Fox News’ Shep Smith won wide praise Wednesday for his straight-talk about sensationalistic media reports on Ebola. “We don't have an outbreak,” he said. “And the rest of this should stop, because it's not productive, and it's not worth ratings, and it's not worth politics, and we all need to stop it.”
But one level-headed newscaster won't stop the rising panic. Since the second infected nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, Amber Vinson, was found to have flown to Cleveland and back before being diagnosed with Ebola, the fear has spread out of proportion with the disease itself. Here’s a few of the most outlandish measures people are taking to protect themselves against an American Ebola outbreak that, as Smith could not emphasize enough, does not exist:
1. Two schools in suburban Cleveland have closed for the day so that the buildings and school buses could be thoroughly disinfected. A staff member at Solon Middle School flew home from Dallas on what might have been the same airplane as the nurse, but she was not on the same flight. The Centers for Disease Control said that the staff member was not at risk, so the school's closing is an unnecessary precaution.
2. Two schools in Texas are also closed today after learning that students were on the same flight as Vinson. While the barely-at-risk siblings who were on the flight are allowed to return to school when it reopens Friday, their parents will keep them at home for the next 21 days.
3. Dallas County is considering declaring a state of emergency even though the only people who have been infected with Ebola in America—two nurses—came into contact with the virus while treating the since-deceased first patient, Thomas Eric Duncan.
4. Navarro College, a community college outside of Dallas, is rejecting applications from international students who come from “countries with confirmed Ebola cases.” American students—even nurses—are still allowed to apply, though.
5. This picture was reportedly taken at Dulles International airport. No word on whether she had to take off the hazmat suit to get through security.