September 1, 2009
9/1: Off Guard…Concern About Swine Flu Low Among Americans
If public officials want Americans to take the possible dangers of the H1N1 virus commonly known as “swine flu” seriously, more needs to be done. Nearly two-thirds of residents nationwide — 64% — are not very concerned or not concerned at all that someone in their household will contract swine flu. This includes 29% of the overall population who are not concerned at all. In fact, just 11% are very concerned, and 25% have some degree of worry.
Concerns divide along racial lines. More African Americans and Latinos have some degree of worry compared with white residents. Just 30% of whites are either concerned or very concerned about the second outbreak affecting their families. This compares with 49% of African Americans and 57% of Latinos. There is also increased worry among residents 45 and older and women compared with younger Americans and men.
Perhaps, the reason why Americans, on the whole, are not too concerned about a new battle with swine flu is that so few have been affected personally by the virus. Just 10% of U.S. residents report that they know someone who has had the H1N1 virus. More younger residents than older ones know someone who has suffered from the H1N1 virus with 14% of Americans younger than 45 years old and 7% of those 45 and older reporting this to be the case.
Split Decision Among Americans About Schools’ Preparedness
Saint Francis Preparatory School in New York City became ground zero for an outbreak of swine flu this past spring. So, do Americans think schools in their communities are prepared to handle an outbreak this fall? Residents divide. 40% believe they are either prepared or very prepared while 44% say their local schools are not very prepared or not prepared at all.
As for parents whose children will be sitting in those classrooms, they are nearly split. 45% of households with children report the schools are well equipped while 46% say they are not.