This is a six part series commemorating the major events of 2014. More information can be found after the article.
Ebola was exceptionally bad in 2014 which lead to widespread fear. It was politicized, and the media spotlight was on non-stop only exacerbating the situation. People feared for their lives, and ridiculous measures were taken to calm an inflamed public.
Ebola was top of mind nearing the end of 2014 when the worst series of outbreaks in the history of ebola occurred. It has literally lead to more deaths than the combined totals of the eight worst ebola outbreaks preceding 2014.
The scare came to America some U.S. missionaries were flown in for treatment and a Liberian tourist flew to Dallas and ended up requiring treatment. The news was picking up the story and the public was in fear.
Then news came that one of the healthcare workers in Dallas had contracted ebola and America blew it’s top. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing people talking about it, seeing it on the news somewhere, or jokes being made about it. Politicians were pushing to stop allowing flights to west Africa where the worst of the outbreak was occurring, which thankfully never happened. City officials were putting people into house quarantine if they had visited certain parts of the world because they couldn’t get their way on the flights.
All told there were 10 cases of ebola in the U.S. and only two of those died from the disease. Neither of the two that died actually contracted ebola while in the U.S. To me this really speaks to the strength of our health care facilities, and the wealth of the country. It could have been bad, but it was dutifully contained. However, ebola is still around and could happen again without much warning.
But it is also a story of fear, and the control of media over what we deem is important. This could have been a non-story “The worst outbreak of ebola ever” the end. There are much worse things that we deal with on a daily and ongoing basis that take more American lives than ebola, but it is new threat and as such, the public is uninformed and is even more susceptible to fear.
And it is a story of the illusion of safety we have here in America. It’s something I’ve been contemplating for quite a while. This idea that for the most part we have control over our lives, we have a roof over our head, food in our belly, we drive to work, we get to go to concerts and exist in public spaces largely without fear of dying. But we can be at fault in believing that most of the world has similar illusions of structure and safety where in reality death and destruction is commonplace. The world and all that is in it is chaos, and with the wrong roll of the die, the life of any one of us could come to an end at any moment, and there is nothing we can do to prepare for it.
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This is one in a 6 part series designed to commemorate the various major events of 2014.
- February 7–23, 2014: Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
- Saturday, March 8, 2014: The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
- June 12, 2014 – July 13, 2014: Brazil hosts World Cup
- Saturday, August 9, 2014: Cop shoots teenager in Ferguson, Missouri
- September – October 2014: Ebola spreads fear in United States
- Wednesday, November 12, 2014: Philae Makes Earth's First Ever Landing on a Comet