I don't know for a fact, but I imagine that if Ebola hit London instead of the US, there would be a proportional about of alarm in London. The same would go for any other country with access to up to date news and electronic communication. Yes, news about Ebola hitting America is far more concerning to Americans than news about Ebola hitting some under developed country in Africa (where we don't exactly of swarms of news reporters who can just drive over and interview someone ). To suggest that this makes us self absorbed is pushing it a little. At least, that's the impression that I got from the article. We care about this because it is on OUR doorstep and it has the potential to sour OUR lives. Who else wouldn't feel the same way if it was on their own doorstep?
There was some suggestion too that Duncan got less attention because he was black, and that the news media ( the same folks covering the Ferguson riots) are not really interested in black people. I disagree with this. Up until Duncan died, the CDC was making it sound like everything was under control, and that Ebola in the US was no big deal. It was somewhere around that time that he died and two nurses who claimed to be following protocol got sick, that eyebrows were raised. From my perspective, it seemed likely that the CDC was downplaying the story in order to placate us. This contraction put their credibility in question.
There have been numerous comments both here and in the news media about the mayor's decisions to mandate a quarantine not being based on science. While the decision to quarantine is very aggressive, it makes logical sense. If you separate the people who might have the disease form the rest of the population for that 21 day period, then you greatly reduce the chances of them contaminating someone *should they have the virus*.
Is this "not based on science" because politicians made this decision and not doctors? Do only the decisions and ideas of doctors count as being "based on science? " The decision on whether or not to quarantine has more to do with risk management than anything else. Those politicians who made this call were not comfortable with the same level of risk that the CDC was comfortable with and took a step to curb that risk to a more desirable level. It could very well be that the folks are the CDC have much bigger balls when it comes to dealing with diseases. That does not mean that the rest of the world must accept the same level of risk.
As for my earlier comment about the doctor in NY who felt "tired", but decided to go out bowling and whatnot only to be feverish the next day, here's my source. I agree that I should have said "tired" instead of "crappy", but given the context, I think he should have known better and should have erred on the side of caution. There is no shame in adding a margin of error.http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/nyregion/craig-spencer-is-tested-for-ebola-virus-at-bellevue-hospital-in-new-york-city.html?_r=0
From the article: ( bold emphasis my own )
Dr. Spencer began to feel sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop a fever until Thursday morning, he told the authorities. At 11 a.m., he found that he had a 100.3-degree temperature and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders, according to the official.
Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.
I agree, Dr. Spencer could not spread the disease if he was not symptomatic, but by having the virus in his body and being out in public, he introduce risk.
* What if something happened to him while out in public that delayed him from getting home for a few days?
* Or if he got mugged and stabbed
* Or what if he was a less than responsible person and got so drunk that he blacked out, woke up the next morning and started puking and having the shits?
While he may be a responsible, upstanding citizen, the decision on how to manage this risk needs to take into account the fact that not everyone will be responsible and act wisely.