Ebola: Headlines vs Facts

I’m not saying that the Ebola situation is in any way “good”, nor am I saying that it is “under control”. But those facts aside, we still need some degree of perspective.
And stuff like this doesn’t help with that approach:

Ebola ‘could become airborne’: United Nations warns of ‘nightmare scenario’ as virus spreads to the US
Exclusive: Anthony Banbury, chief of the UN’s Ebola mission, says there is a chance the deadly virus could mutate to become infectious through the air


And technically, I suppose, he’s correct. In the same way that I “could” win tomorrow’s lottery. It “could” happen, but actually it’s “not going to” happen.
And you only have to read the piece to see how his words have been… ironically… mutated to fit the article’s agenda.

Because then, further down the article, this:

Although experts agree that the risks from Ebola are severe they do not believe the virus could become airborne.
Professor David Heymann CBE, chairman of Public Health England and professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said no virus transmitted by bodily fluids – as Ebola is – had ever mutated to airborne transmission.

Note the somewhat smaller typeface. And the lack of drama. That’s simply because when everyone is writing about Ebola, you need to make your piece stand out if you want it to be read and:

Experts say there’s ‘no danger’ of Ebola becoming airborne


just doesn’t cut the mustard in terms of attracting readers to your column, your site and its adverts.

Really, you’d expect better of the Telegraph. Although perhaps not of 2Oceansvibe.

UPDATE: Katherine Rushton tweeted her article like this:

Hmm. Business Editor writes Microbiology story.




Speculation that Ebola virus disease might mutate into a form that could easily spread among humans through the air is just that: speculation, unsubstantiated by any evidence.

This kind of speculation is unfounded but understandable as health officials race to catch up with this fast-moving and rapidly evolving outbreak.

“Speculation, unsubstantiated by any evidence.”
Again. Not great for The Telegraph.