By Cory Lesniak
Panic has spread through the country because of the Ebola virus as president Obama and his administration scramble to gain back the trust of the American people. Just last month, Obama announced all the necessary steps had been taken “so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.” However, that didn’t stop Dallas doctors from sending Thomas Eric Duncan home with antibiotics, even though he had Ebola-like symptoms and he had recently returned from Liberia. Duncan died last week from Ebola.
Now the race is on to find any humans Duncan had contact with, as their lives are now at risk. Just imagine how many people you came in contact with the last time you got off a flight: you pass up those people waiting to get their bags. You pass the pilot on your way out, the personal of the airliner greets you and then you’re in a building where there’s another human every twist and turn you make.
Ebola is not a joke and everyone should be worried. Just last week, U.S. Airways Flight 845 had a scare when a man joked he had been to Africa and had the deadly disease. Four officials in blue Hazmat suits boarded the plane to retrieve him after it landed in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Now, the president and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must consider not only which safety measures to invoke and when but also how to rebuild trust with the American people. Last week, federal officials announced five airports, including Chicago’s own O’Hare International Airport, that deal with about 90 percent of arrivals from Ebola-infected areas. Officials will take the temperature of all passengers arriving from West Africa. Along with the temperature readings, all passengers are required to fill out a questionnaire. If a person’s temperature reading is high, a CDC expert at the airport will evaluate the passenger.
Some if not most people will shrug off Ebola and ignore the warnings, however, I will not. This is a very serious and dangerous disease that most hospitals are not equipped to handle, as seen in Dallas. This isn’t your common cold where NyQuil fixes it. We’re talking life and death. My goal is not to scare people but rather inform them. How many times do we touch the handrails when walking down the stairs? How often do those computers in the library get cleaned? Oh forgive me, that’s right, they get quickly wiped from those dried-up sanitizer wipes.
The movies “Contagion” and “Quarantined” are coming to life and it’s our job to ensure the safety and health of everyone on campus. I ask we come up with a better solution to cleaning and sanitizing this campus. Hundreds of computers are on campus. The bin of sanitizing wipes is a start but we have to do better. I am not saying Ebola will make its way to campus but, as the old saying goes, I’d rather be safe than sorry.