EJ Montini at azcentral.com counsels calm in face of false information spread by fear-mongers. Fear-monger in chief: John McCain.
[Relative to Ebola] it's much more likely that we'll all die from heart disease, or cancer, or flu, or pneumonia, or Alzheimer's disease or any number of other maladies from which most people die.
Still, it would be helpful for our major political figures to offer reassurance. That hasn't happened. I noted earlier that on CNN over the weekend Sen. John McCain questioned the government's approach to the Ebola crisis, saying in part, "I don't think we are comforted by the fact that we were told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States, and obviously that's not correct."
The Pulitzer-Prize winning website PolitiFact.com evaluates the claims politicians make and gauges them on a "truth" scale. Of McCain's comment, it wrote: "Based on public statements, Obama and CDC officials have repeatedly said there's a chance an Ebola case could appear in the United States… We rate McCain's claim False."
It's worse than false. It's fear-mongering.
Unfortunately, that particular virus continues to be spread by politicians and (to be honest) the media. And there is no vaccine.
The real worry is what the uncontrolled spread of the disease will do to the African continent. Vox.com reports on the World Bank's estimate of what Ebola will cost West African countries.
The World Bank, in a report released October 8, estimated Ebola could cost West Africa as much as $33 billion over the next two years if it spreads unchecked. The Economist charted the possible effects, indicating that Ebola could cost Liberia up to 12 percent of its GDP, which measures a country's economic output. In comparison, the Great Recession caused US GDP to drop by 5.1 percent from December 2007 to June 2009.
And that is on top of those countries' reduced ability to deal with other health needs.