Americans Still Not Very Worried About Ebola

It’s been a busy week on the Ebola front with the death of Thomas Eric Duncan and the news that a nurse who was treating him was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his death, not to mention several false alarms of people who were taken to hospitals for “Ebola-like” systems. Nonetheless, as yet Gallup is not dedicating any increase in the public’s level of concern:

One might think, with this type of apocalyptic news coverage, the American public would increasingly be worried and concerned about their own chances of catching the disease, and/or their government’s ability to handle it.

Not so.

We find hardly any movement at all in Americans’ concerns about Ebola when comparing interviewing done this past Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 11-12) with interviewing conducted the previous week (Oct. 4-5).

Here are the trends:

• Overall, 23% of Americans worried yesterday about getting the Ebola virus this week, compared with 22% last week.

• In addition, 16% of Americans were concerned that they or their family would get Ebola this weekend, compared with 14% last weekend.

• And 60% of Americans were confident that the government could handle an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the U.S. this weekend, compared with 61% last weekend.

As Gallup notes, none of these are statistically significant changes from one week to the next notwithstanding the news that has come out during that time. Obviously, a week may not be sufficient time for the news to sink in so it’s possible that we’ll see increased concern in the coming weeks depending on how things pan out. For the moment at least, though, it would appear that the American public is not letting itself get drawn into the cycle of concern and panic that some segments of the media and political word seem to be trying to drag it into.

FILED UNDER: Health, Public Opinion Polls, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. JKB says:

    But the Ebola Czar is apparently still under quarantine and radio silence.

    Possibly the Obama Administration don’t want to dredge up the fact that there is a 10-yr old office that direct reports to the HHS secretary on outbreak preparedness. Or, could it be the scandal back in 2010 where the current occupant directed sole-source contracts to a company controlled by a big Democrat donor for a ‘mythical” Small Pox vaccine and refused entreaties by the company whose competing vaccine is now being used with success to treat Ebola?