Why New York needs to nip the Ebola buzz in the bud.
When it was announced that the Ebola virus had landed in New York City last week, I, like a lot of New Yorkers, got a little nervous.
I didn’t get nervous about the health risks to me or my family, to be honest. I got nervous about what could happen to the businesses of New York City that depend on people coming to this fair city.
See, I knew enough about Ebola to know that while life threatening, the chance of it spreading via this one patient zero was incredibly low. But unfortunately, not everyone knows that. And not everyone cares to learn.
And in post 9/11 New York City, people don’t need much of a reason to go turn in their tickets to The Big Apple and go to Boston or Chicago or somewhere warm instead.
So when it’s all over the global news that someone in our fair city has a contagious disease that has killed thousands around the world? You can bet that some people close the doors, seal the windows, and stay home instead of making the trip.
And for a business like Broadway, whose hundreds and hundreds of employees depend on tourists coming to town, that kind of fear can be, well, deadly.
That’s why it’s essential for New York City to assure the world that this virus is not as contagious as people think, to explain that it can be treated, and to make sure everyone knows that we’re taking all the precautions necessary to make sure others who may have been in “hot zones” are thoroughly examined before being allowed to mix and mingle with the rest of us.
(So here comes the controversial part . . . )
And if that means that we quarantine those heroic health workers who chose to go overseas to help those folks tragically dealing with this disease, well, I’m all for it. While I’m sorry for the inconvenience that the nurse in New Jersey had to deal with by staying a few days in quarantine as she was evaluated before returning home, she has to remember that we’re fighting a health crisis and a publicity crisis at the same time. These extra steps not only help eradicate any potential outbreak, but they also help give the public more confidence that the streets and the air are safe. And was it really that inconvenient? That difficult? To someone who could survive the conditions and situations working overseas?
I have so much respect for medical professionals who put their lives at risk for the sake of others.
And my heart goes out to all those suffering with this dreadful disease (and any disease for that matter).
But these types of stories have several types of potential victims. And in this case, fear can be more contagious than the actual virus itself.
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