20 Oct '14

News Panic: the dangerous epidemic sweeping an Ebola-fearing US

The fact that a school principal has been to Zambia (2,000 miles from west Africa) is not a good reason to keep your children homePanic is less a side-effect of Ebola than its own sort of infectious disease, spread by misinformation and fear, a sickness that frays and tears the ways people usually get along. Hysteria shuts down schools and airports, paranoia undermines health workers and law enforcement, and fear encourages some of peoples worst instincts. As of Monday, theres a lot more panic in the US than Ebola.In Strong, Maine, an elementary school put a teacher on leave because she travelled to Dallas for a conference and stayed in the Hilton Anatole exactly 9.5 miles away from the hospital where two nurses contracted the virus. The school board said parents feared the teacher could have contacted someone who contacted the nurses, or maybe someone who contacted someone who contacted one of the nurses a rationale that would have fenced Maine off from Dallas, even though dozens have been declared healthy there. Continue reading...

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