Like most of the writers, I read newspapers, online news feeds, magazines and other materials gathering information and ideas. I’m willing to bet that even as I write this there are a couple of dozen Hollywood writers and maybe that many novelists frantically plotting and outlining or writing treatments for Ebola-based tales of doom and gloom, death and destruction.

DP-10-18-14-aI cannot be counted among that opportunistic horde. However, I predicted we’ll see Ebola episodes on NCIS, NCIS: LA, NCIS: New Orleans, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, Madam Secretary, CSI, Criminal Minds, Person of Interest and many others. Okay, okay, maybe only one of the NCIS shows (the scripts of all three are interchangeable, so what works for one works for another). There will likely be an Ebola-Over-The-Top movie on the SciFi Channel (Sharkbola or Ebola Tsunami) and very likely one on the Lifetime Channel (the tender and tragic tale of a nurse and her lover caught in a terrible epidemic). Hallmark will probably steer clear of such a grim subject. A couple of low-budgets movies may spring up and somewhere down the down the road there undoubtedly will be a high-minded, big budget, pretentious movie about a stalwart medical team battling the vicious virus (and we’ve already seen that at least twice in Outbreak and Contagion).

UPDATE: I have just been informed that Ridley Scott and Fox Television are teaming up on a limited-run Ebola-based series! OMG! OMG!

West Africa has been at the center of the Ebola storm, primarily Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leon. The death toll there has topped 4,500 (and maybe many more given that Liberia has been accused of under-reporting the true number of Ebola-related fatalities).

Fanned by the news operations at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, hysteria is gripping DP-10-19-14America. Constant updates, lead stories on the evening newscasts and a sense of terror and impending doom in every news reader’s words. Be afraid! Be afraid! Be Afraid! Ebola is creepy down your street, slipping in your backdoor, getting into your bed…

What? No! That’s asinine and stupid; not uninformed or ignorant, but stone cold stupid!

FACT: In the U.S. there has been one (1) Ebola-related death. Just one! Two healthcare workers who cared for the one dead man have been infected and are on the mend.

So why all the panic? Honestly, in my lifetime, I cannot recall another virus or contagion so terrifying so many people. They’re peeing in their pants like little kids watching Jaws for the first time. It’s hysterical nonsense created by panic and a “me, too!” mentality.

Frankly, as fodder for a novel, TV show, movie or even a short story, the Ebola thing is weak sauce. I’m far more concerned about the paralysis that has stricken children in Colorado, Massachusetts and a few other places. Now that’s scary!