Fear And Loathing In The Age Of Ebola

As usual, politicians and pundits are helping to create a climate of fear and concern about Ebola that is not justified by the facts.

Ebola Virus And Caduceus

More so than the actual threat that Ebola has posed to the United States since the day that Thomas Eric Duncan, the one disease that has spread like wildfire through the country is fear and paranoia about an unknown disease, a fear that is spread by modern technology and word of mouth and which leads people to take action that, based on all available evidence, is entirely irrational. It’s manifested itself in numerous ways over the three weeks that have passed since the first case of Ebola in the United States was diagnosed. The media, of course, has played a huge role in the affair by obsessing over every report of a potential Ebola case that has, so far at least, turned out to be a false alarm. Politicians have, of course, exploited the story for their own purposes, and the general public, while not panicking has reacted to all of this about as you might expect for people who are being bombarded by alarmist news reports and political rhetoric about a disease that has never hit American shores before:

In the month since a Liberian man infected with Ebola traveled to Dallas, where he later died, the nation has marinated in a murky soup of understandable concern, wild misinformation, political opportunism and garden-variety panic.

Within the escalating debate over how to manage potential threats to public health — muddled by what is widely viewed as a bungled effort by government officials and the Dallas hospital that managed the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the United States — the line between vigilance and hysteria can be as blurry as the edges of a watercolor painting.

A crowd of parents last week pulled their children out of a Mississippi middle school after learning that its principal had traveled to Zambia, an African nation untouched by the disease.

On the eve of midterm elections with control of the United States Senate at stake, politicians from both parties are calling for the end of commercial air traffic between the United States and some African countries, even though most public health experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a shutdown would compound rather than alleviate the risks.

Carolyn Smith of Louisville, Ky., last week took a rare break from sequestering herself at home to take her fiancé to a doctor’s appointment. She said she was reluctant to leave her house after hearing that a nurse from the Dallas hospital had flown to Cleveland, over 300 miles from her home. “We’re not really going anywhere if we can help it,” Ms. Smith, 50, said.

The panic in some way mirrors what followed the anthrax attacks of 2001 and the West Nile virus outbreak in New York City in 1999. But fed by social media and the 24-hour news cycle, the first American experience with Ebola has become a lesson in the ways things that go viral electronically can be as potent and frightening as those that do so biologically. The result has ignited a national deliberation about the conflicts between public health interest, civil liberties and common sense.

“This is sort of comparable to when people were killed in terror attacks,” said Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychology in the department of psychology and social behavior at the University of California, Irvine.

Ms. Silver studied and wrote about people who heavily consumed media after the bombings at the Boston Marathon in 2013 and “what we found is that individuals who were exposed to a great deal of media within the first week reported more acute stress than did people who were actually at the marathon.”

In his work on panic in various disasters, Anthony Mawson, a visiting professor in the School of Health Sciences at Jackson State University in Mississippi, found that while physical danger is presumed to lead to mass panic, in actual physical emergencies “expressions of mutual aid are common and often predominate.” But the threat of an illness that has infected only two people in the United States appears to have had the opposite effect, inciting a widespread desire to hide and shut things down.

“Obviously there’s fear,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in an interview Sunday on ABC. He said fear of the disease is dramatically outstripping current risks. “We always get caught when we say zero,” he said. “Nothing is zero. It’s extraordinarily low, much less than the risk of many other things which happens to them in their lives.”

In many cases, the reaction has been utterly ridiculous. Some schools in Dallas were closed in the days after Duncan’s diagnosis was originally announced because one of the students that went there had some connection to him. When it was revealed that one of Duncan’s nurses had traveled to Ohio before being diagnosed with Ebola herself, schools were closed and business was disrupted not only in Ohio but also in other parts of the country due to the fact that people had been on the same planes at Duncan, in some cases not even at the same time. More absurdly, we’ve seen examples of Ebola-related fear that just seem to show a lack of knowledge combined with a lack of understanding about how the disease is spread. A school in New Jersey kept children from Rwanda out of an elementary school after parents objected, even though Rwanda, like Zambia in the Mississippi case cited above, is nearly 3,000 miles away from the Ebola hot zone and has not had a single reported case of the disease. In Maine, a teacher who had merely traveled to Dallas was told to stay home after parents objected even though she had no contact with anyone who could have even be said to be remotely connected to the Ebola cases in that city. Even the stock market has been factoring in Ebola-related fears.

