Data sources: David Ropeik/Harvard University, National Weather Service, World Health Organization, Northeastern University Laboratory for the Modeling of Biological and Socio-Technical Systems, National Geographic, United States Census Adam Cole and Ryan Kellman/NPR hide caption
Health officials are saying it. Scientists are saying it. Heck, even many journalists are saying it: “The risk of Ebola infection remains vanishingly small in this country,” The New York Times wrote Wednesday.
But what does that mean? Are you more likely to be struck by lightning or catch Ebola?
It all depends on what you do for a living and where you travel. For instance, three of us from NPR are spending 10 days in Monrovia, Liberia, to report on the outbreak. What’s our chance of catching the virus?
So far in the U.S., we’ve had too little data to calculate a real risk. But we can do some back-of-the-napkin math to give some perspective.
Up until now, two people have caught Ebola in the U.S. Both were nurses in Dallas, who cared for Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who was diagnosed with the virus.