ATLANTA—In a sudden, unscheduled announcement Tuesday, officials from the Centers for Disease Control revealed that they were giving away free ice cream, had enough of the frozen dessert for everyone, and that, by the way, there had also been an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States.
CDC director Thomas R. Frieden led the emergency press conference, during which he called for all Americans to step right up and get as much of the tasty ice cream as they wanted, and, in unrelated news, 162 Ebola-related deaths have been reported in 12 states.
"Strawberry, chocolate, butter pecan—so many delicious flavors," said Frieden, who added that this just had to be the greatest day ever, and how could anyone have a care in the world, what with all this free ice cream up for grabs. "We also have sundaes and sorbets and, look at us, we're all having such a wonderful time!"
Continued Frieden, clearing his throat, "The Ebola virus attacks white blood cells indiscriminately, eventually leading to systemic organ failure as the infected individual literally dissolves from the inside out. There is a 10 percent chance of survival."
Bringing a large spoon of rocky road to his lips, Frieden went on to explain that the CDC was still not sure how the lethal hemorrhagic fever had originated, why it was spreading and mutating at such an alarming rate, or whether the agency was even remotely prepared to deal with the deadly pandemic expected to overtake the country within 72 hours.
The only thing he knew for sure, Frieden told reporters, was that ice cream was always creamy and delicious, so let's not even worry about all that other stuff, and just dig in already.
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" shouted CDC spokesperson Martha Hare, who joined Frieden up on stage and began frantically handing out cartons of the sweet summertime dessert to all in attendance. "Those shrieks, they are definitely for ice cream. Those shrieks, they are not in any way the result of sudden ocular hemorrhaging. Yes, everyone is having a delightful time screaming their heads off about ice cream."
"Look!" Hare continued. "Look at all these crunchy waffle cones!"
According to officials, federal response teams are currently setting up triage units all across the country and urging every citizen to "go ahead and put some chocolate sauce right on top of that ice cream now, because within 21 days, none of this is going to matter anyway."
In addition, the agency explained that unless something is done to stop the latest strain of the virus, which appears to be transmittable through skin contact and airborne agents, close to 96 percent of the population could be wiped out, "so, great news—more tasty ice cream for the rest of us!"
"This will easily be the most lethal epidemic in U.S. history," said Dr. Howard Copeland, a triage-unit surgeon who was called in by the government to deal with "all the fun everyone is having." "Fever, vomiting, massive body rashes, blood pouring out from the ears. These are all symptoms of Ebola."
Added the man whom the CDC has dubbed Dr. Happy Party Time, "Now, um, who wants some sprinkles on their sundae?"
Records indicate this isn't the first time the agency has offered the American public a special treat. In March 1982, the CDC delivered news of a virulent new strain of influenza while simultaneously setting off a series of jaw- dropping fireworks. And in 2003, agency director Julie Gerberding informed the public of a possible anthrax outbreak while wearing an oversized sombrero and throwing free tokens into the air at a local Chuck E. Cheese's.
Though epidemiologists have predicted the Ebola virus will utterly devastate the populace, the economy, and the entire civilization of the United States, most are taking the terrifying news in stride.
"Oh, man, this is so, so good," said Seattle resident Michael Sturges, his eyes rolling back in his head as his inflamed orifices excreted a relentless flow of liquefied waste. "Cookies and cream! Mmm-hmm. It's the best."