Americans riveted by Ebola
Oct, 10, 2014: In his first remarks on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, then-President Obama assured the American people in 2014 the “chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.”
The American people did not seem reassured, as a Pew poll found more Americans were paying close attention to the Ebola outbreak than any other issue.
Perhaps that was because, when Obama made those remarks on Sept. 16, 2014, the president also called it “unlikely” that someone with Ebola would “reach our shores” and said the U.S. was taking precautions so “someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.”
As the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times pointed out, “It was only a matter of weeks before Obama’s words proved inaccurate.”
Thomas Eric Duncan became the first person to die of Ebola in the U.S., having arrived in Dallas from Liberia on Sept. 20, 2014.
The Times also opined, “Had the public realized what those precautions consisted of — merely checking travelers’ temperatures … and asking them whether they had been in close contact with Ebola patients — many Americans probably would have disagreed with the president.”
Americans followed the Ebola outbreak more closely than the airstrikes against ISIS, even though the terrorist army advanced in both Syria and Iraq despite the U.S. attacks.
More than twice as many Americans were focused on Ebola than the midterm elections at the time.