Not surprisingly, the Ebola story has also become a big issue politically, which I suppose was to be expected given the fact that it’s unfolding in the midst of a midterm election campaign where control of the Senate hangs in the balance. From the beginning, Republican politicians have been criticizing the response to the events in Dallas and using it as part of a more general attack the Administration itself. The most prominent example of this, of course, has come in the form of the calls for a ban on travel to the United States from west Africa notwithstanding the arguments made by public health experts that such a ban would be counterproductive and by others that it would be unenforceable. The travel ban issue has proven to be so seductive to politicians that it has also been endorsed by Democrats such as Senators Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen, Georgia Democratic Senate nominee Michelle Nunn, and Texas Democratic nominee for Governor Wendy Davis. For the most part, though, it has been Republicans who have been pushing the travel ban as an issue, with Senator Marco Rubio saying that he will introduce a bill on the subject when the Senate returns in November, and other Republicans talking about what would be a de facto ban by imposing restrictions on visas granted to people from Ebola-stricken countries. On the more extreme side of things, the conspiracy theories are running rampant, with people like Rush Limbaugh suggesting that President Obama wants people in the United States to become infected with Ebola as some sort of retribution for slavery, Members of Congress, Republican candidates for Senate, and others on the right raising fears about people with Ebola coming across the southern border, and even someone as normally level headed as George Will openly suggesting that the Ebola virus is airborne in the same sense that the influenza virus is even though there is no evidence for this. To a large degree, of course, much of this rhetoric is sheer political opportunism, but when it becomes the standard fare on talk radio, on Fox News, and in the ether of the blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, it’s easy to see how people start to come believing it as truth no matter how many times actual experts in infectious disease may say otherwise.

Lest you think that this is purely an American phenomenon, though, Europeans seem to be reacting similarly:

Across Europe, as in the United States, a virus that, outside Africa, has infected only a handful of people, all of them medical workers in hospitals treating Ebola patients, has stirred a wave of alarm that doctors and psychologists say reflects the insecurities of the modern mind far more than any significant danger to public health.

In Alcorcón, a town on the outskirts of Madrid where a Spanish nurse lived until she contracted Ebola virus while treating a sick priest, local businesses reported this week that their revenues had plummeted as customers stayed away. Among those hit by the scare was a hair salon where the nurse, María Teresa Romero Ramos, had gone for a waxing before she tested positive.

On Friday, Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Spain’s deputy prime minister, said Ms. Ramos, was “stable, with a slight improvement” in her condition.

In Italy, which has had no confirmed cases yet of Ebola, the organizers of an international food fair in Turin asked delegates from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia not to attend this year’s event, which opens next week. Paola Nano, a spokeswoman for Slow Food International, the sponsor of the fair, said that this was not because of any fear of contagion but only because they “might have problems getting here.”

Claudine Burton-Jeangros, a sociology professor at the University of Geneva, said that panic over the disease springs from a paradox at the heart of modern life: the more we master the world through science and technology the more frightened we are of those things we can’t control or understand. “We live in very secure societies and like to think we know what will happen tomorrow. There is no place in our rational and scientific world for the unknown.”

“Objectively, the risks created by Ebola in Europe are very small,” said Ms. Burton-Jeangros, “but there is an uncertainty that creates fear.”

The result has been a string of unfounded Ebola scares, which in some parts of Europe have led to entire buildings being sealed off and the people inside being held so they could be examined for symptoms.

