WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — The presence of Ebola patients in the U.S., including the death of one infected Dallas patient, has increased American concern with the spread of the virus.
Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned by an Ebola epidemic in the U.S., compared to 59 percent who said that in August, according to the latest Economist/YouGov Poll. Twice as many Americans are concerned about a U.S. epidemic than were concerned in August, when the virus emerged as a threat.
Three-out-of-four Americans say they are following news about the U.S. Ebola patients closely and one-third say they are following it very closely. In August, just 16 percent said they were following news of the breakout very closely.
The especially high concern among African-Americans is reflected in 40 percent of black Americans saying they are “very concerned” about the possibility of a U.S. Ebola epidemic.
The poll found that 62 percent of overall Americans think “more would have been done” to fight Ebola if the virus had not originated in West Africa. Nearly six-in-ten black Americans (59 percent) say that there would already be a cure for the deadly virus if it had first emerged in Europe or the U.S. instead of Africa – compared to 42 percent of overall Americans who hold that sentiment.
Twenty-three percent of Americans disagreed, saying that the virus would be treated the same regardless of its origin.
The Economist/YouGov poll was taken from Oct. 4-6, before Thomas Eric Duncan died on Wednesday from the Ebola virus on American soil.
Forty-three percent of Americans say they would like the U.S. government to spend more money on Ebola research, a 10 point increase from August.