In the summer of 2005 I was living in Spain as I watched the Katrina train wreck in slow motion, all the while thinking: they know what is going to happen, why aren’t the people being evacuated? Of course tragedy ensued and we saw what happens at the crossroads of a natural disaster, apathy, poverty and incompetence.
Now as Ebola has made its way to American its deja vu all over again. I realize that we, as the world, have basically abandoned Africa – it’s a failed continent and there is no point in doing anything that will actually have impact, right? I know many well-intentioned groups and individuals are doing their damndest to help but nothing significant will happen until nations put the necessary powers together to overcome the inertia of the challenges that persist. So lets put Africa aside for the moment.
On this side of the pond we were told that even if there is a case of Ebola, we have these protocols – oh, you should see our protocols, you have never seen protocols as beautiful as our protocols – these protocols will stamp out the virus in its tracks. Apparently protocols only work when people follow them – what a concept! One does not need to be an epidemiologist to figure out what can happen – anyone who remembers the old Vidal Sassoon commercial knows.
Today I read that the CDC is considering asking the healthcare workers who came in contact with the patient that died to isolate themselves. Shouldn’t we just quarantine these folks by default?
This is not an overreaction. My understanding is that Ebola is a difficult disease to contract – one has to come in contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person after the person develops symptoms. But we now know that the hospital in question had no clue what they were doing and the cost of 21 days in a hotel is basically zero relative to what could happen.
So our government leaders have failed us, our medical professionals have failed us and, of course, the fourth estate is a failed estate. Seriously I don’t know if journalist are trained to be nincompoops, are willful nincompoops or just naturally nincompoops. The only people who report informative news in context are Stewart and Colbert and it’s not because they are brilliant in every subject, it’s because somewhere along the line in their formal and informal education they were taught or learned to think critically – weighing the value of one fact against another.
Meanwhile back at our African ranch, Ebola is spiraling out of control. Our excuse for Rwanda was that it happened too quickly for us to respond – how will we explain this one away?