As I’ve said before, on some level the fear and precautions that people are taking are understandable. Ebola is a very scary disease, especially in the strain that appears to be responsible for the current outbreak in west Africa. Historically, scientists have said that the disease has about 50% fatality rate, meaning that about half of the people who become infected will die. So far, though, the mortality rate for Ebola in 2014 has been closer to 70%, making it one of the most deadly diseases in human history. In reality, of course, a large degree of that high mortality rate is due to the conditions on the ground in nations like Sierra Leone and Liberia, the poor state of their infrastructure and health care systems, and the fact that many of the people who end up seeking and receiving medical treatment don’t do so until they’ve entered the stage of the disease when they are the sickest, the most contagious, and the least likely to survive even under the most idea of conditions. Contrast that with the United States, where we have successfully treated at least three people who caught Ebola while in West Africa and where the two nurses who treated Mr. Duncan appear from the reports that have been released to be doing well in their own medical treatment and it suggests that Ebola thrives in west Africa because it is virulent and deadly disease, but because the conditions in that part of the world are perfect for that type of disease to spread easily. None of this is to say that we shouldn’t be concerned about Ebola in the United States and Europe, of course, but looking at it from this point of view does tend to put things in perspective. Part of that perspective is that, so far, Ebola has killed exactly one person in the United States and infected two others, both of whom are health care workers who contracted it while treating him. Nobody in the general population who had contact with Duncan, or the two nurses, has shown any signs of Ebola. As we sit here today, it looks as though that will be the limit of the damage that Duncan’s infection will do in the United States. Compared to the impact of other infectious diseases, or even things such as car accidents, guns, or lightening, that’s a statistical blip.

None this means that there isn’t anything to be concerned about, of course. Ebola is a serious disease and, given the realities of international travel nations outside of west Africa need to be prepared for the possibility that it will show up in their country notwithstanding whatever precautions are made to keep it out. Over the past three weeks, we’ve also seen plenty of examples of how our own system proved inadequate to the task. For example, Mr. Duncan probably should have been admitted when he first reported to Texas Presbyterian Hospital rather than being sent home. When he was admitted, the hospital should have taken better care to make sure that its Emergency Room and other personnel were better prepared to deal with Ebola than they apparently were. The protocols designated by the Centers for Disease Control, which it is worth noting doesn’t really have any legal authority to enforce its recommendations on health care providers across the country, should have been tighter. And, of course, there ought to have been tighter control over the travel of someone like Amber Ray Vinson, although, again, its worth noting that there is absolutely no indication she actually put anyone on any of the flights she was on at serious risk of being infected. All that being said, the proper response to these developments isn’t to engage in fear mongering, finger pointing, and seeking to score political points, it is to figure out what went wrong, fix it, and try to make sure that the appropriate people will be ready if and when there is another Thomas Eric Duncan in an ER somewhere in the United States. The C.D.C., for example, has responded by updating its protocols and taking other steps, and the Federal Government has begun screening people arriving in the United States from western Africa.

Fear is a natural human emotion, but there is plenty of evidence out there to show us that the fears about Ebola that are being exploited by politicians and pundits, and being spread in some real sense by constant media coverage even though there’s not really anything new to report about, are wildly overblown. Vigilance is appropriate, as is examining the mistakes that were made and learning from them. Fear, however, is entirely unproductive and typically leads to proposals that restrict personal liberty, don’t really solve the problem, and end up having unintended consequences that make the situation worse. If it sounds familiar, that’s because it is.

FILED UNDER: Health, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. gVOR08 says:

    even someone as normally level headed as George Will

    Is this the George Will at WAPO of the campus rape controversy and constant climate denialism, or do you know some other George Will?

  2. J-Dub says:

    These people need to justify purchasing their survival kits, otherwise they just wasted $3300

    http://www.samsclub.com/sams/augason-farms-emergency-food-storage-kit-1-year-4-people/prod2411209.ip

  3. Nikki says:

    @J-Dub: @J-Dub: @J-Dub:

    So, if the situation ever becomes so dire that a kit like this becomes necessary, exactly where do these purchasers think they are going to get enough water to rehydrate all this stuff so they can consume it?

    I’d rather die in the first wave so I don’t have to suffer through the aftermath.

    Cowards deserve to get fleeced out of $3,300.

  4. Nikki says:

    I need a new mouse.

  5. Mikey says:

    I have a friend who is avoiding air travel for the next couple months “at least” because of the “risk” of catching Ebola. I tried to tell him he’s more likely to win Mega Millions and Power Ball the same day while being simultaneously struck by lightning and eaten by polar bears, but he won’t listen. Sigh.

  6. superdestroyer says:

    The Ebola discussion really is a discussion on risk communication and understanding health risks. However, since virtually everyone along the political spectrum is guilty of overstating some risks while understanding others, no one is “pure” enough to lead a discussion of risk, how to communicate risk, and how to understand risks. Maybe the Ebola reaction can be used in the future to criticize everyone else for overstating or understating risks but I doubt it.

