by Abby Olena
As the number of Ebola virus deaths in West Africa climbs, much of the media hype in the United States has centered instead on the transfer of two infected American health workers to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia for treatment. As is common in the 24-hour news cycle, misinformation sometimes outweighs the facts, and on Twitter, the reaction to bringing Ebola patients into the U.S. has bordered on hysterical. Donald Trump added his voice to the fray:
The U.S. cannot allow EBOLA infected people back. People that go to far away places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 2, 2014
But as Susan M. Grant, the chief nurse of Emory Healthcare, wrote in a Washington Post piece published on August 6, the fears about bringing these people home for care “reflect a lack of knowledge about Ebola and our ability to safely manage and contain it.” Grant explained that not only is the hospital well-equipped to contain the infection, but the Emory health care team believes that it is their duty to treat these patients, who themselves were in West Africa to help fight the disease. “To refuse to care for these professionals would raise enormous questions about the ethical foundation of our profession,” Grant said. Nicholas Kristof, writing for The New York Times on August 6, highlighted another reason to treat the two Americans. Kristof explained that by fighting Ebola in West Africa, the health workers were protecting everyone else in the U.S. and therefore deserve gratitude as well as treatment. An Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria could easily become an Ebola outbreak around the world, Kristof said, pointing to a tweet from CDC Director Tom Frieden:
We are all connected in today’s world. An outbreak anywhere is a risk everywhere. — Dr. Tom Frieden (@DrFriedenCDC) August 4, 2014