In Ebola crisis, think big picture

Localistic thinking was unhelpful in the fight against the disease.

Dr. Craig Spencer was declared free of Ebola and was discharged from New York City’s Bellevue Hospital Center on Tuesday. His release marks the end of active Ebola cases in the United States.

After his discharge, Spencer, 33, spoke at a press conference, urging Americans not to stigmatize aid workers who return home to the U.S. after treating patients in West Africa. He also encouraged people to turn their attention toward the countries in which Ebola is still rampant.

Nevertheless, media interest in Ebola seems to have faded since the panic that followed Spencer’s initial diagnosis. Although new Ebola cases, quarantine controversies and travel restrictions made headlines nationwide, the end of current Ebola cases in America has been significantly quieter.

Last Friday marked the official end of quarantines in Dallas, and Maine nurse Kaci Hickox was released from quarantine earlier this week. However, neither of these optimistic stories attracted as much press coverage as Hickox received after she broke quarantine weeks ago to go on a bike ride with her boyfriend.

Media silence regarding America’s recovery from Ebola attests to an unsettling obsession with exciting, even sensational, headlines. To a large extent, American indifference to Ebola resurged as soon as Americans felt they were out of harm’s way.

To help contain Ebola, Google recently announced that it will give $2 for every dollar users contribute through its website. We urge readers to donate, to research and to remember that localistic thinking is a luxury not everyone in the world can afford.