Ebola is making millions of Americans sick.
No, they’re not contracting the virus, which has killed thousands of Africans in the worst outbreak in history.
I’m saying people are sick of the breathless reports and fear-mongering pronouncements from politicians, cable news outlets and talk radio hosts.
The fact is that in a country of 300 million people, only two have actually become infected here in the United States (due to poor protocols at a Dallas hospital). Two others (one of whom died) developed symptoms here after visits to West Africa.
A few other patients were brought here for treatment after developing symptoms overseas. At the Omaha, Atlanta and Maryland hospitals where those patients were treated (and where the two Dallas healthcare workers have been hospitalized), no healthcare workers have contracted Ebola. The government built special units at these hospitals to handle contagious patients in a post-9/11 effort to prepare for possible biological attacks.
Also: No one the Dallas patient was with before he was hospitalized has become ill. That says something about how hard it is to spread this virus – unlike, say, influenza.
Meanwhile (here comes the Iowa angle), an Ames company has been in the headlines for its work on an Ebola vaccine. Iowa press coverage of NewLink Genetics has largely tracked the company’s plans to get the vaccine into human trials. It’s rarely gone beyond a single source: NewLink.
Reports outside the state, however, have been more critical. NewLink denies it, but some say the company has purposely delayed the trials while Ebola spreads in Africa and people die.