(NaturalNews) A surprisingly large number of sectors of the U.S. economy depend on what I call “public faith in the safety of crowds.” Tourism, commercial air travel, restaurants, sporting events and even public transportation all depends on the public believing that coming into close contact with other people is a relatively safe activity. (Which it is, for now…)

If that belief in the safety of crowds is shattered, the public’s unwillingness to risk their health and lives will lead to a rapid revenue implosion among numerous sectors of the economy.

This shattering of faith can happen literally overnight in local regions. For example, the “patient zero” announcement in Dallas, Texas already resulted in me personally hearing comments from people who delayed their plans to visit Dallas until the 21-day “observation” period passes for those who came into contact with Duncan. After all, they were power-washing Thomas Duncan’s vomit off the sidewalk in front of his apartment while pedestrians meandered by, and none of the sidewalk cleanup workers were wearing any protective gear whatsoever. (Has everybody suddenly forgotten that Ebola is a level-4 biohazard strain?)

Whether such concerns about visiting Dallas are rational or otherwise is beside the point: they are real concerns in the minds of the people, and it is the people who make all economic decisions. (Economics, ultimately, is the study of human behavior.)

World Bank warns about economic consequences of Ebola outbreaks

“[Ebola has the] potential to inflict massive economic costs on Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and the rest of their neighbors in West Africa.” — Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group [1]

While the CDC appears to have this outbreak contained in Dallas, no one believes this will be the last case of Ebola in the United States. Should the virus spread in some other city — New York, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, Chicago — it would immediately cause many people to start questioning the safety of visiting the named city. And if the outbreak begins to spread in a way that appears to be uncontrolled, it would convince a steadily-increasing number of people to avoid all the local activities where people might catch a disease that we now know can be spread via indirect contact.

Air travel to and from the city would suffer a sharp decline in business, and all the local businesses that depend on people gathering in crowds — restaurants, gyms, sporting events, concerts and more — would begin to slide toward bankruptcy.

I explain all this in great detail in Episode 13 of Pandemic Preparedness at www.BioDefense.com (with free downloadable MP3 audio chapters).

The bigger impact comes from a loss of public transportation

The real economic impact from all this, however, comes from a loss of faith in the safety of public transportation.

All forms of public transportation, by definition, involve masses of people coming and going, potentially touching contaminated surfaces such as subway car hand rails. The ability of Ebola to spread in subways is especially strong, given the lack of natural sunlight in underground tunnels (sunlight destroys Ebola with UV light).

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