Ebolamania: Why Americans should just calm down

Updated

In America, fear is so much easier to catch than Ebola. We have a tendency to get hysterical – but the latest news about one doctor who just returned to New York and has tested positive for Ebola is not an excuse to freak out. Let’s not use Ebolamania as an opportunity to fear all of our brothers and sisters from the continent of Africa. One death in Texas does not give license to discriminate against all Africans.

MSNBC Digital Documentaries, 10/14/14, 2:04 PM ET

Ebola takes toll on NYC's "Little Liberia"

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has had outsized effects on New York’s “Little Liberia” community, with one resident losing 15 family members to the virus.
It never seizes to amaze me how contagious fear is. A story from across the globe (in some tiny West African countries that most Americans couldn’t pick out on a map) makes all of my neighbors lose control. This became abundantly clear recently when I was sitting in the park listening to my neighbors overreact to a few doomsday-style scare quotes in their newspapers. From the random sample of intelligent New Yorkers shown here, you can see how a few headlines (which were obviously written to sell newspapers) have done real damage. Friends and neighbors, please be mindful that you have to exchange blood and bodily fluids with someone to contract Ebola.

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This is just a friendly reminder that only one person treated for this disease has actually died in the U.S. By now we all have our favorite “More Americans have done X than died from Ebola” joke, so forget about wearing the biohazard mask on the subway. Don’t waste your money on those anti-Ebola supplements. There is no need to rush out and buy that full body radioactive anti-virus gear.

A grown up country like ours doesn’t need to go into a complete state of panic every day. We have to pick our crises more carefully! If you want to loose sleep at night, I can give you a list of other terrible things that are more likely to happen to you between now and the day you die. Keep calm and carry on America, for tomorrow is destined to bring you a new reason to panic.

Ebola

Ebolamania: Why Americans should just calm down

Updated