Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Humanity Over Fear

The decision to bring two Americans infected with Ebola back to the US for treatment has sparked a lot of debate and triggered fear among some who think the virus is certain to break containment and lead to an epidemic in this country.  Personally, I think those who believe in this doomsday scenario have seen too many movies like The Andromeda Strain, The Omega Man and Outbreak.  They probably have found a website that show "how Ebola will spread from just one victim to the entire nation in 72 hours"--with a single red dot expanding to cover the whole US like they show in all of the aforementioned movies.

While viruses certainly pose a greater threat to mankind than global warming and income inequality, that doesn't mean those suffering from potential "super bugs" should be shunned by the rest of the world like lepers of old.  Many of the same people who are decrying the decision to bring the two American patients back here for the best treatment they could possibly get are the same people who cheer the loudest for US soldiers who are honored for their bravery in battle.  The military has a core belief: "Leave no one behind"--and countless Congressional Medal of Honor and Bronze Star winners have earned those awards for their efforts in doing just that. 

And that is exactly what the doctors at Emery University Hospital are doing here--leaving no fellow American behind.  If the Ebola is to spread--despite the great caution with which these patients are being handled--those doctors and nurses will be the first to be infected.  And let's not forget, the two patients are infected themselves because they volunteered to go to West Africa and to try and fight the virus in the field--before an infected person gets onto a commerical flight and brings it to the US without anyone knowing.

Besides, the only way we are going to figure out how to kill this virus is by studying it up-close in our own labs--not in some make-shift facility in a third-world country because we fear a potential accidental release from a research lab over here.  From the very small risk that we are taking on, there is the potential for a great discovery that will benefit billions.  I for one believe that is worth the risk.

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