The Month Ebola Spooked The World!!

Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow  the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news.  This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.

However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.

The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.

Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.

So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award  goes out to you  – You Douche!!!

The October 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award

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In October 2014 the playful, seasonal fearfulness that is usually reserved for Halloween’s ghosts, goblins and ghouls, was replaced by the very real fear of pestilence and the world’s deadliest virus -Ebola.

While this virulent killer could easily be a candidate for an award, it is by no way a laughing matter.

However, what was at least douchey during the world’s largest Ebola outbreak was the reaction of the American public to those who contracted the virus; those who may contract it and those charged with containing the outbreak, including the biggest, scariest bogeyman of them all – US President Barack H. Obama.

Of course panic is a natural bi-product of anything as deadly as a contagion that has no cure and can kill you by touching anyone who has contracted it, but in an unprecedented douche-move, the American public and media ignored facts and instead opted to just freak the hell out.

Some douches were ready to keep American doctors who treated the ill, out of the country. Others called for the head of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for not being more prepared for a disease that had never been contracted in the States. Even more douches questioned any and everyone who was not prepared to quarantine those who went anywhere near western Africa.

In the end, you had death and disease on one side and ignorance and panic on the other, just the ingredients needed to turn any bad situation into a vinegar and water soaked douche-fest, not to mention the October 2014 Douchey McDouche Bag Award.

This Ain’t No Joke

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ebola virus causes an acute, serious illness which is often fatal if untreated. Ebola virus disease (EVD) first appeared in 1976 in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in Nzara, Sudan, and the other in Yambuku, Democratic Republic of Congo. The latter occurred in a village near the Ebola River, from which the disease takes its name.

The Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola hemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human contact. The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

The current outbreak in western Africa, (first cases notified in March 2014), is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the Ebola virus was first discovered. There have been more cases and deaths in this outbreak than all others combined. It has also spread between countries starting in Guinea then spreading across land borders to Sierra Leone and Liberia, by air (1 traveler only) to Nigeria, and by land (1 traveler) to Senegal.

The largest outbreak of Ebola began in March and has infected thousands of Africans in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. More than 13,000 people have contracted the disease and more than 5,000 have died to date from the historic outbreak.

As the disease spread in western African countries, the US prepared for the first ever US –Africa Leaders Summit and questions began to emerge from all of the usual suspects about bringing the deadly disease to our country and Obama’s intention of holding such a gathering.

But with the disease still half a world away, American concerns were minimal and the normal no entangling alliances policy prevailed as horrid news clips from western Africa were shown on international news feeds.

Then in late August something unexpected happened.

Dr. Kent Brantly, a physician working with Samaritan’s Purse, returned from the Ebola zone infected with the virus.  Brantly was sent to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia where he began receiving treatment.

Soon after Nancy Writebol, a medical missionary for Service in Mission, returned on a specialized containment plane from western Africa after she contracted the virus. Writebol and Brantly were both treated at Emory with an experimental drug.

While most Americans expected the missionaries to be treated in the US, the medical solution for clearing the disease in the United States was not cheered by all.

Former GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump voiced his displeasure with the treatment of Brantly and Writebol on Twitter.

“Ebola patient will be brought to the U.S. in a few days,” Trump tweeted in August in regards to the missionaries. “Now I know for sure that our leaders are incompetent. Keep them out of here!”

Another Twitter gem from Trump read: “The U.S. cannot allow Ebola infected people back. People that go to faraway places to help out are great-but must suffer the consequences!”

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Um, yeah…real compassionate.

Fear was relatively low after the two missionaries returned and were treated, but things were about to hit a fever pitch a little over month later.

Liberian native Thomas Eric Duncan returned to his Dallas, Texas home with a fever and extreme flu-like symptoms after a trip to the Ebola hot zone.

Duncan walked into an emergency room at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas and was quizzed about his recent travels. He was later subjected to routine blood tests and sent back home with a prescription for antibiotics.

More virulent, two days later, Duncan returned to the hospital where, viola – it was determined the man who returned from caring for an Ebola stricken family member in Liberia, actually had contracted the disease himself.

He was soon isolated and placed in intensive care with failure of his major organs and in serious condition. He died about two weeks later on October 8, 2014.

Duncan’s death and the handling of his original diagnosis touched off a firestorm of reaction from the American public and political culture that reverberates to this day.

