread through bodily fluids which means that you must be in close contact with someone showing symptoms of ebola to contract the disease.

Don’t get me wrong. Ebola can be incredibly pervasive and deadly in an underdeveloped nation. The CDC estimates that there could be as many as 1.4 million cases of ebola in West Africa without the continued and focused help of the United States and other countries.

The cases of ebola in the United States, however, are isolated and will continue to remain isolated as long as hospitals are diligent and follow protocol, which unfortunately wasn’t the case in Dallas. In addition, President Obama has now appointed an “ebola czar” (I think we can all agree the title “czar” was a bad choice) and air travel from West Africa has been restricted to 5 airports in the United States with a quarantine period enforced for arriving passengers.

Nevertheless, politicians are taking advantage of this outbreak to gain political points, which is incredibly uncharacteristic of them. Former Senator Scott Brown said earlier this month that his “concern is with our unprotected border where people with Ebola and other infectious diseases can enter the country without being challenged,” in an awkward attempt to simultaneously show his fear of ebola and his support for increased border security. However, in his attempt to kill two birds with one stone, Brown has missed both.

My point is this: the United States should continue to supply aid to West Africa to help suppress and isolate the ebola outbreak, domestic authorities need to ensure that protocols are in place and that hospitals and airports are following these protocols, and you should stop worrying about contracting ebola.

Remember those statistics that I mentioned before? The ones about how 600,000 Americans die each year due to heart disease and the United States is 47th in infant mortality rates? There are plenty of other, more pressing issues we, as a country, need to address.

Instead of incessantly reporting about ebola, the media should start covering the rest of the challenges facing the country. Instead of fear mongering to gain political points, candidates should start talking about the real problems they plan to address after ebola is contained. And instead of tweeting about ebola, you should get involved in a cause that will actually be relevant in 20 years.

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