In October, when Ebola was making headlines, I mocked American news networks for their fear-mongering over a disease they didn’t understand, which presented no real threat to anyone in this country who hadn’t swapped bodily fluids with someone who had already contracted Ebola. Along those lines, here’s an op-ed piece by Wendy Orent (author of books on the impact of The Plague, Lyme Disease, and more), who says we should ignore predictions of lethal pandemics and pay attention to what really matters:

We need to stop listening to the doomsayers, and we need to do it now. Predictions of lethal pandemics have — since the swine flu fiasco of 1976, when President Ford vowed to vaccinate “every man, woman and child in the United States” — always been wrong. Fear-mongering wastes our time and our emotions and diverts resources from where they should be directed — in the case of Ebola, to the ongoing tragedy in West Africa. Americans have all but forgotten about Ebola now, because most people realize it isn’t coming to a school or a shopping mall near you. But Sierra Leoneans and Liberians go on dying.

Read Orent’s full piece here.