Friday, October 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Ebola is fearful for good reason

Ebola is a highly communicable virus, and if this isn't the one that races through the population killing huge numbers of humans, it's the harbinger of one that will, at some point, emerge.

Before Ebola became more than a potential problem in the US, I wondered if our journalists shouldn't do more to inform us about it. What to do if we come in contact with it? How communicable it is. How quickly does it evolve? How is it transmitted? Who is contagious?

I emailed with a journalist friend, suggesting that their publication, famous for deep background pieces, write about Ebola. A citizen's kit, the basic info everyone needs about deadly communicable disease. Now, of course, in the middle of the hysteria, there are plenty of them. Now it's too late to prevent the virus from appearing in the US. Now the issue is to how to prevent it from spreading.

We know the government is ineffective at managing crises before they become disasters. So why shouldn't journalism fill the void? Isn't that their job?

I posted a link to Shepard Smith's "calm down get a flu shot" speech. It's true, flu does kill more people each year in the US than Ebola has killed so far world wide. The key phrase is "so far." It has the potential to be much more deadly than flu. For an individual, Ebola is far more deadly than flu. It's good to be calm, but also good to be realistic.

Fighting an infestation is easier when it's localized. Information, now, is a much better defense against Ebola than hazmat suits and more hospital beds, will be later, if it escapes containment.

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By Dave Winer, Friday, October 17, 2014 at 8:04 AM. We don't need no stinkin rock stars.