  7. JKB says:

    Well, unfortunately, at almost every turn, the “experts” were revealed to be wrong. Asked why the PPE in Africa was so much more than that recommended here, they replied, smugly, that a US healthcare environment was different. Only it wasn’t. Two healthcare workers were infected by the patient, just like the average in Africa. So then they scramble.

    They do not inform the nurses that they’ll be grounded if they work with the patient, then don’t ground her. Then panic when her flight is revealed. Either it was a risk or it wasn’t. Freaking out and tracing all the passenger afterwards reveals the smug answers were BS.

    Not to mention, anyone with half a brain knew that leaving infected waste lying about an apartment complex for 5 days was the definition of incompetence. The reason was even better, trouble getting permits. Thus showing all the country that if death comes, it will most likely be by bureaucrat.

    All in all, the federal government came off looking like the front man for the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment. Competence wasn’t on parade, but Kevin Bacon seemed to be trying to act in charge.

    It does amaze me, here in the age of the internet, how many people are reacting to uninformed perceptions of Ebola. I suppose the destruction of education is near complete as even the most educated can’t seem to do a quick study of a topic and separate the wheat from the chaff.

  8. C. Clavin says:

    This fear-mongering is going to cost us a ton of money…and it will accomplish nothing…or worse.
    A bunch of people, like Mikey’s friend, who aren’t going to travel have an economic impact.
    People not going to restaurants has an economic impact.
    Travel restrictions have an economic impact.
    Already stocks of some airlines are down on fear of limited travel.
    Irrational fear is going to cost us a lot more than if we merely had to pay the medical bills.

  9. JKB says:

    @Mikey:

    Really, I avoid air travel because of the sexual assault, which is more likely than find a new book I want to read at Amazon.

  10. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    The experts weren’t wrong. The hospital f’ed up.
    We all know you have an anti-government fetish.
    But there is zero reason to be afraid. Try growing a pair.

  11. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    You think those are bad, you should see the impact of the myth that 1 in 5 women who attend college will be sexually assaulted. And the policies that myth is used to push that is a strong incentive for males to find alternative education.

  12. michael reynolds says:

    Here’s what kills you in the United States:

    Heart disease: 596,577
    Cancer: 576,691
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
    Alzheimer’s disease: 84,974
    Diabetes: 73,831
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
    Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518

    Most of us will die of age-related illnesses. Many of us will die tranqed up on morphine. Way too many of us will die of the toxic connection of gun and mental illness. What we will not die of is ebola.

  13. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin: But there is zero reason to be afraid.

    Really? Zero reason to fear incompetent government that will use violence to cover up the revelation of that incompetence?

    Try growing a pair.

    Whoa, is that hate speech? Sexist? Homophobic? Misandrist? Bullying? Disablist?Semenist?

  14. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    Really? Zero reason to fear incompetent government that will use violence to cover up the revelation of that incompetence?

    Don’t look now, but there are black helicopters following you.

  15. wr says:

    @JKB: “It does amaze me, here in the age of the internet, how many people are reacting to uninformed perceptions of Ebola. I suppose the destruction of education is near complete as even the most educated can’t seem to do a quick study of a topic and separate the wheat from the chaff.”

    Says the man who continues to spin himself into panic over everything that happens in the world.

  16. al-Ameda says:

    and even someone as normally level headed as George Will openly suggesting that the Ebola virus is airborne in the same sense that the influenza virus is even though there is no evidence for this.

    Frankly, news coverage was dominated by uninformed talking heads who had absolutely no direct knowledge or accurate information to impart concerning the Ebola virus and likely scenarios given our health and medical resources. George Will was one of those people.

    4 cases of Ebola on American soil, and to review the coverage, and the comments of politicians like Steve Stockman of Texas, you’d think that it was 400,000, and that Obama was purposely allowing the virus to spread because, being the politically correct president that he is, he did not want to offend African nations.

    Our collective media and political response to Ebola over the past few weeks has been a disgrace.

  17. wr says:

    @JKB: “Zero reason to fear incompetent government that will use violence to cover up the revelation of that incompetence?”

    So I guess JKB has finally given up on trying to panic people over Ebola and is now desperately flailing to find something new to be afraid of.

