Ebola in the US: Fox News host Shepard Smith criticises the 'hysterical voices' spreading panic about virus

News anchor says media stoking panic over spread of disease is 'irresponsible'

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The Independent US

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has implored his viewers not to listen to the “hysterical voices” in the media in a bid to quell fears that Ebola is spreading in America.

In his news segment on Wednesday, Smith turned to camera and said he was going to give the audience the “facts on Ebola.” He said: “First today, given what we know, you should have no concerns about Ebola at all, none, I promise.”

He said that the people writing and saying hysterical things about Ebola online and on television were being “very irresponsible.”

Smith then explained what had happened in America so far – saying that a nurse had contracted the virus while treating a dying man and unfortunately another nurse had also contracted the virus at the same hospital. He said both nurses were in isolation and doing well.

“We do not have an outbreak of Ebola in the United States. Nowhere. We do have two healthcare workers who contracted the disease from a dying man. They are isolated. There is no information to suggest that the virus has spread to anyone in the general population in America. Not one person in the general population in the United States” he said.

Smith emphasised that the reason for the strong reaction to the Ebola cases in the US is because the midterm elections are approaching, saying “the party in charge needs to appear to be effectively leading; the party out of power needs to show that there is a lack of leadership.”

He was also dismissive of suggestions that leaders and health professionals have been lying about Ebola, “those suggestions are without basis in fact. There is no evidence that we are aware of that leaders are lying.” He said that as result of the panicking people in America are fearful their children will get sick at school.

A US senator Rand Paul told CNN on Friday that he thought the government was underplaying the risk of the disease.

He said: “I understand people in government not wanting to create panic, and I don't want to create panic, either. But I think it's also a mistake on the other side of the coin to underplay the risk of this” the Kentucky Republican senator said.

The stock market has been affected by the Ebola cases, as global share prices in FTSE 100 companies went down on Wednesday, it was reported.

Smith’s statement on Fox News came on the same day that President Barack Obama insisted that the chances of an Ebola outbreak on US soil were low, but the President said that the epidemic would spread globally if it was allowed “rage without control in West Africa.”