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U.S. level of concern about the coronavirus outbreak vs Ebola as of January 2020

As of January 2020, one-quarter of adults in the United States were more concerned about the new coronavirus outbreak than they were about the Ebola epidemic of 2014. Almost 50 percent of survey respondents said that they felt the same level of concern.

Opinions of the American public

The poll of 2,200 adults found that 27 percent of males were more concerned about the spread of the COVID-19 disease, compared to 23 percent of females. About half of the respondents considered it very unlikely that a family member would be affected by the coronavirus. However, around one-third of adults thought it was somewhat likely that somebody in their state would be infected.

Reassuring people about the virus

The spread of the novel coronavirus was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020. Countries have started to lift lockdown orders in a phased way, leading to concerns about a second wave of infections, but efforts to contain the spread of the virus remain a top priority. The risk of infection remains low if you are not in an area where the virus is spreading, have not traveled from an area where it is spreading, or have not been in contact with an infected patient.

Level of concern in the U.S. about the new coronavirus outbreak compared to the 2014 Ebola outbreak as of January 2020

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period

January 24 to 26, 2020

Number of respondents

2,200 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Online survey

Supplementary notes

Original question: "Compared to the 2014 Ebola outbreak, would you say you are more or less concerned about the outbreak of coronavirus, or are you the same amount of concerned as you were about Ebola?"

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