COVERING EBOLA: Follow a few rules and "you're going to be fine"

"Pretty much everybody here in the US thought I was crazy," says Lenny Bernstein, a health reporter at The Washington Post who recently returned from a 12-day assignment covering the Ebola epidemic in Liberia. 

 Health care workers in Liberia wearing protective gear.  Courtesy NPR/WNYC's  On The Media .

Health care workers in Liberia wearing protective gear.  Courtesy NPR/WNYC's On The Media.

With an inherent need to document the story at close range, journalists covering Ebola would seem to be at high risk of contracting the virus.  Out of an "abundance of caution" since his return 11 days ago - Ebola's incubation period is 21 days - Bernstein is keeping out of crowds, avoiding the newsroom, and staying away from his wife and daughter.  But he remains symptom free, and he correctly notes that you can't transmit Ebola when you're not displaying symptoms.

The rules Bernstein and other reporters in Liberia follow for their own safety are simple:  don't touch people, try not to touch your face, make sure you carry chlorine to wash your hands and shoes, and be careful not to get too close when people are visibly sick.

"There's a lot of scared people out there, and they need to tune in to what the actual risk is," and how that risk is managed, Bernstein says.   Would he go back?  "Like, today!" he quickly says.   "It was a life altering experience for me."  Courtesy NPR/WNYC's On The Media. 

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