Ebola, is panic good?

Bob Morrell bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu
Thu Jul 20 08:04:14 EST 1995


On 20 Jul 1995, Chris A. Pella wrote:
> 
> I have to agree. The book did tell me some things I didnt know before 
> but it did rely heavily on sensationalism. For example, Preston made it
> a continual point in highlighting people's emotional reactions, particularly
> fear, when he described people's reaction to the concept of Ebola. While 
> people may be scared of Ebola, this fact does not have prime importance 
> as far as informing the readers is concerned. It did detract from the 
> value of the book IMHO.

I think people should rethink the value of panic and fear. The natural 
reaction of panic and fear is to isolate themselves, shun people from 
infected areas, even to the point of overkill.
The result of these behaviors is exactly what you need to stop the epidemic.
Much of the "anti-panic" reaction of the intelligensia is hubris, IMO. 
Quit thinking in intellectual models and start thinking in real life 
scenarios, with actual effects. I would rather have 1000 misguided people 
stop an epidemic, than 10 well informed, but overly complacent 
individuals spread it.

The Hot Zone serves us well in this regard. I reawakens the general 
public to the fact that it's still a very cruel world out there, that 
there are things that can kill you....

*                     Bob Morrell                       *
*              bmorrell at isnet.is.wfu.edu                *
* The operation was a success, as the autopsy will show *




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