The Only Thing We Have to Fear . . .
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in the midst of the Great Depression, encouraged a worried nation with these hope-filled words: “. . . let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Those words seem to still ring true.
During the past few weeks, Houstonians have watched the developments of the Ebola victims in Dallas with deepening concern. For those of us who live in District J – Houston’s most extensive international community – these developments are quite personal. Many of us have friends, colleagues, and business associates who hail from, or who do business with, West African countries. For us, the fight against the Ebola virus on the African continent has also been a fight for our own community.
This week, City Council was briefed on Houston’s state of preparedness to combat the Ebola virus. Dr. David Persse, the Houston Emergency Medical Services Director, explained that while no cases have occurred in Houston yet, the city’s vast medical community is prepared if such an event occurs. He then provided a detailed explanation of plans and procedures in case an infection was to occur. You can see their detailed video report here as well as general Ebola update information, an Ebola Fact Sheet, and a “What you need to know about Ebola” sheet.
Answering questions from Mayor Parker and the Council, Dr. Persse explained initial symptoms of Ebola can resemble those of other common diseases, including the flu. If you are medically able, join me in getting your flu shot in order to eliminate that source of worry.
Let’s do all we can to inoculate ourselves against an “unreasoning fear” of the Ebola virus. Let’s educate ourselves about the disease in all its facets. As always, please be diligent in maintaining standard sanitary and hygienic practices to ensure that our friends, neighbors and family members remain healthy.
-Mike Laster, Council Member – District J