Catherine Hooper's Blog
Friday, 24 October 2014 17:19

Despite a dropping crime rate, many Americans believe - and are afraid of - an increase in crime.  In a NYT editorial, Dr. Christopher Bader of Chapman University discussed a recent study that measured American’s fear.

The study had a few interesting takeaways.  First, many Americans are scared of disasters, but that fear hasn’t translated into preparations such as a home emergency kit.  This suggests that fear is not a great motivator for action.  Also, the study suggested that fear can become a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”  From the piece:

“Sometimes when we’re afraid of something,” said Dr. Bader, “even if our fears are irrational, that can lead us to make choices that will actually cause the thing that we are avoiding...Parks get more dangerous when people are afraid of going to parks because they think they’re dangerous.”

Enterovirus D68
Friday, 17 October 2014 19:05

Ebola may be the virus of the year, but enterovirus D68 has been making headlines as well. There have been seven recent deaths from the virus, including the widely publicized death of a 4-year-old child in NJ.

VICE News interviews Vincent Racaniello, a microbiology professor at Columbia University, and covers all you need to know about enterovirus a non-sensationalized article.

Facebook’s Safety Check
Thursday, 16 October 2014 20:48

Facebook has joined the crowded ranks of post-disaster check-ins with today’s release of Safety Check.  The new feature allows people who are geographically located in areas affected by a disaster to check in with their friends and loved ones, letting everyone know they’re OK.  A similar service is provided by Google Person Finder and the Red Cross’ Safe and Well listings.

The Business of Ebola
Friday, 10 October 2014 19:27

The Ebola scare in the U.S. (and abroad) is fueling a run on personal protective equipment.  Companies that seel PPE gear, such as HAZMAT suits, rubber gloves, masks and respirators, are all experiencing higher-than-normal sales volume.

Stopping Ebola
Tuesday, 07 October 2014 17:52

If you’re following the progression and escalation of the Ebola story, you may be suffering from a lack of confidence in the U.S. government response both at home and in West Africa.

The U.S. has seen - and somewhat mismanaged - it’s first case in Dallas; local Dallas moms are rushing to pull their kids out of schools where children may have come into contact with the U.S. patient. Meanwhile, major cities such NYC are preparing for potential cases and officials in Madrid, Spain are questioning how a nurse who was wearing full protective equipment contracted the virus.

Despite robust national preparedness and response protocols, the stories and reports about Ebola are overwhelmingly negative. We did come across one glimmer of hope in the media - Firestone’s success in Harbel, Liberia.

Firestone (yes, the tire company) manages a rubber plantation of 80,000 people in Harbel, several miles from the capital of Monrovia. The company detected their first Ebola case in late March; they promptly built a comprehensive treatment center and instituted quarantine for anyone who may have been exposed. The protective gear being used by doctors and nurses is makeshift - body suits, rubber gloves, agricultural sprayers - but it’s working. No health care workers have been infected and their patient ward is down to the final three cases.

While Firestone’s response is being driven by (and using the resources of) a major corporation, it still can serve as precedent for a grassroots model of Ebola response.

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