Target: Representative Peter King
Goal: Stop fearmongering about speculated Ebola virus mutations
New York Representative Peter King admits he is not a doctor, but said last week that the Ebola virus had probably mutated to the point where it is transmissible through the air. This is a baseless statement that is contrary to the statements of health officials, and serves only to promote unreasonable fear about the virus and its epidemic danger. Demand that Representative King stop fearmongering over an issue that he has no expertise in.
After two Dallas nurses who helped care for the first person in the United States diagnosed with the virus contracted the virus themselves despite wearing the necessary protective gear, Representative King said on a New York radio show that Ebola had possibly mutated into an airborne virus. Though this is completely contrary to the statements of health officials who say that Ebola is most definitely not transmissible through the air, he offered that doctors could be wrong and that they are just not keeping up with the “latest mutation” of the virus. While epidemiologists and other medical scientists are, of course, human and as such susceptible to errors now and then, baseless speculation like this by those who are effectively laypersons on the matter but have a large media influence is nothing but irresponsible and reckless.
The American media has already done enough to drum up unfounded panic about a hypothetical Ebola epidemic in the United States–let’s not add fuel to that fire, especially in light of a new case showing up in New York City. Sign the petition below to tell Representative King to stop fearmongering and urge him to stay in his line of expertise in the future.
Dear Representative King,
In a recent radio interview with Long Island News Radio, you, despite not having any expertise on infectious diseases, offered that Ebola had probably mutated to be transmissible through the air. Your statements were completely contradictory to those that health authorities have provided and were based on unscientific speculation, and only served to drum up unreasonable fear about the virus in the American public. I am deeply disappointed that you would use your prominent position in the media and politics to say something so irresponsible.
You base your idea that Ebola has mutated to become airborne on the fact that two Dallas nurses became infected after treating a patient who had the virus, despite their wearing full protective gear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government agency whose job it is to keep up to date with deadly viruses and understand how they are transmitted from person to person, however, has blamed their infection on breaches in protocol–nowhere in their analysis was a mutation of the virus indicated. In these situations, we should defer to their expertise on these matters and shy away from wild conjecture about a mutation that, if true, would put the health of many more people in jeopardy and cause widespread panic in the process.
I am urging you to stop your shortsighted, reckless, and baseless fearmongering. There is already a lot of apprehension in the United States about the possibility of an Ebola epidemic–we should do everything we can to put those fears to rest, not stoke them further.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tom via Wikimedia Commons