    But of all his panics, “there’s no such thing as rape, just sluts who want revenge,” or whatever he’s saying here, is the lamest by far.

  18. Scott says:

    We have elected officials who we chose to be leaders. They have utterly failed. Rather than using their positions to calm fears and facilitate the spread of correct information, they chose to use communication for those own purposes.

    They are beneath contempt.

    And they will get away with it.

  19. grumpy realist says:

    Not that this is helped by the news services who seem to be only interested in eyeballs….CNN and their “We’re possibly getting three people a day with Ebola into the US that we don’t know about!”

    They used to be a good news organization. Wonder what happened?

    As I’ve said before, I’m more likely to die squished by some fool texting and driving than I am by Ebola.

  20. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Well, there was an obscure video maker who was thrown in jail to cover up the governmental incompetence in Benghazi.

  21. JKB says:

    @wr: panic

    You keep using that word in a manner inconsistent with it’s definition.

    For example, look at your reaction and objectively assess, were you reacting “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior” to the point you had to strike out at those who openly discuss a topic?

    To panic is to refuse to say the name. Panic is when you get upset at the mere mention much less discussion of a topic.

  22. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    Another myth…he was jailed for parole violations related to a fraud case.
    If your world view is based on myths…then your world view is going to be mythical.

  23. anjin-san says:

    @JKB:

    Whoa, is that hate speech?

    Sounds like good advice…

  24. beth says:

    @JKB: No as part of a court ordered sentence he was ordered not to use the internet or post on you tube using an assumed name, all of which he not only did but bragged about. He broke the terms of his probation and was jailed for it. If you have to lie to prove your point, you’ve lost the argument.

  25. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “They used to be a good news organization. Wonder what happened?”

    Two words: Jeff Zucker.

  26. wr says:

    @JKB: “For example, look at your reaction and objectively assess, were you reacting “sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior” to the point you had to strike out at those who openly discuss a topic?”

    No. With loathing for someone so desperate to panic others — and so frustrated that all his previous panics turned out to be over piffle — that he’s now decided to start proclaiming that there’s no such thing as rape.

    Your party deserves you. Really, you should run for office.

  27. stonetools says:

    Fear is a natural human emotion, but there is plenty of evidence out there to show us that the fears about Ebola that are being exploited by politicians and pundits, and being spread in some real sense by constant media coverage even though there’s not really anything new to report about, are wildly overblown

    The fears are being exploited by right wing pundits and politicans for political gain, and by media networks for economic gain (right wing media do it for both types of gain). Let’s be more precise about which politicans and which media are exploiting these fears, please. It’s not “both sides do it.”

  28. rodney dill says:

    Here is a pretty good article on highly contagious vs. hard to catch. I stopped being too concerned about Ebola, after seeing the overall death toll stay at a relatively low number. (granted that 4000 deaths is still a lot of people)
    In poor sanitation and relative crowded poor countries I would’ve expected more cases and more deaths from highly contagious/easily transmitable disease in this time period.

  29. Anonne says:

    I saw this today (forgot where, darn, probably on Facebook) and it is about right.

    More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.

    Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

  30. CB says:

    @Mikey:

    he’s more likely to win Mega Millions and Power Ball the same day while being simultaneously struck by lightning and eaten by polar bears

    So you’re saying there’s a chance…?

    @JKB:

    Well, there was an obscure video maker who was thrown in jail to cover up the governmental incompetence in Benghazi.

    Jesus, dude…

    And you know what I haven’t seen, among all the hysteria and bullshit during the great Ebola freak-out? No coverage of the effort to track down and quarantine potential contacts, which looks to have been efficient and successful. This looks to me like a pretty damn complex task done pretty well, but it gets more or less ignored, in favor of Congressmen and idiots in bow ties going on about airborne Ebola and zombies. The system functions fairly well, if people actually take the time to look.

    If we had a press committed to an accounting of events rooted in some kind of reality (any kind, please!) rather than sensationalism, we might not have half the population convinced that the end times are here. But I dream.

  31. rodney dill says:

    @CB: Well said.

  32. C. Clavin says:

    @CB:
    The tracing and tracking task is probably pretty straight forward here.
    Wouldn’t want to have to do it in a third world country.

