As a person in the travel business, I was faced with two choices: downplay the news on ebola or deal with it head-on. In my zeal to deal with it directly, I think I overlooked something obvious: human stupidity.
From all I have seen and heard about the Dallas hospital, they deserve a giant grade of "F." I've read and contributed to the arguments for and against a travel ban, but the reality is that we should have a rash of infections, spreading like something out of "World War Z" were this some great monster that could spread like wildfire... That hasn't happened.
But I will share one VERY cool practice I wish more people would adopt out of respect for the health and well-being of others:
When I was flying to Europe one year, I was sitting next to an Army officer and a few of his buds. The officer was not in uniform, and he happened to have a cold. And guess what he did, EVERY TIME HE SNEEZED?..
He pulled his sweater neck out, and he sneezed into his clothing!
I never contracted a cold, and I never forgot the consideration of that man for others. I now do the same, and I would encourage any of you to do the very same thing. It's a simple gesture of awareness for others, and it reduces the airborne cloud of infection, no matter what you have.
And in my viewing of several excellent journalistic pieces on Vice's YouTube channel, I've learned this: America and other advanced countries need to start paying SERIOUS attention to Africa. The breeding grounds for diseases and dangers are prevalent and ominous - and they are still members of the human race, last time I checked. We can't just look away, as we have done for far too long.
We're still going over in a month's time with a small band of travelers for this Christmas tour. And I'll likely bring a small breathing mask, in the event some jackass on the plane has a sneeze going. We're doing a direct shot into a part of Europe that has little (none) of the air traffic from West Africa. No London, Paris, or Brussels... just to be safe. To be 100% honest, I find it hysterical that many Americans find Europe to be something scary. Look at your domestic incarceration rates, violent crimes, and DWI fatality statistics, next time you get all fearful of the unknown.
We're going to some wonderful little gems in Central Europe and the Alpine region of Bavaria. With all of the noise and nonsense of this past year, I frankly can't think of a more wonderful antidote...