The most profound challenge that we face in this day and age is the way in which one must carry out evaluation of danger from multifarious threats. The correct approach is one in which communication and handling of risk perception also includes the consideration of fears by experts in as precise a manner as scientific measurements. The approach is ever more important now, as the Ebola disease continues to spread in the United States, with the government not being able to allay the fears of the American public.
The over-excited media and politicians are to be blamed
The reason for the rising anxiety levels among the public is due to the action of media outlets – who have adopted an alarmist approach to media coverage – as well as manipulative politicians who have used the issue to meet their ends. At the same time, it is also not right to dismiss the fears of the public. Rather, their dread and fears should be taken into consideration with decision makers being all the more transparent, alert and credible. When it comes to the protection of the health of the public, an integral part of it has to do with the maintenance of public confidence.
Steps taken by various US states and individuals
Decisions like putting health workers under quarantine, when they do not have the virus like the nurse Kaci Hickox- in reality reveal excessive self confidence. The correct answer is to protect the American public without overreacting. The decisions adopted by the US states of Virginia and Maryland that requires not only screening as well as monitoring of individuals returning from West Africa in addition to asking them to stay at home are sensible and reasonable. Additionally, acts like the decision of Dr. Craig Spencer of checking himself into a hospital after displaying Ebola symptoms,also speaks of prudence and rationality. The doctor has since tested positive for the deadly virus.
The most severe inadequacy that the international effort against Ebola faces is the lack of healthcare workers. For this reason, individuals who volunteer to help out at Ebola stricken areas should be treated with utmost respect and not be stigmatized even in moments of fear. Most importantly, the fear of catching the disease should not lead to adoption of irrational steps that would only discourage others from offering their help.