Skip to content

Psychological Plague

I keep hearing people freaking out about Ebola.

Please stop. Right now, Ebola is more of a psychological plague than a medical one. And you are helping spread the psychological plague.

And most of the things people say about Ebola are myths that have been debunked.

Let’s get some perspective:

causes of death in Africa

Virtually all of the deaths from Ebola have occurred in countries that have big public health problems, poor sanitation, and sub-standard medical facilities.

There have been 33 outbreaks of Ebola around the world in the past, and every one of them has been contained (even in those countries with big public health problems, poor sanitation, and sub-standard medical facilities).

Your chance of contracting Ebola is virtually zero. Don’t believe me? Watch the Director of Infectious Diseases at the NIH shut down the fear mongering coming from Fox News.

If you want something constructive to freak out about, how about deaths caused by drunk driving? Every year, in the US alone, more than 10,000 people die from car accidents caused by drunk drivers. That’s three times the number, in one year, in one country, than the total number of people who have ever died from Ebola in the whole world. And every one of those is preventable.

Or if you want a really easy way to prevent more than 7000 deaths in the US every year, vote out every single politician who voted against Medicaid expansion.



  1. Mountain Man wrote:

    And, if you’d like to chop off another 30,000 per year or so, vote out every politician who hasn’t got the guts to propose reasonable licensing and ownership regulations and training for people who wish to own and use guns. You can’t drive a car without a license. If you display certain types of dangerous behavior while driving (e.g., drinking), you can lose the right to drive. Should be the same with guns.

    Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink
  2. PatriotSGT wrote:

    IK, I agree completely. But news people can’t sell advertising if nobody’s listening. So lets target advertisers who support the fear mongering since it’s their dollars that ultimately drive the frenzy.

    Mountain Man – It is similar with guns. If you commit a crime (felony) you lose your right to own one, permanently.

    The problem with comparing cars to guns is two-fold.

    First, gun ownership is a right granted by the constitution (like it or not). However, a drivers license is a privilege granted by a State not a right.

    Second, there are way too many instances where people have been convicted of DUI/DWI offenses repeatedly and been allowed to drive again. So we don’t really want to carry that over to gun ownership.

    The number of crimes committed by registered guns being used by their legal owners is small (so small in fact it’s not a statistic discoverable anywhere, but the best # I saw was “a fraction of 1%”). I’m also guessing its way smaller then the number of crimes committed by registered owners of legal cars. When illegal gun crime is conflated with legal gun crime is distorts the reality. Since vehicles are used in the commission of a crime, should we require FBI checks on owners and drivers and double fees for registering a car or getting a license to deal with the criminals who use cars? Should we punish responsible legal owners of cars like people want to do with firearm owners?

    Many states do have reasonable gun laws, some have unreasonable laws including making it too easy or too hard to legally own a firearm. If residents of states want to change their laws they should speak to their state legislators and if they don’t listen they should replace them.

    The problem with guns is not legal ownership, it’s keeping guns out of the hands of criminals who illegally possess them. So lets tackle that problem

    Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    What? I think this is a bad use of statistics.

    Ebola is a disease. A lot of things on this list can be addressed by personal behavior, get fit, see a doctor, reduce your chance of stroke or heart attack.

    We can see what Ebola does in other countries, there is no treatment, there is no test. It also has a relatively long incubation period, once people start coming down with it, it becomes easier to get.

    Using similar statistics, Polio has killed about 1000 people per year since the US began, not to mention the multitude crippled for life. We should start vaccinating people now!

    Another bad statistic: there have been 0 deaths in the US in the past, so 3 represents approximately a gazillion percent increase.

    I hope it isn’t too late to hear your response. I normally agree with everything you say, but this time I think you’ve really missed the mark.

    On NPR last Friday (Science Friday), a disease researcher suggested that we do need to take this very seriously, as our medical infrastructure won’t be of help with neither treatment nor even a test for the disease. She predicted that without a test, we could be seeing 1,000,000 cases in 6 months. It spreads too easily and our society is way too mobile to contain it easily.

    Monday, October 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Permalink