By Imani Brammer
With a wave of fear sweeping over the nation, there has been an energy of caution, darkness and uncertainty that is looming over our heads and permeating through our thoughts. Recently, Twitter has been overflowing with such Ebola hysteria, that it has even become comedic. This is all due to the recent and very first case of Ebola in New York City. From one state to the next, many people have been plagued with terror and the silent thought of, “please don’t come here.” Unfortunately, Ebola is continuing to make its deadly rounds.
On Thursday night, New York City was plagued with its first case of the Ebola epidemic involving a Doctors without Borders volunteer, Dr. Craig Spencer, who recently arrived in Harlem from his trip in Guinea, where we was treating Ebola patients. Though Spencer has been taken to the hospital and FDNY specialists have sealed off his 5th floor apartment, a rush of panic has swept through his apartment building. According to the New York Post, Spencer’s neighbor is horrified of contracting the disease and wants to ensure that the disease does not meet him. This feeling is all too common.
However, New York Magazine is labeling Ebola fear in America as irrational and ignorant, referring to one woman who made a DIY hazmat suit to wear to Dulles Airport in Virginia. In another “extreme pre-caution” case, New York Magazine has reported that two schools in Ohio and three in Texas have opted to temporarily close the school for disinfecting, out of fear that students and parents might have come into contact with Amber Vinson, a nurse who contracted Ebola. This angst over the virus is being labeled as ignorant, but is it really?
We’ve seen numerous cases of doctors and nurses wearing proper hazmat suits yet, still contracted the disease, have taken the necessary pre-cautions to keep safe, yet still contracted the disease, and have quarantined and isolated individuals, yet, still contracted the disease. Seemingly, hand washing and hazmat suits doesn’t appear to be enough. Therefore, this irrational fear doesn’t seem that irrational. This year’s case of Ebola has been the largest epidemic in history, according to reports by the CDC. The virus has successfully spread throughout West Africa, in the past has been seen in Central Africa, and is currently extending to Europe and now, as we see it, The United States. Though in contrast to West Africa, America has far better technology and resources to handle such a disease, the fact remains that it is spreading and killing. That alone, produces totally rational and logical terror. Maybe the doctors and nurses who’ve contracted the disease weren’t “irrationally fearful” in their hazmat suits. Maybe, though Ebola victims were quarantined, they weren’t careful enough. I respect that these schools in Texas and Ohio have taken the necessary pre-cautions to ensure that their students are in good hands. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing irrational about that.