This will appear in the Bernice Banner, Bernice, Louisiana, USA Week of 10/20/2014

Western Africa is facing an epidemic of catastrophic proportion. Today almost ten thousand people from Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leon have been diagnosed with Ebola. The survival rate has been identified as high as 50% and as low as 30%. It is anticipated that by the end of 2014 as many as ten thousand new cases will appear every week.
The press has picked up on this and in many cases has sensationalized the story to the point that we would think that America is in the middle of an epidemic as bad as Western Africa. What we need is caution, not panic; logical response, not paranoia; astute reporting; not sensationalism. Sensationalism can lead to bad choices and panic.
The fact is that the United States is not Africa. Africa has a horrible disease and this must be treated in Africa and it must be contained in Africa. We have the greatest medical services in the world and as good as this is we have made mistakes recently. What we have done is that we have recognized our mistakes and immediately corrected them. Some of these mistakes have bordered on stupidity but some decisions were based on information that was not totally understood.
There is a lot or misrepresentation about banning flights from infected countries. Many individuals that are against it say that it will interfere with humanitarian efforts. This is not so. Special humanitarian flights can easily be arranged to move humanitarian workers in and out of the country and if necessary utilize military air craft. What is important is that we secure boundaries from potential danger. As bad as I feel that America, the lighthouse for the oppressed, must shut down flights from West Africa, it needs to be done. The entry of one individual with Ebola has spread fear throughout a country that today is safe from the disease; however, it is the role of government to protect its’ citizens and if there is a potential for danger then the danger must be eliminated.
Some radio commentators have claimed that we are not sealing the borders so that Ebola will enter the country. As bad as the feelings are between rival political factions I cannot imagine any government condoning such an action. This is the type of sensationalism that leads to panic and it is sensationalism that must stop. We do have a potential problem but it will take level heads to think through each challenge that Ebola will bring to us. Exaggeration will only compound our problems. Many say that most Africans could in through Europe. In our modern computer run world we have the ability to see if a person originated their flight in Africa as well as tell when the individual left Africa.
It is important that we attack the problem at the source and this source is right in the heart of darkness, the Ebola killing fields of Western Africa. We must build an efficient force of world governments and health care organizations and move an army of aid workers into Africa. Organizations such as the World Health Organization, America’s Center for Disease Control, Doctors Without Borders and world governments must move on this quickly and control the epidemic and minimize death, suffering and disease expansion. Speed is of major importance. Not only do we need to save lives but diseases have a possibility to evolve into a more dangerous strain. We need to kill it before it morphs to a more lethal strain that is easier to transmit.
While we are securing our borders and stopping the entry of the virus and while we are treating the disease and controlling the spread in Africa, we must pull out all stops developing vaccines and advanced treatments for the disease. The time to test a medicine before deploying it to the general population must be reviewed and this time testing time must be cut short if the risk of putting out a bad drug is not as great as a world epidemic such as Ebola.
While the world comes together to stop this devastating disease, it is important that everyone keeps a level head, not panic and the press needs to provide truthful unbiased coverage of the disease.

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