  33. grumpy realist says:

    Now that we’re officially an Ebola country, Rwanda is taking precautions against visitors from the U.S.

    Now to see how long before the screaming starts….

  34. CB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I wouldn’t overestimate the differences. It’s probably much more similar than you’d think.

  35. grumpy realist says:

    Is there something in the water in Ohio?

    I can’t figure out who I want to slap sense into more–the guy who made the joke, or the prosecutors who charged him.

  36. JKB says:

    @beth:

    and how many months had that video been on the internet until suddenly, the White House orders the man be taken into custody by sheriff deputies operating in force.

    One wonders, did they know he was in violation when the White House ordered his arrest or was is a happy find to aid the cover up?

  37. rodney dill says:

    @grumpy realist: I’d be upset, but I have a greater chance of winning the Mega Millions and Power Ball the same day while being simultaneously struck by lightning and eaten by polar bears than of visiting Rwanda.

  38. C. Clavin says:
  39. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    You can hear the black helicopters, can’t you?

  40. michael reynolds says:

    I cannot get over how weak right-wing men are. I can’t get over how un-embarrassed they are by their weakness. Not to sound too much like an old man, but in “my day” a man’s business was to be strong, unafraid, and to project that calm confidence to the world. Of course we all thought we should be John Wayne. Apparently JKB grew up hoping to emulate Roger Rabbit.

  41. wr says:

    @JKB: “and how many months had that video been on the internet until suddenly, the White House orders the man be taken into custody by sheriff deputies operating in force.”

    Well, finally some good news. It’s pretty clear that the Ebola and Isis freak-outs have failed completely when someone like JKB is forced to resorting to trying to drum up pity over the schmuck who made that video to slime the president.

  42. CB says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I stand corrected. The article makes a good case for a more proactive response from the West.

  43. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Or Dick Cheney hiding in his underground bunker and only coming out to talk to FOX News.

  44. al-Ameda says:

    @C. Clavin:

    @JKB:
    You can hear the black helicopters, can’t you?

    Black helicopters have taken on added sinister overtones since Obama was inaugurated in 2009. I personally run a duck-and-cover drill each time I hear aircraft fly over my home – one has to be prepared.

  45. jukeboxgrad says:

    JKB:

    there was an obscure video maker who was thrown in jail to cover up the governmental incompetence in Benghazi

    Try reading National Review. If you did, you would know this (link):

    … if you’re a two-time felon who is out on parole and told not to use an alias in business dealings or use the Internet and then you lie to reporters at the AP and WSJ using your alias and admitting you used the Internet, then what do you think is going to happen?

    The GOP is tough on crime except when it’s not.

    And Obama and Clinton blamed the video because the video was to blame. Link.

    how many months had that video been on the internet until suddenly, the White House orders the man be taken into custody

    The video was posted on YouTube on 7/2/12. It was relatively obscure until it was seen by millions on Egypt TV on 9/8/12. Less than 48 hours later there were massive riots in Cairo. This is documented in many news reports. The video triggered riots in about 30 countries, causing at least 30 deaths. Link.

    Authorities did not know about his video and the related probation violations until he and his video became international news.

    when the White House ordered his arrest

    “The White House ordered his arrest” is a lie, and you’re a chronic liar.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    @rodney dill: I’ve got a friend in Rwanda who runs a school there and have been promising to go visit.

    Think I’ll wait until after the hysteria has died down….

  47. michael reynolds says:

    @jukeboxgrad:
    Of course you know you’re wasting your time. JKB’s programmed by Roger Ailes and will have no interest in facts. It’s best just to understand that these people are equivalent to Scientilogists. A few will escape the cult but most are happy to surrender their higher brain functions.

  48. steve says:

    “Well, unfortunately, at almost every turn, the “experts” were revealed to be wrong. Asked why the PPE in Africa was so much more than that recommended here, they replied, smugly, that a US healthcare environment was different.”

    Nope. They were following the WHO guidelines. The other available guidelines were from MSF. Both groups have had some failures. Both groups seem to think those were likely caused by breaks in protocol. We still don’t know why the 2 nurses here got sick. We really don’t know if the guidelines were at fault. However, we do know that the guidelines we are using at our specialty centers seem to be working, so it is reasonable to change, which they have done quickly. In particular, I have to think that since we are more aggressive in our treatments, patients in Africa don’t get intubated, adding the respirator is a good idea.

