by MICHAEL ALLEN (@MikeAllenW)
WASHINGTON — The World Health Organization has released new guidelines for stopping the global spread of Ebola, which include logging into Facebook, reading about how shaking hands with the wrong person will cause you to bleed out your ears, freaking out about your own fragile mortality, and then numbing your fears by taking a Buzzfeed quiz to find out what color your soul is.
John Turner, an avid U.S. Facebook user, is the WHO’s case study for their latest Ebola containment strategy. Upon reading that the Ebola epidemic could soon exceed 10,000 new cases per week, Mr. Turner immediately embarked on a three-hour hypochondriacal media spree in which he learned that initial symptoms of Ebola are indistinguishable from the flu, and that chimps, gorillas, and fruit bats are to be avoided at all costs. After an evening of marinating in crippling anxiety, Mr. Turner soothed his fight-or-flight response with several hours of TED talks and a video of same-sex flamingos adopting a newborn chick in Gloucestershire, England, only to repeat the cycle upon learning that yet another patient had been officially confirmed just minutes ago in Dallas.
“He is a model crusader against Ebola,” said WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan. “By his own volition he has quarantined himself in his home, is avoiding all human contact, and has zero prospects of exchanging bodily fluids with anyone… especially not Ashley Slater, no matter how many times he likes, comments, or adds winky faces to her posts.”
While strict compliance with the new guidelines is required for minimizing transmission, flexibility is built in for those who desire interaction with their online peers. For example, after reeling in horror from video of a young man in desperate pain being refused admittance to an overcrowded, understaffed hospital in Liberia, users can feel free to comment “That’s awful!” before perishing the thought and indulging in a heartfelt video about the emotional journey of two parents and their transgender 6-year-old son.
“Buy into the fear-mongering, and by all means question whether or not you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing with your life given that Ebola is most certainly coming to decimate your homeland even as we speak,” continued Dr. Chan. “The WHO strongly recommends at least one offhanded comment about baring all air travel to and from West Africa per day, so long as it is immediately followed by self-aggrandizement in the form of foodstagram hating, mentally berating your acquaintances for daring to post evidence of positive life experiences, and cursing the human race for being viscerally attracted to attractive people and their pets when they really should be sharing that news article about people getting along in spite of their religious differences.”
“Anything that keeps you sealed in your room, fixated on your screen, and far away from any human beings who just maybe have contracted the Ebola virus is great for the cause,” added Dr. Chan. “Because you never know who might spontaneously vomit blood all over you, am I right?”
Critics of this new containment strategy allege that while Facebook can lead to healthful social exile when consumed on its own, there have been several documented cases of Facebook having the polar opposite effect when taken with other social media such as Twitter, Weibo, and Instagram. The WHO has therefore urged all individuals in nations at risk of revolutionary political demonstration to resist the urge to congregate and to instead read about the top 27 problems that only tall, attractive, privileged, extroverted white people can truly understand.
“Check your fantasy league, read a feminist blog, start a flame war if you have to,” reads the WHO report. “Like some posts made by that ignorant friend who has the exact opposite political views as you, and in a worse case scenario, say you’ll be attending a friend’s amateur comedy show. But always remember that no matter what strategy you employ to distract yourself, you will never be safe from the ravages of organ liquefaction. ”
At press time, the majority of global Facebook users were either obsessively reloading their news feeds and waiting for that singular devastating moment when they learn that Ebola has gone airborne, or alternatively, watching a youtube video of a cat on a roomba.