As I was on the bus headed to my poetry class, I couldn't help but overhear this woman behind me on her phone. Bad enough that she had a captive audience--it was really unfortunate to hear her spout off about Ebola.
Not that she's the first person I've heard talk about Ebola, not even the first to do so in a public space. But she was the first I've encountered who was relaying patently inaccurate information to those around her. Sort of like an information disease vector.
First she talked about how the dog of a woman who contracted (or is suspected of contracting) Ebola had to be put down. That is true. But she said it was because the woman spread Ebola to her dog. That was not determined at the time of the destruction. I highly doubt this turned out to be the case.
Then she speculated about why the latest victims in the US have been women. "I don't know if it's because women are more susceptible?" she began. That's when my eyebrows went up in alarm.
Captive audience. Everyone there was listening to her & her ignorance.
She did temper her conjecture a bit when she offered that maybe it was because more women were "on the front lines." I don't know if she meant that more nurses are traditionally female & the number of nurses combating the disease necessarily outweigh those of doctors, who are for more often male. I want to give this woman the benefit of the doubt.
nail in the coffin final straw was when she dismissed the fact that Ebola is only spread through direct contact with bodily fluids. She spoke about how some people get infected after being around a dead body & how that didn't make any sense. "The morticians, I'm sure they wear gloves, so I don't know how these people would have been in contact with bodily fluids." After listening to her friend, she said, "Yeah, it's airborne! That must be it."
After about a minute of listening to this, I turned around & looked at her. I wasn't going to say anything, but she mentioned my turning around to her friend. "It's not airborne," I said flatly. "It's only transmissible through bodily fluids."
"Well, I don't know . . . ." she said, apparently trying to leave a crack in the door.
"It's true. This is what is known about the disease. You should look it up."
"Well, that remains to be seen," she said.
"It's scientific fact," I responded, finally brusque at her unwillingness to let go of speculation. "You should look it up," I entreated again.
I would have apologized later for being somewhat short in our exchange, but she remained on the phone to her destination, which was just a few minutes further up the road.