    As an aside, though I doubt you will care since it seems to be about the politics, I have not done real pt care in a full PPE like the CDC now recommends, but I have done it in chem gear. It is difficult. It is hard to see and hard to move precisely. In general, the more restrictive the suits, the less well you see and can function. They are hot (really hot in Saudi Arabia). When wearing the more restrictive suits there are usually trade offs, like not being to see so well so maybe you risk sticking yourself more. Maybe you need to change more often. In retrospect maybe they should have gone with the MSF rules, but there was no way to know that ahead of time.

    Steve

  49. Tyrell says:

    Well they have made conflicting statements and done some confusing things that have people wondering if they know what they are doing. They have said that it is perfectly safe to travel, then say they are trying to track down hundreds of people who may have flown with a possible ebola carrier. It would relieve a lot of people if travel to and from the ebola countries was restricted, and limited to special planes.

  50. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I cannot get over how weak right-wing men are. I can’t get over how un-embarrassed they are by their weakness. Not to sound too much like an old man, but in “my day” a man’s business was to be strong, unafraid, and to project that calm confidence to the world. Of course we all thought we should be John Wayne.

    I think this is the second time I have read your manliness screed, and it rubs me the wrong way each time. Not that these people like JKB aren’t basking in their cowardice, but that your little manliness screed suggests that strength and bravery (or just common sense in most cases) are somehow male traits, that women can never have.

    I’m sure that’s not your intent, but that’s what it comes across as to at least this reader. Far below your usual level of excellence, etc.

    Also, if you watch the John Wayne HUAC movie, where he’s hunting down the communists in Hawaii who are hiding behind their “rights”, you would see that he was a bit of a bed-wetter. (I think it was “Big Jim McClain”, but I might be mixing meaningless movie titles)

  51. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    You think those are bad, you should see the impact of the myth that 1 in 5 women who attend college will be sexually assaulted. And the policies that myth is used to push that is a strong incentive for males to find alternative education.

    Wow. You actually managed to turn my stomach a little bit. You’ve managed to go from bed-wetting fear monger to men’s rights activist. Not a good turn of events.

    May I suggest you start learning about sexual transmitted diseases from some wild, sensationalist source? It would be nice to think that your genes never spread because of your fears of catching something.

  52. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    They have said that it is perfectly safe to travel, then say they are trying to track down hundreds of people who may have flown with a possible ebola carrier.

    Those actions are not in contradiction.
    One is a statement of fact based on the previous track record.
    The other is tracking current performance of the virus…and an abundance of caution. Frankly…if they weren’t tracking contacts I would be worried. That is the primary mode of containment.

  53. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t think that’s fair.

    1) Are we to be forbidden to reference actual events, actual points of view and actual previous (childhood) beliefs because they are no longer politically correct? In fact I was raised that way, most men of my generation were. I was also raised to be casually contemptuous of gays. Should I deny it? I much prefer to be open and honest, both about my current beliefs and prior ones. That’s historical reality, I’m not presenting it as a guide to current events.

    2) In previous comments I made the point that it was largely women caring for ebola patients. I didn’t feel the need to reiterate what should be obvious to anyone who has read anything I’ve ever written on this site.

    3) You know all those strong female action leads you see in YA books and movies? I’m one of the originators of the concept. Odd fact: I’ve written more books as a woman than I have as a man. (Various pseudonyms.) And I’ve publicly said that probably my most autobiographical character is a 16 year-old Asian girl.

    4) I specifically framed this is a self-mocking “old man” way. It was clearly satire. It was a joke, dude, a little dig at JKB on the assumption that he’s much of an age with me. It was not a sex crime.

  54. Gustopher says:

    @C. Clavin: Also, it is a good dry-run for tracking, even if it is being done with an over abundance of caution.

    The Texas hospital screwed up because they weren’t prepared. This helps prepare the CDC if there is a case that really requires it.

  55. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: As I said, I am sure you didn’t mean that women can’t be strong.

    It rubbed me the wrong way twice, that all I know. Maybe I am too easily rubbed the wrong way, or maybe I am just flat out wrong. Or maybe just I hate John Wayne.

