'I Have Ebola. You're All Screwed!' Joke Sparks Panic On Airplane
An airline passenger who joked about having Ebola set off a panic that was no laughing matter. INSIDE EDITION explains.
ABC's Dr. Richard Besser has been disinvited from speaking at a prestigious law school because of fears he might spread Ebola.
He told INSIDE EDITION's Les Trent, "It did stun me because I look to our universities to promote truth and to fight fear by doing the right thing."
ABC News' Chief Medical Editor reported from the front lines of the epidemic in Liberia. He had been invited to lecture at Case Western Reserve University Law School in Cleveland, but as Ebola fear grips America, he was told to stay away.
He tweeted: “My lecture at @cCWRU_Law next week was cancelled. Felt I posed small risk to students.”
Dr. Besser told Trent, "They felt that it was better to say, 'Don't come. Maybe it is better to give the lecture via Skype.'"
Trent asked, "When they said to you to give the lecture via Skype, what did you say?"
Dr. Besser replied, "I said 'No.' The reason I said 'No' is that I don't want to feed into the idea that people coming from West Africa who are healthy, who are not sick at all, pose a risk to the community."
The law school said in a statement: "Even an infinitesimal chance of transmission seemed an unwise risk to assume."
Fear of Ebola is becoming a national obsession. The CDC is receiving 800 calls-a-day from doctors and patients reporting possible Ebola symptoms. All have proven false.
In a video, a hazmat team boarded a U.S. airliner as passengers worried what was happening. A baby could be heard crying on board the U.S. Airways flight from Philadelphia to the Dominican Republic. The crisis was because a passenger sneezed, then said, "I have Ebola. You're all screwed."
It turned out to be a stupid joke, but there was nothing funny about it. The flight crew went to full alert.
A flight attendant is being praised today for calming the passengers before the hazmat team came on board.
She said, “It's going to look worse than it is. Please get out of their way. Let them do their jobs. This is all new territory for all of us.”
One passenger was covering her mouth while she shot video on her cell phone.
After speaking with the hazmat team, the 54-year-old jokester was removed and he sure wasn't laughing.
As he was being removed from the plane, he said, “I'm not from Africa [expletive].”
Passengers booed him and the flight attendant said what everybody was thinking: “I think the man that has said this is an idiot.”
Dr. Besser told INSIDE EDITION, "Right now, with all of the fear around the world, you don't say the word 'Ebola.'"
The airline apologized for the incident. The passenger, who has since been released, was not sick.
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