BOSTON (CBS) – No question about it, the Ebola virus is scary.
There is no vaccine for it, or a specific cure; mortality rates are high. And while the current outbreak in Africa is racking up some eyebrow-raising casualties, the numbers remain almost infinitesimal.
The truth is that you have a better chance of choking to death on a cherry pit than being afflicted by Ebola.
But that isn’t stopping us media types from treating the Ebola outbreak like it’s the second coming of the Y2K computer meltdown.
Exhibit A was the breathless coverage of Monday’s news that a patient with “high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms” not unlike those associated with Ebola (or, for that matter, with ingesting a bad buffalo wing at your local tavern) had been admitted to Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.
The patient had “recently traveled to a West African country where Ebola has been reported,” according to a statement from the hospital.
Uh-oh, cue the breaking news sounder.
The story led all the network newscasts, and as far as much of the internet and Twitter were concerned, this was it, the start of the apocalypse. Never mind that within a couple of hours the doctors were saying they were pretty sure the patient in question didn’t have Ebola.
But why let annoying facts spoil our terror party?
Let’s face it, we love to be petrified.
Zombie shows, rogue nukes, global disease epidemics, all part of the pantheon of horrors we like to imagine are lurking behind every shrub.
I suggest switching to decaf.
There’s about as much chance of Ebola taking America by storm as there is of a giant tornado filled with sharks engulfing Manhattan. And there’s no chance of that happening.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: