There have been no new Ebola cases in the U.S. in nearly a week but officials say an unnecessary level of panic remains with a public still failing to grasp the nature of the virus.
Authorities have expressed cautious optimism after five days without a case being reported in the United States, believing that the lapses that allowed a handful of health care workers to become infected have been cleared up. Ebola first made its way into the U.S. through a Liberian man who traveled to Dallas. He later died, but not before infecting two nurses and leading to 100 people being tracked.
With no new Ebola cases in the U.S., officials are starting to breathe a sigh of relief.
“We are breathing a little bit easier, but we are still holding our breath,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
After a panic set in after the infection of two nurses — and news that one had traveled to Ohio before showing symptoms — officials said the lack of new Ebola cases is a positive sign.
“This is a crucial milestone for the city of Dallas and for concerned persons across the United States,” said Mark Rupp, an infectious disease specialist at Nebraska Medical Center, which has treated two U.S. Ebola patients.
But experts say an unnecessary and even dangerous level of paranoia still remains among many Americans. Despite repeated reminders that the Ebola virus cannot be transmitted through the air and needs direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, many areas have shut down schools and businesses and delayed flights over fears of its transmission.
The Huffington Post chronicled the Ebola panic, which has spread across the country:
“The Huffington Post reviewed dozens of news articles from all 50 states to get a good sense of how prevalent Ebola-panic is on the local level. The results show a country struggling to come to grips not just with a potentially deadly disease, but also with the wave of fear and (at times) paranoia it’s inspired. As the associate director for Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton, Montana, recently bemoaned, ‘I can’t deal with this ‘Fearbola’ that’s become a second epidemic.'”
President Obama has done his part to quell the Ebola panic, telling Americans not to give in to fear and even noting that he personally hugged and kissed health care workers in Atlanta who had treated Ebola patients.