Tarleton responds to Ebola crisis

Editor’s note: This article is based on interviews conducted by Bayley Chenault, Jack Cochran, Ariel Hall, Slayton Hatley, Shelby Hilton, Trent Lintzen, Madalynn Mitchell, Violent Newell, Jessica Parton and Dalton Wolverton.

As concerns about Ebola continue to spread, Tarleton State University students question whether the government is doing enough to control the disease and whether the media are fueling needless fears.

Haley Hawkins, a 22-year-old senior business administration major at Tarleton, says Ebola is a serious issue, but there are bigger things that the U.S. should be worrying about without blowing Ebola out of proportion.

“Obesity leads to 300,000 deaths per year,” Hawkins says. “Tobacco causes around 450,000 and alcohol causes around 88,000 deaths and you hardly hear a word about it. All of a sudden, a new disease pops up and kills a few people and it seems as if the world is ending.”

Mike Zimmerman, a 60-year-old maintenance worker for SSC at Tarleton State University, said he’s concerned about the Ebola cases in Dallas.

“The government is partially in charge of the Ebola cases, and the government has proven they can’t handle anything properly,” Zimmerman said. “I do not believe the officials are doing all they can to prevent the spread of this disease.”

Caroline Powledge, a 19-year-old freshman from Fort Worth, said that she attended high school with Nina Pham, one of the two nurses who treated the late Thomas Duncan, the first man to die of Ebola in the United States, and who contracted the disease herself.  She was recently released from the hospital is free from the virus.

“I am concerned that it is going to spread through the Metroplex,” Powledge said “Like all of these other viruses that have spread around, it will infect people but hopefully we can find a cure for it.”

But Jazma Schou, a 19-year-old, also from Fort Worth, thinks the likelihood of the virus traveling from Dallas to Stephenville is remote.  “What is the likelihood that I’m going to get Ebola?” she asked, rhetorically.

Sara Honeycutt, a 19-year-old from Joshua, said that people are not only overreacting about the Ebola virus, but they’re joking about it as well.

“It’s not something to joke about. People are losing their lives and this is a serious issue,” Honeycutt added.

Hillary Latson, a 21-year-old junior from Ennis, said that she is very concerned about the cases of Ebola in Dallas. She hopes that the nurses are following protocol and making sure that everyone is safe. She believes that it is a good idea to interview all of the passengers who were on the same flights as the newest Ebola patient.

“I think they have handled this pretty well overall, considering these are the first cases that have happened here,” Latson said. “I think they are overreacting though. They are acting like this is the zombie apocalypse.”

Jonathan Latham, an 18-year-old freshman from Fort Worth, said that he believes that reporters have made the situation worse than it actually is: “The media have blown it out of proportion.”

Skyler Henderson, a junior from Gorman, believes that the Ebola virus is “really hard to control.” He said that without past experiences with the disease in the U.S., it’s hard to expect health care professionals to know how to properly control the disease.

Ashley Ward, a 20-year-old sophomore from Chicago, is also concerned with hospital precautions.

“If a nurse got it,” Ward said. “Obviously the hospital itself is not taking enough precautions.”

Cody Allen, a 22-year-old criminal justice major from Highland Village, sees the outbreak as just another “media outrage.”

“We grew up in the time of the Swine Flu that became nothing,” Allen says. “The way I look at it is, if I’m going to die, I’m going to die.”

And Robby Martin, a 21-year-old wildlife biology student from Hurst, said he believes officials are doing all they can.

“I’m honestly not that concerned,” Martin said. Necessary steps are being taken.”

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