Ebola has been diagnosed for the first time in the United States, a statement that can be something of a conversation stopper. We are told–and we have been told for a while–that it was inevitable that the virus would find its way to our country, and we are given assurances (reasonably convincing assurances, at that) that the virus will be contained. Still, this is something of a watershed moment in American history. Maybe it is unreasonable to be made a bit nervous by the news that Ebola is no longer a stranger to America, but I imagine that nerves are somewhat frayed in Dallas right now. I must admit that they are a bit frayed where I am sitting as well.
I suppose that if it really is true that this virus can be contained, then about the only thing we really have to fear is, in fact, fear itself–specifically, the kind of fear that can lead to an outbreak of public panic that defeats efforts to isolate and eradicate the Ebola virus. I would like to believe that we will keep ourselves free from that fear; remaining calm and mature will not only help us contain the current outbreak, it will also help provide a model that will help us respond successfully to future public health emergencies.