I am still in Jury Service Limbo. Have to phone The Number again tomorrow night. They are really milking it this time.
Halloween is coming, the time when it is traditional to terrify anyone and everyone just for a laugh. This year it’s going to be difficult because everyone is already scared to death. Of ebola.
Of a very few cases, in fact. The interesting paradox is that while everyone wants to close the borders and shoot anyone trying to sneak in, they are absolutely enraged at the killing of an infected Spanish dog. You can catch it from a dog too, you know, and dogs are (at least in my experience so far) much more likely to lick your face than most people.
It seems the Spanish victim might have touched her face with her plastic gloves still on. That’s easily done in a moment of forgetfulness, although a microbiologist wouldn’t forget – but then we are used to handling horribly infectious diseases in their pure form. This was Spain’s first experience of ebola. A simple slip is all it takes.
If you aren’t working directly with an ebola case though, you can touch your face to your heart’s content, if that’s what floats your boat. It’s not an easy disease to catch. Really. It’s not like Salmonella or Camyplobacter which can hang around in food for ages. It’s not like anthrax or gangrene which can hide in soil as inert spores for many, many years and still be able to kill you. To get ebola you have to be in direct contact with someone who is showing symptoms.
Even if you sit next to someone on a plane who later turns out to be infected, if they weren’t symptomatic yet then they were not infectious. Oh sure, I’d get myself checked out in that situation but I’d be more scared of visiting hospital than of catching ebola. If you turn up at hospital and you’re not properly ill, they’ll give you something to catch. ‘There’s nothing wrong with you, timewaster. Here, have a scratch-and-catch card and let’s make your visit worthwhile’.
Ebola is scary in a small village where there’s nobody to look after your sick family but you. You have no haz-mat suit and not even a box of latex gloves. In that case you are in big trouble.
In a UK school it would be easy to isolate a child showing symptoms, assuming their parents were heartless enough to send them to school in that state. Especially so, now that every teacher is primed to watch out for Africans who look a bit pale. The Fear though, the Fear takes over very quickly and parents’ terror has now moved on from the Glittermen to the Disease-Carrying Monster Child from Hell.
This one’s not from Hell but from Sierra Leone. He does not have ebola. I can tell from the pictures. He is smiling. People with ebola have nothing to smile about. Might be rabies, of course, but definitely not ebola.
I could understand it if they said ‘he’s from a high risk area, keep him home for a few weeks until we’re sure he’s okay’ but the Fear does not allow for rational thought. No, he is now a pariah. He’s just a little kid but the ‘theeenk of the cheeldren’ does not apply to other people’s children any more.
The Cameroid is on the case. He is going to fight The War on ebola with… soldiers. They’ll have to be damn good shots to be able to take out a virus. They’ll also have to shoot fast. He’s sending 750 while every ebola case pumps out more than 750 million viruses. What’s the betting half of those soldiers get their redundancy notices while they’re over there? It’s happened before. I wonder if they’ll be allowed to come home?
In America there is terror as the police officer who visited the House of the Rising Virus comes down with symptoms similar to ebola. He might have it. He might have the flu. Let’s hope it’s just flu.
‘Just flu’. Never thought I’d say that. Reminds me of a Jasper Carrott routine where he talks about AIDS. In that context, he said, you might come back from the VD clinic delighted that you only have syphilis. I am sure Jasper now runs the local model shop judging by this photo.
Back to the point. People are scared and are going to be more scared. People already want other people quarantined like dogs from Calais. There will be no objection at all when the lorry-clingers are shot on sight or the boats heading for Italy are sunk with heavy artillery.
They are people. Some of them aren’t even smokers. So much rage over a dog’s disposal but so much demand we cull our own? Are we not men?
Ebola is no big deal in countries it is not adapted to deal with and in countries well adapted to dealing with it. There is no need for terror.
But then, I still recall necrotising fasciitis with its eight cases in one year in the UK. So many were convinced they’d melt like Oz’s Witch of the West even though they were never in any danger.
This one will make them demand more controls on their lives.
They will give away their freedoms for nothing.