Polls say Americans aren’t worried about Zika. Just wait.

From The Washington Post:

The state of Florida announced Friday that mosquitoes are spreading Zika there, a first for the continental U.S.

While there have already been thousands of confirmed Zika cases in the U.S. this year, this marks the first time someone in the mainland U.S. contracted the disease not from traveling abroad, but from a domestic mosquito.

Polls have generally shown that Americans aren’t terribly worried about the virus. A recent Washington Post poll found that only about one in three Americans said they were concerned that they or someone in their immediate family might become infected with the virus. That’s considerably lower than the percent of people who were worried about contracting Ebola in 2014 or the swine flu in 2009.

The level of concern Americans have about Zika is bipartisan: In a recent Pew poll, 29 percent of Republicans called the disease a major threat to the general population, while 32 percent of Democrats said the same.

But that concern could grow. The news out of Florida comes just as most of the country enters peak mosquito season. People in southern states where Zika-carrying mosquitoes live may find themselves swatting the pests away with an increased sense of urgency for the duration of the summer.

The Post and Pew polls were conducted in June, before Congress left for a seven-week summer recess starting in the middle of July. Back in June, there was still hope that Congress would approve $2 billion in spending to combat the disease, including money for mosquito termination and vaccine research. The Post poll found wide bipartisan support for such a measure, with 67 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of Democrats approving of it.

At the time of The Post poll, Americans were generally confident that the government would step up to the challenge posed by Zika: Roughly two-thirds, …

Continue Reading