Why are people freaking out much more about the Coronavirus than about Ebola?

Mudassir Ali
Mar 11, 2020 11:02 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Mar 11, 2020 11:02 AM

Because it is spreading wider and it is a lot harder to detect and contain.

See, the “good” thing about ebola, from a epidemiology point of view, is that it is so deadly and the incubation period is so short. If you get infected with ebola, you don’t get very far before you break down severely sick. People infected with ebola don’t travel around the globe easily. And for that reasons, outbreaks are usually confined locally. (And they usually happen in African countries that most Americans and Europeans couldn’t even find on a map. Interest would be a lot higher if they happened in the UK or the US for example.)

COVID-19 on the other hand causes much milder symptoms (if it causes symptoms at all). A light cough, feeling slightly fatigued or having to sneeze will not cause people to cancel a business trip or vacation. They will just pop a paracemtamol and move on, because they don’t even realize that they are infected with a new and potentially lethal virus. They’ll just think that they caught a cold. Nothing to worry about. It is only when that new virus meets a person with an already weakened immune system or damaged lungs that more severe and obvious symptoms occur. Those are the patients we see in the death statistics and who are contained and isolated in hospitals. But those are not the patients that spread the disease around the globe.

Ebola is a bright, small scale bush fire which causes a lot of damage locally, but is easily put out again. COVID-19 is more like a huge underground smoldering coal fire which cannot be extinguished, even though things don’t look so bad from the surface.

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