Wednesday, October 29, 2014

why your uncle's opinion on ebola is essentially worthless

Your uncle has been listening nonstop to frightening tales of horrible deaths for weeks, and if he's sure about anything, he's sure that anybody who's been in west Africa should be quarantined for 21 days after they arrive in the US.

Your uncle is full of crap.

I know this because I know your uncle has never once submitted himself for a three week quarantine after being exposed to the flu virus; nor would he ever do so.

This, despite the fact that flu has been known to survive 17 days on banknotes.

Do you have that firmly in mind? Your uncle could catch the flu from a dollar bill 17 days after someone sneezed on it. And someone could catch the flu 17 days after one of your uncle's messy sneezes on a dollar bill.

But has the man ever submitted himself for voluntary isolation after having knowingly been exposed to someone with the flu? No, he has not, and he is not likely to do so, despite the fact that somewhere in the neighborhood of 50,000 Americans die every year from influenza and pneumonia. Not one - which is number of people who have died from Ebola in the US as of this moment - but 50,000. That's roughly the population of Greenwood, Indiana or Hoboken, New Jersey - wiped out every year by flu and pneumonia.

Your uncle demanded an Ebola Czar and now he's livid that President Obama appointed a non-medical person to the position. But what does it matter? People like your uncle who need an Ebola Czar don't believe doctors anyway. And doctors are busy this time of year, treating flu victims.

Your uncle may be a serious man, but he's not serious about this. He's just afraid. 

And people like us should maybe be afraid that, next Tuesday, people like him could cast more ballots for the cynical candidates who feed his fear than the rest of us cast for candidates who face the world as it is, not as we're incited to fear it might be.

So, yeh, get out and vote. Take a couple of friends along when you go, and vote like it matters.

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