Recently published images show five-time Grammy award nominee Akon performing in Africa, where he purportedly attempted to stave off the Ebola virus by having a crowd surfing audience interaction from within the safety of a large plastic bubble.
“…[T]he Ebola virus is no joke, and to avoid contracting it from anybody, when Akon left the stage to crowd surf with the people that were attending his concert, he did so in a huge plastic protective bubble,” entertainment website The Source reported today.
“Akon is not playing with the Ebola situation,” The Source also notes of the St. Louis, Missouri-born rapper.
The photo was snapped on September 21 at the United Nations sponsored “Peace One Day,” a concert held last month in the Democratic Republic of the Congo town of Goma promoting a campaign that seeks at least one day of peace in Goma “by 2016 at the latest,” according to their site.
“Akon performed from the stage for a while but at some point as is in most of his concerts, Akon loves to jump into the crowd and feel the vibe, usually he just dives in, not in Congo and not when Ebola is causing a stir in the world. However this would not stop him, he had to jump into the crowd somehow and the bubble solved it,” reported East African magazine Vibe Weekly, adding that the hip hop artist was surrounded by the “omnipresent blue hats of armed United Nations Peacekeepers.”
While the reports sensationally claim Akon feared contracting Ebola, other photos and videos from around the web show the clear, plastic orb is a staple at his concerts.
Here’s one of Akon rolling around in a ball at a concert in Montreal in 2011:
Below is another video, shot in 2010, of Akon performing inside a bubble at a concert in Perth.
Despite rumors that Akon blatantly attempted to avoid Ebola likely being false, reports regarding the outbreak of Ebola in the region, however, are very much real.
So far 42 people in the DRC have died from exposure to the Ebola virus, the incurable disease tearing through West Africa which has been labeled “out of control” by the operations director for Doctors Without Borders.
The current outbreak, mainly impacting the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, has claimed the lives of 3308 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of today, the CDC has also confirmed 30 other cases of Ebola within the DRC, an occurrence which they claim is “unrelated to the current outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.”
On Tuesday, the first official U.S. case of Ebola was reported after a man who recently traveled to a funeral in Liberia was diagnosed with the disease in Dallas, Texas.
While the CDC has claimed that the virus is difficult to transmit, a study out of the University of Illinois at Chicago suggests the disease could be transmitted “at a distance” from infected persons.
“We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks,” an article published by Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy authors Dr Lisa Brosseau and Dr Rachael Jones states.