Monday, January 16, 2017

Hey, remember that whole Ebola thing?

Remember when Ebola was going to kill us all? Well, besides the fact that that didn't happen and the virus stayed largely contained within a few West African nations, a new vaccine promises to even more easily defeat the disease whenever a new outbreak arises. Do you remember headlines like these?

That last one warns about a possible death toll of 1.4 million. Care to guess how many lives the outbreak actually claimed? 11,000. To put that in perspective, here's a pie chart showing 11,000 out of 1.4 million.

None of this means that it wasn't terrible that 11,000 people died. Nor was it bad to treat the outbreak seriously and marshal all forces against it - indeed, that was what was successful. But keep this in mind the next time headlines look scary - whether about Ebola, Anthrax, Killer clowns, or even terrorism.