*Think you have it bad. Try being a Liberian living in the United States these days.
With the Ebola virus causing fear with the public, Liberians are feeling the effect of the outbreak first hand with people looking at them in a different way.
“The patient gave some feedback about what he had heard about the news, and I said, ‘Well, you know, I’m from Liberia,'” Karen Mygil, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Bowie, Maryland, told the Huffington Post. “He jerked himself back from my hands, and he said, ‘You’re from Liberia?'”
After telling the patient that it’s been almost two years since she last spent time in Liberia, the patient’s attitude was calmer, Mygil noted
“This is a patient well-known to me,” she added. “I’ve treated him a number of times. But this was a physical reaction he had in drawing away from me as I was operating on him. … I truly think people are overreacting.”
Mygil may have a point. According to a Pew Research Center poll, most Americans say they don’t actually fear Ebola. At the same time, people do want the U.S. government to respond more aggressively to the outbreak, which has infected more than 8,000 individuals in West Africa and killed more than 4,000, the Post noted.
In addition, 32 percent of Americans revealed to Pew that despite the government’s insistence of it being extremely unlikely that a widespread Ebola outbreak will happen in the U.S., they were very or somewhat worried that them or someone in their family will be exposed to Ebola.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll looks to aid the outlook as it found that two-thirds of Americans favored a ban on travel to and from West Africa. According to the Post, a travel ban would do more harm than good in that it would hinder efforts to stop Ebola at its source.
News of the virus is being closely followed by many Liberians whose thoughts are with family and friends dealing with the Ebola crisis in Liberia as they wait for updates and provide financial and emotional support.
As they continue their lives in the States, frustration is setting in for some Liberians, who believe their seems to be a stigma attached not only to Liberia, but by extension, to Liberians living outside the country.
Liberian-Americans may be getting the brunt of the stigma, but CNBC notes that the situation has affected two Nigerian students, who currently reside in Texas. The site reports that the students’ education has been impacted negatively as they received rejection letters from a college in the state because of Ebola.
“Unfortunately, Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases,” one of the letters read.
For more on the affect the Ebola crisis is having on Liberians and others, click here.