It’s very good news that the stricken aid workers and doctors brought back to the United States for ebola treatment have responded well to the experimental drugs they were given. But after weeks of assiduously downplaying the scale of the threat paused by the African ebola outbreak, it’s a bit jarring to hear one of President Obama’s special assistants – Gayle Smith, senior director at the National Security Council, no less – declare, “This is not an African disease. This is a virus that is a threat to all humanity.”
Wait, what? The official line for the past two months is that it was strictly an African disease, no real chance it’s going to spread, so quit worrying about it. Anyone who fretted about the spread of ebola beyond Africa was dismissed as paranoid.
One of the reasons for the outbreak of ebola anxiety was the general lack of public confidence in this post-VA, post-ObamaCare era of Big Government incompetence and dishonesty. Whatever the virulence of ebola might be – it’s not terribly infectious compared to some of the plagues humanity has defeated, and its spread in Africa is largely a consequence of poor health conditions and limited resources – but it’s got a huge psychological threat profile. It’s horrible, and people are scared to death of catching it, especially since it seems to be winning against the combined might of global health authorities. The African crisis is far worse than we were originally told. The Associated Press reports that “many on the ground have said there aren’t enough protective suits for health workers, who have become infected in large numbers in this outbreak.”
I don’t think there’s much serious concern about some “Andromeda Strain” / “Walking Dead”-style ebola pandemic breaking out in the United States, but even a relatively small number of cases here would be extremely unnerving, not to mention hideous for the people directly affected. What makes this such a haunting dread is the certain knowledge that our government will be less than honest with us about any domestic outbreak that occurs, and will be less than supremely competent at dealing with the situation. Nothing seems to be under control these days.
As far as disease threats go, it would be more logical to worry about bubonic plague, which also offers a hideous death, spreads much faster than ebola… and was discussed as a possible bio-weapon in hidden files on a captured ISIS laptop.