Thursday, October 16, 2014

Calm the F&*k Down About Ebola Already

I thought I wasn’t going to get a chance to blog about Ebola, because I was super busy a couple of weeks ago when that first Ebola patient, Thomas Eric Duncan (may he rest in peace) showed up in Dallas and everyone started flipping all of their shit at once. And I said to myself, “This is why I’m never going to succeed as a blogger, because whenever something happens, I’m always too busy to drop everything and go for the SEO.”

But not this time, because everyone’s still freaking out about Ebola. In the past couple of weeks I’ve read more than enough statuses, tweets, threads, and comment sections to make me finally relinquish the last shreds of my hope that someday humankind will evolve beyond foam-drooling idiocy. There are  plenty of things two-thirds of Americans really ought to be freaking out about right now, including but not limited to climate change, the still-broken healthcare system, Congress, prescription drug abuse, heroin addiction, getting shot tomorrow, getting shot today, and I could go on, but you get the picture. Whenever I hear or see someone ranting about how Ebola is going to destroy this country, I mentally replace the word “Ebola” with the words “immigrants from the Third World” and it all suddenly makes a lot more sense.

The hysteria has gotten so bad that even Fox News, a media outlet not know for its calm, balanced, and rational perspectives, has had to come out and provide a calm, balanced, and rational perspective. When Fox News is telling you to calm the fuck down about something, that’s when you know you need a lie-down.

Let’s take a minute to go over a few basic facts about this situation:

This is not the movie Outbreak with Dustin Hoffman. Just because the fictional Ebola-like virus in Outbreak became airborne and killed Kevin Spacey does not mean that the real Ebola virus in the real world will become airborne and kill Kevin Spacey, or you for that matter. Movies are not real. In fact, the whole reason the writers of Outbreak had to make the fictional Ebola-like virus airborne is because if they hadn’t, it would have been a very short film indeed.

But hand sanitizer sales would have spiked after its release.

Image credit: User Dailybragger from Wikimedia Commons

You’re not going to get Ebola from riding on the same bus, plane, or train as someone who has the virus, and probably not even in the same taxi. For the umpteenth time, you can’t get Ebola unless the person is showing symptoms, and even then you have to have direct contact with the blood, sweat, saliva, urine, feces, vomit, breast milk, semen, vaginal fluids, or other bodily fluids of the person showing symptoms. The Ebola virus can survive in body fluids for about two hours outside the human body, so you’re not likely to catch it from sitting in the same chair or seat as someone who has been symptomatic. I mean, if the sick person who sat in that chair before you was literally dying and you didn’t clean the chair before sitting in it, you know, you might. But they won’t be and just calm the fuck down.

You’re not going to catch Ebola from riding one of the commercial airplanes that carried the second Texas healthcare worker from Dallas to Cleveland and back. The planes have been sterilized. I’m sorry you live every day of your life in crippling fear, but I’m not going to sit here and nod enthusiastically while you rant about how this is reason 4,957 why you’ll NEVER GET ON A PLANE EVER EVER.

No, “all of Ohio” has not been “exposed to Ebola now.” Amber Vinson was not running around the state licking people. Calm the fuck down.

Also, before you share a link on Facebook claiming that SEVEN EBOLA PATIENTS have been diagnosed in YOUR MAJOR CITY, do actually read the article and check out the site to make sure it’s not a work of poorly-judged satire. You are the reason we can’t have nice things.

You’re not going to catch Ebola from casual contact with everyday objects, including riding the bus or using a public restroom. Even if you came into contact with contaminated body fluids, the virus would have to get into your body through an orifice or a cut – it’s not absorbed through the skin. You’re American, you have Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer on your person at all times, and you’ve never sat on a public toilet seat in your life. Don’t even try to pretend otherwise.

You’re not going to catch Ebola from using exercise equipment at the gym. A person who is showing Ebola symptoms is not going to be in the gym. They’re going to be in the hospital – because, unlike most of West Africa, the U.S. has lots and lots of hospitals. I think you’re having a First World problem wrapping your head around just how sick a virus can make you.

Ebola is not a conspiracy by the Obama administration to make America more like President Obama’s native Africa. Even if Obama were secretly born in Africa, which he wasn’t, most immigrants come to this country precisely because it is different from their native countries. Shocking, I know. For the record, Kenya is not one of the countries affected by the outbreak and is currently on the opposite side of the continent. Look at a fucking map.

And while we're on the subject, Africa is not a country.

The CDC is not misinformed about how Ebola spreads and they are not lying to the public because reasons. Why would they do that? So you can die already and stop bothering them? The government wants you alive so it can keep collecting your taxes, dumbass. You don’t know more about contagious diseases than the CDC. I know you think you do, but you don’t. You think you can cure cancer with coconut oil and that it’s a good idea to just go ahead and let your kid get polio, but what you haven’t realized is that when you buy into all these conspiracy theories, you’re doing just what the tin foil companies want you to do. The good folks at the CDC did not get their credentials from a 12-year-old who’s really good at Photoshop. Calm the fuck down.

Unless you have been contacted by a medical professional and told that you, personally, may have been exposed to Ebola, then you are really, really not going to die of Ebola. You are going to die eventually, of course, but not of this. You’ll probably die of heart disease. You know what contributes to heart disease? Stress. Hint, hint.