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Opinion Pieces Discuss Issues Surrounding Ebola Epidemic

The following opinion pieces discuss various issues related to the Ebola epidemic.

Vox: Why we fail at stopping outbreaks like Ebola
Julia Belluz, health reporter, and Steven Hoffman, assistant professor at McMaster University and visiting assistant professor at Harvard University

“…We’ve had outbreaks before, and they show us we’re not prepared. Our global health systems have repeatedly proven themselves ineffective in identifying and responding to this kind of disease outbreak. We’ve known about these weaknesses and inadequacies for years yet have done little about them. For disease outbreaks, it’s clear we have to take lessons learned from past failures more seriously. Complacency has cost lives — in this outbreak alone, already more than 3,000 and counting” (10/1).

Washington Post: Reporting on Ebola: First rule is you don’t touch anyone
Lenny Bernstein, blogger and journalist

“…You don’t touch anyone in Liberia. … It is the rule of rules, because while everyone able is taking precautions, you just can’t be sure where the invisible, lethal Ebola virus might be. … Maintaining that constant vigilance, especially while wearing long sleeves and pouring sweat in the Liberian humidity, is mentally taxing. As is watching the virus’s mounting toll day after day. It’s almost impossible not to slip…” (10/1).

Foreign Policy: Obamacare May Hold the Key to Saving the U.S. from Ebola
Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations

“…America’s special vulnerability to Ebola is its limitations on access to health care. In times of contagion, societal risk rises with every uninsured or underinsured individual who struggles to work or go to school with a fever, and avoids bankrupting visits to health providers. One doesn’t need to have a political position up or down on ‘Obamacare’ to recognize and solve this” (10/1).

The Guardian: The focus on first U.S. Ebola case shows how cheaply we value African lives
Owen Jones, columnist and author

“…The sad reality is that African victims will continue to suffer an excruciating death, denied of basic dignity, drowning in their own fluids. As they do so, they will remain nameless and forgotten, except to their forever mourning relatives. Westerners, on the other hand, will be flown out, treated and become near-celebrities. Perhaps some are resigned to such a disparity, believing that this is the inevitable way of the world. I tend to differ: it is perverse, and it is unjust” (10/1).

The Hill: ISIS and Ebola — Two sides of the same coin
Rachel Kleinfeld, senior associate in the Democracy and Rule of Law Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

“The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is ravaging the Levant and Ebola is terrifying West Africa — but other than the fear both engender, there seems to be little linkage between a raging insurgency and a contagious disease. But appearances are deceiving. In fact, both ISIS and Ebola have the same root cause: failed governance…” (10/1).

New York Times: Living With the Terror of Ebola
Alexis Okeowo, author

“…This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Nigeria is now nearly Ebola-free. That declaration hasn’t changed how Lagosians think about our new reality, though. We are all on edge, and becoming accustomed to the realization that we are dangerously vulnerable to other people, both close to us and over our borders. It is the slow-burning shock of realizing that Ebola is not going away anytime soon…” (10/1).

Politico: The Ebola Epidemic Is About to Get Worse. Much Worse.
Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota

“…In the end, the only guaranteed solution to ending this Ebola crisis is to develop, manufacture, and deliver an effective Ebola vaccine, potentially to most of the people in West Africa, and maybe even to most of the population of the African continent. … While the U.S. government has done more than other international players to support the possibility of developing an effective vaccine, current efforts still fall short of what is needed to implement an effective vaccination strategy…” (9/30).

CNBC: How big data could help stop the Ebola outbreak
David Richards, co-founder and CEO of WANdisco

“…Used in the right way, big data can help authorities intervene much more effectively. But we need to take a forward-looking approach that captures and utilizes as much data as possible, interpreting it smartly to better understand the lifestyle, environment, and behavior of those affected. The CDC predicts up to 1.4 million people could be affected by January next year. Let us hope that by using big data as one of the tools to fight this epidemic it won’t get to that” (10/1).

The Guardian: No, Ebola in Dallas does not mean you and everyone else in the U.S. is going to get it, too
Tara Smith, associate professor of epidemiology at Kent State University

“…It’s not out of the realm of possibility that we’ll see other cases here in the U.S., but, seriously: relax. We got this. … It’s natural to dread death and to fear the exotic, the unknown. But we can’t let our fears — particularly when they’re not rational — overwhelm the global response that is so necessary, right now. That response requires calm, for patients here in the U.S. and abroad. What we need is the opposite of panic” (9/30).

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