However, the reaction to the reaction created a ripple effect in our collective American douche bag that appears to have stained us permanently and drawn much needed attention to this destructive, fatal virus.

Nagging Questions Always Remain. Why Did It Happen and Who Was to Blame?

Following the tragic death of Thomas Duncan, the first loss to Ebola on the American continent, national thoughts did not look to sooth and coddle the family of the deceased, but instead turned to how did such a thing happen?

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Immediate examination of the hospital where he was treated began, along with the creation of the first national plan for battling the disease in America.

President Obama put forth the appointment of an “Ebola Tsar” and pressed the CDC for a straight-forward policy on how to treat those sickened by Ebola.

However, in real time, more developments were occurring on the ground.

After Duncan’s tragic death on Oct. 8, 2014, nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, both who had treated him at Texas Presbyterian, were diagnosed with the disease.

To compound matters, Vinson was allowed to fly out of Dallas and to Atlanta ahead of her upcoming wedding. After she was formally diagnosed with the killer, all hell broke loose.

Vinson was screened by the CDC and allowed to fly from Dallas to Cleveland as part of a bridal shower trip. On her return trip to Texas, Vinson was joined by at least 132 people on the flight and suddenly the competency of the CDC was called into question and that of the now afflicted nurse.

Congress began hearings on Duncan’s treatment and the response of the CDC in the wake of the infections of Vinson and Pham. Schools in Texas and Ohio were closed in the event that those who came into contact with Vinson were infected.

Former Democratic Rep. Bruce Baley of Iowa blamed the administration, which he said did not act fast enough in responding to the way Texas Presbyterian handled the Ebola case. Fellow Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette said the response was grossly “mismanaged.”

At least two members of Congress, Rep Thomas Marino and Pete Sessions joined with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in calling for the resignation of CDC Chief Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Later Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner called for a travel restriction for the countries hit hardest by Ebola. Others wondered aloud why doctors who treated Ebola patients were allowed to return home afterward.

Most of the crazy talk vanished as quickly as it came following the the Mid-Term elections. During that time, Vinson was transferred to Emory University Hospital for treatment and Pham too was isolated and sent to National Institutes of Health in Maryland for treatment.

In the end, none of the people who came in contact with Vinson and Pham were infected with Ebola.

President Obama pressed on by developing an Ebola “SWAT team” and appointing Ron Klain to oversee and coordinate containment efforts.

In the douchey and acrimonious political climate of D.C., Obama’ s appointment was immediately slammed and questioned as the wrong move in the midst of the crisis.

Does This Make You “Rand”-Y?

Almost more virulent than Ebola itself was the uncontrolled spread of political fodder tossed about  during the Mid-Term elections. Capitalizing on the deadly outbreak for political gain, these douche bags didn’t see petulance and despair, but instead an opportunity to scare Americans into voting Republican.

One of the first and loudest voices raised to begin the “politicalization” of the outbreak was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

Paul a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, has come back for more and is eyeing yet another run for the White House in 2016.

An ophthalmologist who is certified by dubious organization, Paul, who is really named “Randall” is also the son of former Texas Congressman Ron Paul.  When  Ebola struck in the “Age of Obama,” you just knew this son of a doctor was going to have something to say.   Even a blind man could see that said “outbreak” would somehow, someway be the blame of that Kenyan Socialist who currently resides on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Paul began talking ‘ish during speeches and soon moved onto Conservative radio stations.

He said while people were dying horrible deaths in African countries, the Obama Administration was downplaying the threat of Ebola. He even left-handedly questioned the use of U.S. troops to help quell the spread of the virus in Africa.

“You also have to be concerned about 3,000 soldiers getting back on a ship. Where is disease most transmittable? When you’re in a very close confines on a ship, we all know about cruises and how they get these diarrhea  viruses that are transmitted very easily,” mused Paul on a radio show.

This genius even went as far to say you could get Ebola by sitting three feet away from an infected person, a reversal from the medical opinion that the transmittal of the disease can only happen when handling bodily fluids of the infected.

“If someone has Ebola at a cocktail party they’re contagious and you can catch it from them,” Paul was quotes as stating. “(The administration) should be more honest about that.”

