Don’t buy into the panic

Hysteria is more infectious than any virus and Americans are experiencing a severe and dangerous outbreak. Constant media coverage and a rising death toll have left many in the United States afraid and uncertain whether the government is capable of keeping them safe from Ebola. Ebola is an imminent threat but not for Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Oct. 22 there have been 9,911 total cases of Ebola — 5,477 of those being laboratory confirmed — and 4,546 deaths in “countries with widespread transmission.”

America was not included in these statistics because the five confirmed cases within its borders — three of which originated outside the States — can hardly be labeled an epidemic.

The idea of an Ebola pandemic can be terrifying and Americans are asking, “What if there is an outbreak here? Are we prepared for a mass infection? Will our response procedures keep the virus from spreading?”

But in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea the situation is far from being hypothetical. Husbands, wives, sons, daughters, sisters and brothers are dying. In a Sept. 30 UNICEF news note, the organization estimated “at least 3,700 children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have lost one or both parents to Ebola since the start of the outbreak in West Africa.”

UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa Manuel Fontaine said, “Thousands of children are living through the deaths of their mother, father or family members from Ebola.”

Who will comfort or hold them when they cry?

The answer: no one. Their parents are dead and people will not approach them for fear of infection. Yes, Ebola is a serious problem but not for Americans.

It’s selfish to be consumed by a what-if situation in America when thousands of people in other countries are experiencing a nightmare. Instead of being consumed by the panic, do something to help those who  have a reason to be scared. Donate money to Unicef or other organizations that are sending medical staff and volunteers to help with victims of Ebola or  become a volunteer yourself.