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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  • Carvanpool says:

    There is a publicity crises. It’s about how insane the Ebola quarantine policy of NY and NJ is.

    Buying into the stupidity will last longer than the “Ebola Crisis” will. NY can now be known for cringing in fear at the behest of politicians and other non-scientific morons.

    Nice going.

  • Kevin Davis says:

    Ken, I think it is tragic that your support for quarantines is considered controversial by many. Although, it may be difficult to catch that disease, the overarching issue is that every thing must be done to protect us from a disease that we don’t fully understand yet. Since we do know the disease needs a 21 day incubation period, it is proper and humanitarian to isolate exposed individuals during that time frame. It is the best way to protect the community at large. Difficult yes – controversial no!

    • Carvanpool says:

      We know a great deal about it, how it’s transmitted, and how it’s not. We also know that Christie and Cuomo are political animals that will do what ever is poll driven, no matter what the science says.

      How many cases of transmitted Ebola in the USA during this “crisis”? Two, in a Texas hospital that was ill equipped, untrained, and inept.

      Don’t be any more ridiculous than the situation already is.

  • Rich Mc says:

    I agree with Ken 100%. All U.S. MD’s, healthcare workers and soldiers returning from treating or otherwise assisting Ebola victims in West African countries should be subjected to mandatory quarantine for 21 days, that is, isolated from all contact with non-protected medical personnel for this period. This disease has a 70% fatality rate for contactees in Africa, and while this rate may be lower in the U.S. (better treatment/facilities) it remains a potentially deadly health threat to Americans, and to our economic well being if proper preventative measures aren’t taken, and widespread panic ensues.

  • Bob says:

    The nurse kept boo-hooing about her civil rights were violated. She wasn’t gunned down by police. She wasn’t arrested because of her skin color. She was put in quarantine because she went to Ebola Land. It’s great that she cares about people but she should have also been concerned about spreading a deadly virus to American citizens.

    We need to do everything we can from stopping the disease from spreading here. We’ve seen how healthcare workers in hospitals, who follow guidelines, get the virus: http://www.cnn.com/2014/10/28/health/us-ebola/index.html

    We’ve also seen health care professionals, under voluntary quarantine, care about containing the virus:

    Why take precautions? Let’s all go out and hug someone with ebola….

  • David says:

    The truest statement you made was that fear can be more contagious than the disease itself. Beyond that most of the rest was totally ridiculous and doing what your recommend creates fear rather than eliminates fear. There are many facts about this disease. While the one person who has actually died had close contact with many people before he was hospitalized and he transmitted it to 0. There is only one active case right now in the US and of all that have been diagnosed, the number of deaths is 1. I heard tonight that of about 3500 health care workers with Doctors Without Borders in Africa exactly 3 have gotten ebola working with patients. There have been 23 of their workers who have gotten ebola but the other 20 were local residents who got it from others not their patients. More people will die of the flu in NYC in the next month (probably the next week) than will get ebola in the next year. Putting healthy people in quarantine only sends the message that they really could spread the disease if they had it, which is not true and only spreads the fear. The fact that all of the health professionals who have gotten the disease and been treated in this country none have died tells us the disease is not as deadly when treated as the numbers from Africa suggest. The issue is that the third world is not equipped to deal with this, and we need to focus on solving the problem there not getting hysterical here. Yes hysteria will hurt tourism and even Broadway (though I do believe the Broadway audience is more intelligent and better educated than the masses that buy into this bullshit), but when you go along with the idiot fear mongering political hacks, you are only perpetuating the idea that we should really be terrified of this and hide in our homes. The unintended consequence of this is also that health workers will not volunteer to go help deal with the real problem, as while they may be willing to give a month of time, they won’t be able to give and extra 3 weeks to please the wing nuts. The idea that this will make the public more confident isn’t even true, because people who are that terrified of something that doesn’t exist will remain terrified no matter what. The news media will see to that. So Ken get a grip, deal with reality, and start spreading the word that there is no crisis, and if you are going to die in NYC it will be of something other than ebola.

  • David Merrick Jr says:

    So let’s have an Ebola quarantine, cause it might hurt Broadway?

    Uh, Ken….

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