Real Talk: You Might Get Ebola, and Zombies Might Take Over the World

November 13, 2014

Opinion, The Zoetics

The Catalyst presents “Real Talk,” written by columnist Quinton Valencia, an 11th grade scholar who has a distinctive outlook on current events, The Broncos, and communism. He will be writing twice a month about the media’s stupidity, radical ideology, and his favorite cat, Maggie.

By Quinton Valencia

As of late, Ebola has been a hot issue spurring debate and controversy. It is important to understand that only four cases have been identified in the United States. However, people are most afraid of the symptoms: fever, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, advancing to vomiting, diarrhea, rash, impaired kidney and liver function, ultimately resulting in internal and external bleeding. The survival rate is at a 50% average, but this is within the various third world countries, meaning that survival rate is possibly much higher in more developed countries, such as the U.S. Also, the media has so gracefully blown the issue out of the water —  in reality only four countries in Africa have been severely affected.

The threat of Ebola is very much a scary thought, but we are not on the verge of a global pandemic. It has been documented through history that humans survive scary diseases (smallpox, bubonic plague, Spanish influenza). Ebola is treatable, with a vaccine soon to be released, and already being handled by the agencies such as the World Health Organization and the CDC. To put it bluntly, worrying about a massive Ebola outbreak is like worrying about a zombie apocalypse; it could happen, but it probably won’t.

The spread of hysteria has been more effective than the actual spread of the disease itself. It is quite amazing how much attention Ebola has received, whether it be through discussion, or the media doing yet another report on it. Ebola is scary, but there are no active cases in the U.S. as of now, and the CDC has done an excellent job of monitoring the disease and trying to keep the public calm despite the unending coverage on it. Reporting about the disease and trying to help the public understand it has been ineffective in calming the masses. If one was to turn on the television, I guarantee that a story on Ebola would be brought up.

It is somewhat entertaining that the word “Ebola” has spread faster than the disease; it has become a common discussion point, whether at school, home or any other place that conversation may exist. It is also interesting that this is the first disease that Americans have actually expressed wide spread concern about, something that many other diseases have failed to do, despite having similarly dangerous outcomes. In reality, deadly diseases are always around us. American’s fascination with this one in particular is probably because it is a word that everyone can pronounce and sound intelligent while speaking about its ambiguous symptoms and low survival rate. That’s a journalist’s dream.

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