Stop worrying about ebola, start worrying about heart disease, cancer and 8 other things that are killing Americans

A recent episode of The Daily Show pointed out that campaigning politicians and talk show hosts (or, if you prefer, “pundits”) have been calling for action regarding protecting Americans from being killed by the ebola virus, which isn’t really a thing that is happening. What is killing Americans is heart disease, cancer and 8 other things at a rate that will probably never be overtaken by ebola.

PLEASE NOTE: I’m not saying ebola isn’t a big deal. It’s a huge problem, but in terms of things that are killing Americans, ebola is low on the list. That’s what the following is about!

According to the Center for Disease Control, the two biggest killers of Americans are Heart Disease and Cancer. Over a million people died of one of these causes in 2011 alone, and the numbers are split almost down the middle, both chalking up over 570,000 victims.

Right now, politicians are running for office and pundits are trying to get ratings, so they’re all screaming about ebola which has, to date, killed two Americans, one of which died on American soil. I can’t remember the last time I’ve heard the TV so freaked out about something. With that in mind, here are the leading causes of death for Americans.

(I should point out that I have no idea if ebola counts as a chronic lower respiratory disease.)

My point is, when was the last time you heard someone go on TV and rant that Cancer kills half a million Americans every year, or mesothelioma treatment options at least? Or the same about heart disease? At least the over 30,000 yearly gun deaths have gotten a little attention over the last few years, but someone literally has to open fire on a movie theater full of people or a schoolroom full of children for that to happen.

And nothing ever seems to get done about any of these issues. That ineffectiveness, in itself, is a much bigger problem than ebola.

As of October 8th, here are the ebola death rates from around the world:

Guinea – 1350 cases, 778 deaths
Liberia – 4076 cases, 2316 deaths
Nigeria – 20 cases, 8 deaths
Senegal – 1 case, 0 deaths (infection originated in Guinea)
Sierra Leone – 2950 cases, 930 deaths
Spain – 1 case, 0 deaths
United States – 1 case, 1 death (infection originated in Liberia)

(This seems to be location of patient’s death – that’s why United States says 1.)

So, this begs the question: why are Americans freaking out about contracting ebola?

Because the TV told them to.

(Obviously, it’s not just Bill O’Reilly – this is just an example.)

What this all leads to is if you live in the United States of America, you don’t need to spend any more time worrying about catching ebola than you do about anything else that is probably never going to kill you. Hey, hundreds of people die every year from furniture related accidents in their own home, so your time is better spent making sure your TV isn’t going to fall off the credenza and crush your kid.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on October 17, 2014, in lists, observations, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Ebola has a mortality rate of 70%. It’s not a chronic disease! (it either kills you, or you get better. chronic means a disease that lasts — like arthritis).

    Seriously, folks, DRIVE SAFER. And maybe exercise a bit more and eat a little less.

    • Or just don’t eat garbage! I like a bean burrito fresca from my beloved Taco Bell as much as the next guy, but yeah, moderation, folks
      But yeah, 70% is kinda high

      • Marburg virus was 90%.

        Influenza is still more deadly than both of them combined. The outbreak of influenza around the end of WWI was horrific (and mainly killed 20somethings, unlike most diseases which kill babies and the elderly).

      • Right, people in their prime are less susceptible

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