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Ebola doesn't spook most Californians, poll says



On Halloween, a new poll finds there's one thing that a majority of Golden State residents are not worried about: Ebola.
On Halloween, a new poll finds there's one thing that a majority of Golden State residents are not worried about: Ebola.
Courtesy of Marci Lopez

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Californians might be scared of ghosts, goblins, and zombies. But on Halloween, a new poll finds there's one thing that a majority of Golden State residents are not worried about: Ebola.

The poll, out of the University of Southern California's Dornsife College of Arts, Science and Letters and the Los Angeles Times, says:

The results are based on interviews with 1,537 registered voters between Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. In comparison, a national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted between Oct. 15 and Oct. 20, found:

For those who are worried, this NPR post has tips for what to do with fear of the disease - like pressuring the government to prioritize research for a Ebola vaccine, or lending your time or money to organizations working to combat epidemics in developing nations.

Why are Californians less spooked?

Why are West Coasters more relaxed when it comes to Ebola?

It could be because they've read that the disease is much less contagious than airborne diseases, like measles.

Or maybe it's because "California is both geographically and psychologically distanced from the rest of the country," Dan Schnur, the poll's director and executive director of the Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, says in a news release. "If there were an Ebola case on the West Coast, I suspect the level of concern would be much greater."

That makes sense: Travelers from the Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa arrive at five U.S. airports – none of which is on the West Coast. No West Coast hospitals are currently treating Ebola patients.

Also, Schnur says, voters "show they are fairly confident in the infrastructure for dealing with an outbreak, from their local health providers up to the federal level."

That also makes some sense: California health officials acted with a similar amount of cool this week, when they announced risk-based quarantine guidelines for travelers returning from West Africa. The state’s recommendations are more flexible than those implemented in some East Coast states.

So on Halloween, reserve your anxiety for scary things that could actually show up at your doorstep tonight – like a Sexy Ebola Nurse