Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Ebola's out of sight, out of mind

link Kevin Wilson

Staff writer

Start spreading the news, I say in my best Frank Sinatra voice.

This is a big deal, I say in my best Joe Biden voice.

The United States is Ebola-free.

What? Nothing?

In fairness, you might not have heard about its domestic demise. There are no elections to be won, no grands to be standed.

But I still get wistful about the way things were. You know, just a few weeks ago, when Ebola was going to kill us all. One person died.

Congress went on a crusade for an Ebola czar to be created by executive order, and it got one. Never mind that this was the same Congress that had refused to confirm a surgeon general nominee for the last 15 months. Never mind this was the same Congress that threatened to sue the administration for executive actions.

I read a newspaper from a neighboring city with a front-page story on an Ebola simulation, just to show the community was ready. The community was hundreds of miles from an international airport, and was statistically more likely to be visited by one of the Backstreet Boys.

A Kentucky teacher quit her job at a Louisville Catholic school rather than accept paid leave after parents were concerned about her recent mission trip to Kenya. Louisville is closer to Juneau, Alaska, than Kenya is to a country with Ebola.

Kaci Hickox returned from Africa, after giving of her time to work on Ebola treatment, and was forced to spend a weekend in an isolation tent by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Then she was ordered to stay under home quarantine for 21 days by Maine Gov. Paul LePage. All this despite the fact that she never had Ebola, and never showed symptoms. A striking majority of Facebook commenters agreed with the governors, even demanding charges be filed against Hickox for going on a bicycle ride. Shouldn’t that have been a sign she wasn’t suffering from Ebola?

Since Sept. 30, the date that the first case of Ebola was diagnosed in the United States:

• The first person diagnosed with Ebola died. None of his four family members who shared an apartment with him contracted the disease.

• Three other people in the U.S. contracted the disease. All three recovered and were discharged from their hospitals.

• Two American soldiers died in Iraq.

• Two people died in a school shooting, one of them the shooter, Oct. 24 at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington. The shooting didn’t make the front page of the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post or Chicago Tribune.

• Three other people injured during the same shooting died later in various hospitals. Bonus fact: The appointment of Nivek Murphy to the surgeon general’s post is rooted in his belief that guns are a public health issue.

• Every day, an average of three women die at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends, according to statistics from the American Psychological Association.

We have a slim chance at a school shooting czar or a domestic abuse czar. We have less chance we’ll increase funding to continue treating Ebola in affected nations. Because out of sight, out of mind, and what do we have to gain from spending money on foreign aid? We’ve got to save up for the next worst thing ever that will grip us for three weeks and go away once nobody can make political or financial gain.

Maybe we can create a Department of Short Attention Span Prevention. I’ll be the czar, whatever it pays.

Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Clovis Media Inc. He can be contacted at 575-763-3431, ext. 318, or by email:

[email protected]

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