    Or maybe the satire gets lost a bit when there’s the spot on point that a lot of conservatives have gone from idolizing a quiet, determined strength to panicking at every provocation.

  56. grumpy realist says:

    @Gustopher: If you can’t stand Marion, let me sit down besides you. Yet another big chest thumper with a great difference between the roles he played and who he was.

    My man of quiet courage? James Stewart. An actor who flew actual missions and was awarded a Croix de la Guerre.

  57. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    No problem dude.

    I think sometimes I assume people here know who I am and what I do. I should probably not assume that. Let me put it this way, after 150 books absolutely no one who knows my work thinks I’m even remotely condescending to women. My readers are probably 60% chicks.

    Kidding with the “chicks.” Kidding.

  58. Gustopher says:

    @michael reynolds: Actually, I was entirely and completely literal when I wrote “I’m sure that’s not your intent” — I’ve read enough of your comments to be sure of that, I know of your books, etc. And usually your comments are carefully crafted, saying exactly what they mean to say and implying exactly what they mean to imply. Honestly, the only things that saves some of the posts here are the comments, from yourself and a few others.

    Maybe I am just over-sensitive, but at the same time… I have a friend who I worked with, and he slowly developed a habit of saying “we don’t just want a solution, we need a final solution so we don’t have to do this again”. He was eventually horrified to discover he was referencing Hitler slaughtering the Jews. So, I figured I should pipe up this time in case I wasn’t being over-sensitive.

    Anyway, carry on.

  59. wr says:

    @Tyrell: ” It would relieve a lot of people if travel to and from the ebola countries was restricted, and limited to special planes.”

    It would relieve a lot of people if all black males between the age of 13 and 53 were locked in prison to keep them from becoming criminals. All that means is there are a lot of stupid, scared people who are willing to inflict any kind of punishment on others in order to give themselves one less thing to be scared of. We don’t cater to them — at least, until the Tea Party took over the Republican Party.

  60. Mikey says:

    @Gustopher:

    Or maybe just I hate John Wayne.

    http://youtu.be/-uv_WGEHr4I

  61. sam says:

    JKB is not saying “Ebola because…Benghazi” is he?

  62. grumpy realist says:

    Doug, I highly recommend this article over at alicublog. Jonah Goldberg trying to raise the fear factor and managing to screw up, as usual.

    In other words, JG can’t even get THAT right.

    Oh, and read the comments. They’re hilarious.

  63. al-Ameda says:

    @sam:

    JKB is not saying “Ebola because…Benghazi” is he?

    Why yes, yes he is.
    And, to be honest, he was pretty adept at getting to that point too. Speaking of Benghazi: How long will it be before Darrell Issa initiates a House investigation into the Obama Ebola Conspiracy (whatever THAT is)?

  64. Tyrell says:

    @wr: “You got a point there, judge”

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    Hah! Yeah, I’m going to say “final solution” is one of those phrases that’s just gone from normal human conversation. I fell into a habit of likening unpleasant things to the Bataan Death March and then realized wait, no, still too soon. Maybe another 50 years. Someone needs to write a paper on the amount of time that can pass between atrocity and casual reference to same. I think the Huns are in the clear now, Vikings too, Nazis nope.

  66. wr says:

    @Tyrell: Yes. You?

  67. jukeboxgrad says:

    Michael:

    you’re wasting your time

    Of course I agree with your point about JKB being immune to facts, but I don’t really look at it that way. I often say that people like him provide an inadvertent public service because they help create a learning experience for a lot of silent observers, by so vividly demonstrating conservative ignorance and dishonesty. He does this superbly and I count on him to keep up the good work.

  68. humanoid.panda says:

    @wr: Be careful, I am pretty sure Tyrell (or, more likely the troll persona he affects) is quite likely to agree with your hypothetical.

  69. wr says:

    @humanoid.panda: Nah, that’s more JKB or John425 style…
    Tyrell’s schtick is much more “In my town, moms always wear pearls and heels to make breakfast before they send their children to school to learn their ABCs. And then we all stop at the Malt Shop on the way home. One family down the street just got a new TV and it’s in color!”

  70. C. Clavin says:

    @wr:
    And the only doctor in town makes house-calls and takes chickens in trade.

  71. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: And you can be either pig or pork.