Egregiously wrong, but ducheyt o the end, Paul also used the deadly outbreak to stoke more mainstream fears of those returning from the outbreak region. He was open to cancelling all U.S. flights from the Ebola zone and possibly quarantining those from the affected countries from the rest of the world.

Soon every Tom, Dick and Harry was jumping in to question the American response to a disease which had never made it to our shores until recently. Soon, like the good, little lemmings they can be, the whole GOP got on point and began pushing the propaganda.

Ed Gillespie a newly elected member of the US Senate in Virginia, mused that the President’s administration thought Ebola was the “JV team” and by doing so was downplaying the outbreak. Michigan Rep. Fred Upton sarcastically applauded the President leaving the campaign trail to “finally focus on Ebola.”

Pat Roberts, who ran for re-election in Kansas, tied it all up in a neat little bow. Roberts said immigrants entering US through southern borders, the war against ISIS and the virus were all part of the same problem – Obama.

“Ebola, ISIS or whoever comes across the border – the 167,000 illegals who are convicted felons – that shows you we have to secure the border, and we cannot support amnesty. Roberts, also not so surprisingly favored a quarantine on West African countries.

However obnoxious the politicians, more virulent was the spread of their sick messages by the media, which stoked the flames and terrified as many people as possible during the unfortunate death of Duncan and infection of the nurses who treated him.

During the media frenzy, monitoring protocol was developed as those who were in contact with the infected nurses were screened and the nurses themselves were treated and ultimately cleared of the virus.

This Morning I Woke Up in a Curfew

However, the politics of fear continued to drive the bus on media coverage and public opinion.

As the month wound down, the panic increased as did the number of Ebola patients returning to the U.S.

In New York, Dr. Craig Spencer developed Ebola after returning from the Ebola zone in Guinea in mid- October.

Approximately a week after his return, Spencer, a physician with non-profit organization – Doctors Without Borders, developed a high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms consistent with Ebola.

He checked himself into Bellevue Hospital Center and began treatment for the virus. At least three other people whom Spencer came in contact with, were isolated and monitored for symptoms – including an Uber driver he’d encountered.

Shortly thereafter, Kaci Hickox a nurse from Maine also working with Doctors Without Borders, returned from treating patients in Liberia and was promptly quarantined by secret, special New Jersey rules imposed by state Gov. Chris Christie despite not being infected by the virus.

With fear at its highest level, Christie endorsed a policy that required all people traveling from west Africa after would be isolated and quarantined for 21-days regardless of whether they showed symptoms of Ebola.

New York and New Jersey’s  Standards for the screening process for Ebola gained national attention as both heads of state dismissed federal prompting to relax the mandatory quarantine policy.

President Obama , in fact, said such a policy did not appear based in science and could work to dissuade healthcare volunteers from aiding the sick in places like western Africa.

New York and New Jersey soon relaxed standards to only impact those who were in contact with Ebola patients.

However, all of the changes occurred while Hickox was sequestered in a tented area outside of the University Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark. The 33-year-old nurse said she felt like an animal and battled her quarantine for days before being allowed to return to her native Maine.

Once in Maine, Hickox , who was asymptomatic, faced another mandatory quarantine, this time put in place by her home state. As part of that quarantine she was expected to remain at home and not have any outside contact.

Dubbed the “Ebola Nurse” by the media, Hickox protested Maine’s quarantine law by bicycling with her fiancée and later threatened to sue over what appear to be civil rights violations.

Dr. Spencer, who was diagnosed with Ebola, left Bellevue after being declared free of the virus. He returned to his home and neighborhood although some in the neighborhood were angered their neighbor may have been living among them with the deadly virus.

In the end, it was not the disease itself that grabbed our attention when It came to douchiness. No, it was actually the reaction of those who feared infection, the media and the politicians who stood out as necessary recipients of monthly award.

Because in places like Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone Ebola is an unspeakable tragedy that takes lives and breaks up families, but for Americans it’s that virus for Third World countries and despite our science and wealth, we are vapidly only interested in this deadly virus when it comes here.

So much for the whole caring for the least of us thing, I guess.

At the end of the day when petulance comes a knocking, we are not above separating the sick and the infected to save our own individual asses. So this goes out to you policymakers and news people you are the October 2014 Douchey McDouchey Bag Award winner – you shallow, self-serving, jingo-istic – douches!

 

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